Tag Archives: Fiumicino

Eurowings to add four new routes from Vienna

Eurowings (Dusseldorf) in February, through its parent (Lufthansa Group,) announced Vienna, Austria would be its first base outside of Germany:

Eurowings (2014) logo (large)

“Following close consultation with Austrian Airlines (Vienna) and at the carrier’s own request, two Airbus A320 aircraft are being stationed at VIE initially, offering point-to-point connections on European routes. The aircraft are to fly in the colors of the new Eurowings. The aircraft will be staffed with crews from Austrian. This partnership is possible as a result of Austrian’s new collective agreement, which was entered into in December 2014 and offers additional prospects to the 900 pilots and 2,300 flight attendants.

With the new Eurowings brand, the Lufthansa Group is entering new markets in the price-sensitive leisure travel sector, thereby safeguarding its leading position in its home markets of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium. By the end of 2015, Eurowings and Germanwings along with other European airlines are to be united on a joint platform and should acquire new customers by offering low-cost short and long-haul services.”

In October, Eurowings will be taking over 55 routes from Germanwings along with the appropriate amount of aircraft and crews to fly the newly assigned routes.

Eurowings has now announced a further expansion at VIE with four additional routes starting on  November 9 to Barcelona, London (Stansted), Palma de Mallorca and Rome (Fiumicino).

The new Eurowings will operate the Airbus A320s in Austria under a new Austrian AOC.

Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 D-AIZR (msn 5525) approaches the runway at Zurich.

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Alitalia threatens to shift its Rome Fiumicino hub elsewhere

Alitalia (3rd) (Rome) is upset about the airport’s continued focus of attracting low-cost operators at its Rome Fiumicino (FCO) hub and the current neglect for the infrastructure. The flag carrier is now threatening to move its hub elsewhere. The airline issued this statement about the current situation at FCO:

Alitalia (2015) logo

The damage to Alitalia by the consequences of the fire which broke out on May 7 at Fiumicino Airport amounted to 80 million Euros to date.

The recent reopening of Terminal 3 has marked the end of the emergency phase but not the end of many problems and limitations that continue have heavy effects on airport operations. Alitalia will calculate the total amount of damages only when the airport will operate at pre-fire standards.

FCO Airport Terminal Map

Alitalia is the only airline to have its hub in Fiumicino. About 50% of the total number of flights in Fiumicino are Alitalia. Alitalia is by far the airline most affected from the consequences of the fire.

“We had a difficult period due to an event that affected us deeply. – declared Silvano Cassano, Chief Executive Officer of Alitalia -. In this period we have given up any controversy and we focused entirely on the service to customers, to reduce the inconvenience.”

Alitalia has completed an initial balance of the damages for the cancellation of thousands of flights and for a multitude of operational problems that have highlighted the fragility of the airport infrastructure as a whole. Alitalia will seek compensation for the damage it sustained, which so far totals 80 million euro.

“Our relaunch plan is complex, and in one of the most competitive sectors in Italy and in the world – continues Cassano – Fiumicino Airport in its current state is not an appropriate infrastructure to serve as the hub of an airline with our ambitions“.

“The problems of Fiumicino come from years and years of inadequate investment and planning and are now structural, we hope there will be less attention to finance and more attention to the market and to passengers needs”.

“If Fiumicino will continue to focus on low cost carriers and mediocre services, Alitalia will be forced to shift its growth elsewhere”.

Alitalia A330 underside (Alitalia)(LR)

Top Copyright Photo: Marco Finelli/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-243 ER EI-DBL (msn 32781) arrives at the FCO hub wears special “Franciacorta” markings as a salute to Alitalia’s Expo 2015 partner.

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EasyJet to expand at Milan Malpensa, Naples and Venice and reduce operations at Rome Fiumicino

EasyJet (easyJet.com) (London-Luton) today announced a strengthening of its Italian strategy through expanding its bases in Italy at Milan Malpensa and Naples and the opening of a new base in Venice from April‎ 2016. The airline plans to support this expansion by redeploying aircraft and crew from Rome Fiumicino.

easyJet (UK) 2015 logo

EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall‎ outlined the airline’s plans:

“Italy is a key strategic country for easyJet and our plans for 2016 announced today will expand our presence at Milan, Naples and Venice, where there are more opportunities for long term sustainable and profitable growth, while ensuring we continue to connect Rome Fiumicino with Europe in a way that best reflects passenger demand.

