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PARMA, Italy: May 03, 2016. Etihad Airways and Parma Airport have agreed to open a handling center by July 2016 for on-forwarding cargo to Milan Malpensa.

Etihad Cargo vice president David Kerr said: "This agreement is a further demonstration of our confidence in Italy, one of the largest cargo markets in Europe. We have already strengthened our freighter capacity out of Milan in the last few weeks, having placed a new B777 freighter on the Milan-Bogotá sector, so the opportunity to use Parma gives us a further chance to strengthen our cargo services from Europe.” 

Alberto Figna chairman of the Parma Industrialists Association In addition to four freighter services from Milan to Abu Dhabi, Etihad and Alitalia currently provide bellyhold capacity on 38 weekly flights between Italy and the UAE.

Parma Airport chairman Guido Dalla Rosa Prati said the co-operation with Etihad is helping to realize the airport’s strategic development plan: “We are really honored to have gained the interest of Etihad Airways …and I am proud of the agreement which will generate new business opportunities for Parma and neighboring territories.” 

Alberto Figna (right), chairman of the Parma Industrialists’ Association (UPI), said the value of Parma’s exports had risen nearly 10 percent to €6.3 billion in 2015, with the agriculture supply chain – from grower to retailer - making up some 62 percent of the area’s total manufacturing sector.

Istat, Italy’s national statistics center, reported exports from the country’s North East region of Emilia-Romagna, that includes Parma, were valued at €55.3 billion last year – an increase of 4.4 percent over 2014.

The U.S. remained a major export market in 2015 with an increase of 27.4 percent over the previous year; however the Russian Federation saw a drop of 28.5 percent due to continued EU sanctions. Exports to the Middle East rose 8.8 percent in the period.

Figna added: “The agreement with an international partner of the caliber of Etihad Airways is confirmation of the potential of this airport and an important indication of the commitment of the Parma business community to ensuring the continuity and progress of a vital piece of infrastructure that will benefit the local economy. It is expected that the new transit center will also have a positive direct and indirect impact on employment in the local area.” 

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