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Ryanair proposes to become the feeder for Alitalia

Ryanair proposes to become the feeder for Alitalia

The CEO of the number one low-cost airline, Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, and John Alborante, Sales & Marketing Manager for Ryanair Italy, illustrated the upgrading operating reports for Ryanair Winter 2017-18 season that foresee an increase of 50% on balance.

A press conference was the occasion to reiterate the interest of Ryanair to provide feeder services to intercontinental flights for Alitalia: “Alitalia cannot continue losing money on domestic routes and cannot even afford to be able to compete on equal terms with a low-cost on these routes. The challenge for Alitalia, in the future, will be the one on the most profitable routes, ‘the long-haul,” but without the constraints imposed by the agreements with Delta and Air France,” said O’Leary.

With the resuming operation to Malpensa, the low-cost plans to open seven new routes to: Alicante, Eindhoven, Katowice, Lamezia, Liverpool, Palermo, and Valencia, which will bring to 16 the total air services offered from Malpensa Airport with the objective of carrying 1.7 million passengers a year. This growth will continue in the years ahead, along with the growth carried out from Milan-Bergamo Airport where last year the airline exceeded 10 million passengers, said O’Leary.

Andrea Tucci, Director of Aviation and Business Development at Sea (the Milan Airports Handling coy) added: “Malpensa now handles 185 destinations; Ryanair adds another seven of which four are completely new for Malpensa airport. In 2017, probably we will overcome the psychological threshold of 20 million passenger movements which will represent for us a crucial step. If we were to think Ryanair [would] operate on [a] long-haul feeder for other companies from Milan, this would represent an additional source of growth,”

Ryanair: double-digit growth expected for 2017 in Italy

Ryanair delivered on its promise and grew in Italy. With a new open base in Naples, investments for 1.3 billion euro, 64 new routes, and the provision of 4 million more passengers, the Irish airline has maintained the growth promised while clamoring for a decrease in taxes that finally averted an increase of 2.5 euros of city tax, said Michael O ‘Leary.

He said his airlines responded as promised by increasing commitment, and results in Italy, especially in the south of the country, where growth corresponds also to employment development. Ryanair traffic will go from 32 million to 36 million passengers thanks to a new base in Naples and the increase in Bergamo, Malpensa, and Verona. Alghero (in Sardinia Island) reopened on a seasonal basis, and also grew at Rome Ciampino airport, where 4 seasonal routes became annual: Lourdes, Sofia, Nuremberg, and Prague. There is a downward trend in Rome Fiumicino, however, because of a lack of agreement with Adr, so the airline cut the supply of about 600 thousand seats.

The new base in Naples will be operational by March 2017, with three positioned aircraft and 17 routes, with a goal of delivering one million people in 2017. In Rome, Ciampino will be based with 8 aircraft, connecting the 42 routes to more than 5 million passengers-year. In Rome Fiumicino, however, it remains firm at the number of four aircrafts, and two new routes: Ibiza and Lanzarote.

Positive dialogue with Alitalia, but still waiting for a response

Ryanair is waiting for a response from Alitalia about its offer of “feeder cooperation” said Michael O’Leary, explaining that the proposal also concerns cooperation in other areas such as the sale “of intercontinental flights tickets” on the Irish company website. O’Leary added that the dialogue so far is positive, but changes in Etihad could lengthen the time for a response from Alitalia.

On the other hand, according to O’Leary, the prospects for a low-cost subsidiary company within Alitalia are zero. So far none of the traditional companies have been able to create a low-cost subsidiary, because they all want to protect their flights. In the case of Alitalia, the workers’ unions would oppose a subsidiary low-cost and also it still could not compete with the 9.99 euro prices offered by Ryanair, said O’Leary, noting that the “best suggested solution to relaunch Alitalia is to collaborate with a low-cost airline.”