“Milan, Naples and Venice are all centres of important Italian economic regions. Each has high levels of passenger demand from leisure as well as business passengers and all have demand for flights both into and out of Italy.

“Our expansion in these three airports will bring thousands of direct and indirect jobs in each region and will ensure easyJet remains the largest airline at each airport giving all three cities the best network connecting them with the rest of Europe.

“At a time when there are significant profitable growth opportunities for easyJet across Europe we are continuing to make a very significant investment in Italy. easyJet has grown steadily in Italy in recent years in terms of investment and jobs and will base 29 aircraft in the country next year, employing over 1000 pilots, cabin crew and other staff and supporting thousands more direct and indirect jobs.”

Barcelona

EasyJet also announced that it is to open a new base in Barcelona from February 2016, basing three Airbus aircraft there. Barcelona has always been a key network point for easyJet and the base opening consolidates easyJet’s strong position at Barcelona carrying almost three million passengers a year to and from 14 airports across Europe.

With aircraft based at the airport business travellers will be able to benefit from earlier departures as well as an increased number of flights on existing routes connecting to primary airports in Europe such as London, Paris, Geneva and Milan.

Venice

EasyJet will open a base at Venice Marco Polo Airport starting from April 2016. With four Airbus aircraft based at the airport, easyJet will increase its contribution to the local economy by providing 150 local jobs for pilots and cabin crew.

Venice has for some time been a key network point for EasyJet, having operated flights into and out of the city since 1998. The airline has increased the number of passengers carried by an average rate of 15% per year over the last five years. easyJet currently flies to Venice from 15 primary airports across Europe – such as London Gatwick, Amsterdam and Paris Charles de Gaulle – and is the largest airline at Marco Polo Airport.

As well as being a world famous tourist destination the region is Italy’s third largest economy and 28% of easyJet’s 1.6 million passengers on flights to and from Venice are travelling on business. This will be further enhanced when aircraft are based at the airport as business travellers will be able to benefit from early morning departures.

Milan Malpensa

Milan Malpensa is already easyJet’s second largest base with 18 aircraft and will receive three more from April 2016, providing over 100 new jobs for pilots and cabin crew. This will strengthen EasyJet’s existing status as the largest airline at Milan Malpensa and gives the airline a strong strategic position serving Italy’s richest metropolitan area of some 9 million people with one of the country’s highest GDP.

Naples

EasyJet opened its new base in Naples in 2014 and is now firmly established as the largest airline at the airport. Naples is southern Italy’s largest city and the third largest in the country.

EasyJet already bases three aircraft in Naples and will base one more plane there from April 2016 providing 35 more jobs for pilots and cabin crew. Naples is a top European destination both for tourism – the city being listed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO – and for business with a wide network of more than 260,000 companies and 2.6 million business travellers flying from Naples every year.

Rome Fiumicino

The Rome Fiumicino base is delivering lower returns than EasyJet’s other bases and the new services and routes which will be operated as a result of this redeployment will better match easyJet’s customers’ needs and deliver higher returns for the airline.‎

The worsening performance of the Rome Fiumicino base has been driven by high airport passenger charges, which have more than doubled since 2012, and will be burdened by further above inflation increases in the coming years. In addition, Rome Fiumicino airport provides a poor passenger experience which has led to low levels of punctuality and customer satisfaction which the recent capacity increases have exacerbated.

As a result of the redeployment EasyJet will cease basing crew and aircraft at Rome Fiumicino from April 2016. There will be no job losses as a result of this decision as easyJet will be offering Rome Fiumicino based crew a transfer to our other Italian bases. The airline will offer individual relocation plans and support for all employees. easyJet hopes that as many of its crew as possible take up this offer.

EasyJet remains committed to connecting Italy with the rest of Europe and will continue to fly around 2 million passengers to and from Rome Fiumicino next year out of its bases across its network. This decision does not reflect in any way on easyJet’s Rome Fiumicino based people or the commitment and effort they have made to deliver a friendly customer experience and high operational standards.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 G-EZDJ (msn 3544) painted in the new 2015 livery arrives at Southend near London.

