Insight from Alitalia’s Fabio Maria Lazzerini on the future of the airline

By Marco Finelli.
Alitalia with an horizon to 2020, beyond short-term corporate futures, sees it with a positioning that increases the importance of trying to upgrade or open flights that generate money from corporate customers.
Fabio Maria Lazzerini – Chief Business Officer – has made us understand this by giving the trade press some insight about the future.
In 2020 the airline should continue to grow. In November it stands at more than 5% growth. I December it is valued at more than 7%. The closure of Linate has lost traffic a little bit.
Milan Linate, however, remains the second focal point for the carrier, where shuttles will gradually expand.
“After Rome Fiumicino, London and the recently added Paris, I see in Catania a possibility of shuttles with high business characterization.
Rome will see adjustments on market trends. We are evaluating two or three other European cities, such as Brussels, Madrid and Düsseldorf, where to introduce the Shuttle product, because there is corporate traffic mainly and one that flies by in the morning and back in the evening ”.
Flights to Germany will also increase in two-day flights on Stuttgart and Cologne from next summer. In addition to Hamburg, which returns on a daily basis.
In the Milan area there is good success in Bergamo, because it has point to point and international and intercontinental flows of passengers in both directions.
The same thing is for Milan Malpensa. “There will be no further expansion on Malpensa, because the spirit is in line with the decision of the past to make hub in Fiumicino and therefore we will always try to bring more and more passengers to Rome” said Lazzerini.
A new pricing concept on national routes is being tested on four destinations from Rome: Genoa, Turin, Venice and Reggio Calabria. On these four lines the three types of rates allow us to be also in the various tariff classes and therefore with or without luggage, depending on the period, it is possible to find something convenient subject to availability. The experiment, which is giving success, will soon pass on other routes, above all Sicily. And then to follow towards all the Italian domestic. We are seeing that there is feedback and the average tariff is also rising. There is therefore satisfaction and profitability increases.
The recent agreement with Azul is the continuation of what it has been doing for some time, that is, to have agreements of this type that increase Alitalia penetration in many markets that cannot be served directly. But above all have also important profitability from these opportunities, whether they are new or already existing with re-debates that allow to increase the profit index for every single segment flown.
“Alliances bring benefits, but not always, flying together can often be a boomerang for us, because the partner can collect our customers and make them their own.” Lazzerini says “Azul therefore makes sense, but we are already still looking at central and southern America where we have unique point to point flights. Brazil is the third largest market for Alitalia after Italy and the USA. Brazil is going a head to head with Japan.
The very close partnership with All Nippon (ANA) is growing and today with Kenya Airways it will present the route Rome – Nairobi, where last week we signed a very important and even more profitable agreement in a substantial part of Africa. “So not so many alliances, even if we have many, where we need to increase our earnings, protecting our traffic. In the past, alliances were established that then paved the way for the landing and were more a gain for others than for Alitalia ”- says Lazzerini.
Lazzerini is very attentive to the profitability factor. Alitalia being a carrier positioned in the lower part of medium-sized airlines, the way to grow is to take those customers who pay. Few but good is the concept. Therefore the medium-high corporate and leisure individual segment.
Politics changed for example on Japan, which lost money until two years ago with full planes in both Magnifica and economic. Now it also carries the groups, but at higher prices, favoring the corporate trying to sell in the last 4 weeks and not filling up first. In addition to having expanded the inventory strategy of business travelers and looking for it as a traveler.
“The strategy has been to dry the leisure traffic that does not pay for the benefit of the individual corporate and leisure segment” and stresses Lazzerini. “Unlike the Indian Ocean towards Mauritius and the Maldives, it has a passenger who pays and stays in facilities with which we are intended as Beachcomber in Mauritius ”.
In addition to the fact that Alitalia does actions on foreign markets, that using Rome in transit allows for well-paying passengers arriving from Europe. Lazzerini continues – “success is economic due to the excellent performance of profitability, thanks to the good times and the direct service, immediately producing volumes made us gain important market shares immediately.

Some competitors started with very aggressive intentions, they are drying their weekly frequencies “.
Mauritius and the Maldives work also thanks to the historic agreement signed by Alitalia with ASTOI – Italian tour operating association -, where in the past there was a few problems and not wanting to raise the walls it turned into a collaboration that led the tour operators on flights with a leisure traffic very good individual as a spending band. Growth was 20-25% year on year. Alitalia has taken European legacy carriers off traffic and little, if any, to Italian leisure charter carriers.
Alitalia will not engage in the Caribbean market except for MSC charters, due to the wider seasonality and markets heavily covered by charter carriers. For regular fleet operators they do not marry as for Mauritius and Maldives limited from November to April, the Caribbean also asks for part of the summer where planes fly to the USA.
Little or no intention to serve ethnic traffic, “it is a market that fills empty chairs in the low season, but does not bring so many economic benefits” says Lazzerini, on the contrary on cargo traffic “two years ago we made an important decision and that is to say to bring the holds back home. Before it was run by Etihad, we no longer had the management and sales structure, IT systems and customer inventory. Today, after two years of hard work, we have increased turnover by over 30%, we have absorbed human resources in redundancy funds, who now work in the freight service. Even the long-haul flight holds are filling the empty spaces left in the past. As well there is’ feeder from Europe to Rome or vice versa. Or from Europe to domestic Italy via Linate. Pharma certification for pharmaceutical products leads us to carry drugs that make many times more money than ordinary goods “. In the past, all this traffic traveled with foreign competitors.
All Airbus A321s will be released from the fleet for a total of 9 aircraft. In addition to the three (two A330s, presumably the former Etihad and a Boeing 777-300ER). 
Therefore the fleet will be based on the Boeing 777-200ERs and Airbus A330-200s, on the short haul the Airbus A320s, A319s and Embraers).
“Alitala coming from three failures cannot acquire planes,” says Lazzerini and as announced a few days ago will try to increase the flown to double figure for long-haul and almost short-haul aircraft. The output of the 200-seat A321s is for airframe life limit.

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