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Alitalia moves all check-in operations to Terminal 1 at Rome Fiumicino due to the Terminal 3 fire

Alitalia logo

Alitalia (3rd) (Rome) has issued this statement about airport operations at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport (FCO). Terminal 3 of Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Fiumicino was struck by a fire which upset airport operations. Here is the statement:

Due to the fact that Terminal 3 has been condemned for airport operations, Alitalia informs that the check-in operations for all domestic, international and intercontinental flights of the Company will be carried out at Terminal 1.

Alitalia has also set up two task forces, composed of about 100 people from operating and commercial areas, including managers, in order to simplify service and to give information to passengers departing or transiting at Rome Fiumicino airport.

Previously Alitalia restarted operations at yesterday at 2 pm (1400).

Today the airport issued this statement:

ADR logo

FIUMICINO TERMINAL 3 REOPENED

After yesterday’s fire, the Terminal is gradually being reopened by Aeroporti di Roma teams, each staffed with 300 technicians, cleaning and maintenance personnel who worked all through the night to restore operations at the Terminal 3 from early this morning.

All this has been possible because the event affected only the commercial area, beyond security check counters.

Videos: The terminal fire at FCO:

Terminal Map at FCO:

FCO Airport Terminal Map

 

United Airlines to add seasonal service from Chicago O’Hare to Rome next summer

United Airlines (Chicago) next summer from May 16 (changed from June 4) to September 23, 2015 will operate a Chicago (O’Hare) – Rome (Fiumicino) service. The seasonal route will operate with Boeing 777-200 ER equipment.

On December 22 confirmed the seasonal route:

United Airlines will launch new nonstop flights between its Chicago hub at O’Hare International Airport and Rome on May 16, 2015, subject to government approval. The summer-season service will operate five-times-weekly through June 3, daily from June 4 to August 17, and six-times-weekly from August 18 through September 23, 2015.

Flight UA 970 will depart Chicago at 6:00 p.m. (1800), arriving at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci -Fiumicino Airport at 10:30 a.m. (1030) the following day (all times local). On the return, flight UA 971 will depart Rome at 12:45 p.m. (1245), arriving in Chicago at 4:20 p.m. (1620) the same day.

Schedules may vary slightly on some days. Flight times will be nine hours 30 minutes eastbound and 10 hours 35 minutes westbound.

United will operate the flights using Boeing 777 aircraft with a total of 269 seats – eight flat-bed seats in United Global First, 40 flat-bed seats in United BusinessFirst and 221 seats in United Economy, including 104 Economy Plus extra-legroom seats.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinesGallery.com. Former Continental Airlines Boeing 777-224 ER N77006 (msn 29476) climbs away from Heathrow Airport.

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Alitalia to launch new Abu Dhabi routes on March 29, 2015 from Milan Malpensa and Venice

Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) on March 29, 2015 will launch new routes from Milan (Malpensa) and Venice to Abu Dhabi, tripling its frequency to the Capital of the United Arab Emirates with a total of 42 round-trip flights between Italy and Abu Dhabi.

The new Alitalia flights from Milan and Venice – in addition to Alitalia’s Rome (Fiumicino) – Abu Dhabi flight, which began on December 1, 2012 – will be in codeshare with Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) (subject to the necessary government approvals), already providing service from Abu Dhabi to Rome and Milan.

The codeshare agreement between Alitalia and Etihad Airways provides 46 code-shared flights operated by the two companies worldwide. Alitalia and Etihad Airways respective flights between Rome, Milan and Venice (as of March 29, 2015) to Abu Dhabi are code-shared, as well as a number of routes departing from Abu Dhabi and from Rome Fiumicino.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-202 EI-EJJ (msn 1225) Arrives in Rome (Fiumicino).

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Virgin America and China Airlines start their codeshare relationship

Virgin America (San Francisco) today announced the implementation of a codeshare arrangement with China Airlines (Taipei) that will offer customers seamless bookings and travel between Taipei, Taiwan, elsewhere in Asia and multiple destinations across the United States. The new codeshare agreement, the fourth for the California-based airline, involves China Airlines placing its two-letter airline code (CI) on a range of Virgin America markets including flights between Los Angeles and/or San Francisco to Boston, Chicago, Dallas Love Field, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Las Vegas, Newark, New York (JFK), Seattle/Tacoma and Washington Dulles (IAD). Starting today, China Airlines guests can book their journey across the United States with Virgin America via China Airlines’ website and look forward to a convenient airport experience with one-stop check-in for boarding passes and checked bags.

China Airlines offers daily direct flights from Taipei to San Francisco and Los Angeles, and three flights per week to New York.

The codeshare partnership expands on the two airline’s existing interline agreement, which commenced in May 2012. China Airlines is Virgin America’s fourth codeshare agreement and enhances the airline’s growing partner portfolio.

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N855VA (msn 5179) prepares to land at Los Angeles International Airport, a common connection point.

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Bottom Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. China Airlines’ Airbus A330-302 B-18367 (msn 1278) arrives in Rome (Fiumicino).

Finnair to add new seasonal service to Athens, Dublin and Malta next summer

Finnair (Helsinki) will add seasonal services from Helsinki to Athens, Dublin and Malta next summer season, with schedules designed for optimal connections with Finnair’s network of Asian destinations. Service to Dublin begins on March 30, Malta on April 2 and Athens on April 5. Service to all three destinations lasts until late October.

Dublin (DUB) will be served six times a week, except Tuesdays, with 100-seat Embraer 190 aircraft operated on behalf of Finnair by Flybe Finland.

Flights to Malta International Airport (MLA) near the Maltese capital Valletta are operated two times a week — Mondays and Thursdays — with Airbus A321 Sharklet aircraft. Athens (ATH) is also served twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, with Airbus A319s or A320s.

In other news, Finnair is extending its network throughout the United Kingdom with new codeshare services from Manchester operated by partner airline Flybe. Effective September 15, the Finnair code will be added to Flybe services from Manchester (MAN) to 10 regional airports: Aberdeen (ABZ), Belfast City (BHD), Edinburgh (EDI), Exeter (EXT), Glasgow (GLA), Inverness (INV), Isle of Man (IOM), Jersey (JER), Newquay (NQY) and Southampton (SOU).

Separately, Finnair also cooperates with Flybe affiliate Flybe Finland, a joint venture between Finnair and Flybe established in 2011. Flybe Finland operates a mixture of contract-flights on behalf of Finnair as well as its own flights around Finland and the Nordic region from its base at Helsinki Airport.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-211 OH-LZE (msn 1978) arrives in Rome (Fiumicino).

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Finnair slips into the red with a 2Q net loss of $32 million, faces an uncertain economic outlook

Finnair (Helsinki) reported a second quarter net loss of €23.9 million ($32.0 million), completely reversed from a €18.1 million net profit ($24.2 million) in the same quarter a year ago. Additionally Finnair could be severely impacted on its Asian routes if Russia implements airspace restrictions for European carriers on its trans-Siberian routes.

Here is the full report:

Finnair Group interim report January 1 – 30 June 30, 2014

Finnair Plc. Interim report 15 August 2014 at 09:30 EET

April–June 2014

Turnover declined by 7.2% to 565.7 million euros (609.7).

The operational result was -19.6 million euros (7.5).

Net cash flow from operating activities stood at 69.2 million euros (101.2), and cash flow from investments totalled -92.2 million euros (-46.5). The cash flow from investments includes aircraft sale and leaseback arrangements implemented during the review period as well as advance payments for the first A350 aircraft.

Unit cost per available seat kilometre excluding fuel, (CASK excl. fuel), decreased by 2.4 per cent from the previous year’s level.

Unit revenue per available seat kilometre (RASK) fell by 5.8%.

Finnair updates its guidance and estimates its turnover in 2014 to be significantly lower than in 2013 and its 2014 operational result to show a significant loss.

CEO Pekka Vauramo:

The second quarter of 2014 was difficult. Finnair’s turnover declined by 7.2 per cent year-on-year to 565.7 million euros. The factors affecting the decrease in turnover included a substantial decline in unit revenue, the loss of external turnover resulting from the restructuring of aviation services, and the weak development of tour operator Aurinkomatkat Suntours. The impact of the weak economic prospects in Finland on domestic demand and intensified international competition, particularly in long-haul traffic, had a negative effect on our unit revenue. The appreciation of the euro against our other primary revenue currencies continued to weaken our unit revenue from passenger traffic. The challenging operating environment has also been reflected in the revenue development of other airlines.

Our passenger load factors in April–June improved year-on-year, and at the same time we made progress with our cost reduction program. I am pleased that our cost reduction targets and market-based approach have been met with understanding also among our personnel, and that we were able to reach agreement on the necessary cost reductions with some of our personnel groups. However, these positive steps were not sufficient to compensate for the drop in revenue, and our operational result declined to a substantial loss at 19.6 million euros in a quarter traditionally strong for Finnair.

Achieving the cost reductions we are pursuing and reaching market level costs in all cost categories is absolutely essential in this financial situation. Finnair is very committed to achieving a competitive cost level and structure.

Outlook

Outlook on August 15, 2014:

The ongoing uncertain economic outlook in Europe and Asia is contributing to weak consumer demand in our main markets. Air traffic is expected to grow moderately in 2014. Finnair, however, will not be able to benefit from that growth without progress in its cost reduction program and its target cost structure in place.

Finnair estimates its turnover in 2014 to be significantly lower than in 2013. Fuel costs are expected to remain high. Due to delays in the personnel cost reduction negotiations and the unfavourable market conditions driving the decline in unit revenue, Finnair estimates that its 2014 operational result will show a significant loss.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-231 WL OH-LZK (msn 5961) arrives at Rome (Fiumicino).

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Alitalia and Etihad Airways finalize their €1,758 million deal

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) and Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) today announced that they have signed the transaction implementation agreement which will result in a €1,758 million ($2.36 billion) investment to build a reinvigorated Alitalia as a competitive, sustainably profitable business.

The recapitalized Italian national airline will now be able to invest in a comprehensive strategic business plan which will see new long-haul routes from Rome and Milan, a revitalized brand, and a greater focus on Italian tourism and trade promotion. Italian travellers will be able to benefit from a wider choice of destinations while new global connections will boost inbound tourism.

Etihad Airways’ investment of €560 million will be provided through a combination of equity injections, asset purchases and other financing facilities and funding arrangements to re-structure the airline’s balance sheet. This is to be complemented by a further equity investment of €300 million from existing core Alitalia shareholders, including Intesa San Paolo (€88m), Poste Italiane (€75m), UniCredit (€63.5m), Atlantia (€51m), IMMSI (€10m), Pirelli (€10m) and Gavio (€2.5m).

Additionally, up to €598 million in financial restructuring of short and medium term debt has been provided by financial institutions and existing bank shareholders. €300 million of new loan facilities have also been extended by Italian financial institutions.

Etihad Airways will take a 49 per cent shareholding in Alitalia, for an investment of €387.5 million. Its total investment also includes €112.5 million to acquire a 75 per cent interest in Alitalia Loyalty Spa, which operates MilleMiglia, the airline’s frequent flier programme, and the purchase by Etihad Airways of five pairs of slots at London’s Heathrow Airport valued at €60 million. The slot pairs will be leased back to Alitalia on an arm’s length basis. The transaction is due to be completed on 31 December 2014.

Completion of the equity investment remains subject to completion by Alitalia and its key private and public stakeholders of certain conditions precedent and is also subject to final regulatory approvals.

Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said: “For Etihad Airways, this is a strategic, long-term commercial investment. On completion, we are committed, with the other shareholders, to build a reinvigorated Alitalia as a competitive, sustainable and profitable business that can operate successfully in the global air travel market.

“We believe in Alitalia. It is great brand with enormous potential. With the right level of capitalization and a strong, strategic business plan, we have confidence the airline can be turned around and repositioned as a premium global airline once again.

“Alitalia is the perfect ambassador for Italy and all that it represents. As we revitalise the brand, the airline will increasingly embody all that we recognise as quintessentially Italian – the history, culture, food and fashion. It must be an airline of which Italians can be proud.

“However ultimately it has to work as a business and the goal is for sustainable profitability from 2017.”

Mr Hogan said he recognized that many steps had been taken by current Alitalia shareholders, management and workers to stabilise the business ahead of new investment.

“Alitalia can succeed and it can grow again but it needs to build from solid foundations. We have made it clear from the start that our entire investment should be focused on supporting the implementation of the new business plan, which will see this goal come to fruition.

“The winners from this successful strategy will be Italian and international travellers, who will see better service, new routes and greater competitive choice; Alitalia’s employees, who can look forward to a brighter future over the long term, in a business which will grow again; and the Italian people, who can be proud once again of their national airline.

“There is a long road ahead, first to complete the transaction and then to deliver this new vision. Today marks a critical step on that journey and we are proud to take our place as a strategic investor in the new Alitalia.”Gabriele Del Torchio, Chief Executive Officer of Alitalia, said: “This is an excellent outcome for Alitalia. We have had to take some tough decisions in a very robust negotiation process but we have achieved the consensus we require to create the right shape and size for Alitalia in the future.

“This investment will provide financial stability and enable us to position Alitalia, and the travel and tourism industry in Italy, for long-term growth.

“And for this important result I’d like to thank all the Alitalia staff – men and women, managers and workers, pilots, crew and office staff – who have worked with passion and commitment for our new launch. The transition to a sustainable and profitable Alitalia has required tough decisions but we all share the conviction that this new beginning, oriented towards growth, will bring new opportunities for everyone.”

The comprehensive business plan provides for the revitalization of Alitalia’s brand, to embody all the things for which Italy is renowned – food, fashion, culture and lifestyle – in a ‘Made in Italy’ premium service concept and guest experience.

This will be accompanied by the implementation of measures to drive increased inbound tourism into Italy and to support the country’s economic growth.

While maintaining the relevance of short-haul routes, the proposed network plan focuses on the profitable growth of long-haul flying from both Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa. This will include flights to new destinations, increased frequency in certain existing markets and an enhanced network to Abu Dhabi to capitalise on growing traffic between Italy and the UAE, and provide Alitalia’s passengers with seamless connectivity to Etihad Airways’ global network.

Starting from Winter 2014, Alitalia will increase frequency between Rome Fiumicino and Abu Dhabi from five per week to a daily service, and commence a new daily service between Milan Malpensa and Abu Dhabi. This flying will complement Etihad Airways’ existing daily services on these markets and open up a range of new connecting opportunities for passengers of both airlines.

From Summer 2015, Alitalia will also begin to implement connections between other Italian cities and Abu Dhabi, with plans for direct flights from markets such as Venice, Catania and Bologna.

Rome Fiumicino will emerge as a larger European intercontinental hub, with up to five new routes over the next four years, while long-haul flights from Milan Malpensa will more than double to 25 flights a week by 2018. Alitalia’s widebody fleet is planned to grow by a third, while its narrowbody fleet will be rightsized to meet the requirements of the new network plan.

Members of the MilleMiglia frequent flier program will be able to ‘earn and burn’ on Etihad Airways and partner airlines, with future integration of the programmes planned.

While network integration and optimization will deliver top-line revenue growth for Alitalia, the cost synergies inherent in the partnership will provide substantial opportunities. These include streamlined hub operations, and joint procurement in the areas of aircraft, engines, maintenance-repair-operations, training, catering, ground-handling and fuel. The partnership will also pave the way for the redesigning and automating processes and working arrangements in line with best practice, and the adoption of leading IT platforms.

To better serve the Italian cargo market, which is the third largest in Europe, Alitalia’s cargo business will be relaunched and expanded, with the establishment of a centre of excellence in Northern Italy, investment in handling capabilities at Italian airports, and the optimization of an integrated cargo network.

James Hogan said: “Italy is a hugely important market for Etihad Airways, from both trade and tourism points of view. The UAE is Italy’s top trading partner in the Middle East and North Africa region, and is home to more than 10,000 Italian citizens and 300 Italian companies.

“The possibilities when we knit together our network with those of our existing equity partners, including airberlin, Air Serbia, Etihad Regional, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, Air Seychelles and Aer Lingus, and of course our strategic codeshare partner, KLM-Air France, will provide the most compelling customer offering.”

Etihad Airways currently operates daily services from Abu Dhabi to Rome and Milan, which complement Alitalia’s five flights a week from Rome to Abu Dhabi. The two airlines also codeshare to a total of 31 other destinations.

Video: Watch the press conference:

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Alitalia is very likely to receive a brand overhaul including a new aircraft livery. Airbus A330-202 EI-EJO (msn 1327) arrives back at the Rome (Fiumicino) hub painted in the updated 2006 livery.

Alitalia (2nd): AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show