Alitalia has tentatively agreed to merge with Wind Jet and Blue Panorama Airlines. According to AGI reports, Alitalia has signed a MoU with both Italian carriers to this effect. Wind Jet is a LCC operating short haul European services and Blue Panorama operates charter and scheduled services from its Rome and Milan bases. According to Innovata data, Wind Jet and Blue Panorama hold 10.6% and 2.9% of Italy’s domestic capacity, respectively.
Alitalia to merge with Wind Jet and Blue Panorama Airlines
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Italy aviation: Ryanair, easyJet and Vueling pursue Alitalia across the country
The Italian market continues in a state of flux. It looks like 2015 will join 2014 as a growth year, following contraction in 2012 and 2013. Alitalia has stabilised its total seat capacity after years of decline, but continues to lose market share to fast-growing rivals. Europe's three biggest LCCs - Ryanair, easyJet and Vueling - are pursuing what seems like relentless expansion across Italy, but Wizz Air is also building a presence.
Furthermore, the leading airlines in Italy continue to jostle for places in difference parts of the market. This is illustrated by easyJet's recent decision to close its Rome Fiumicino base from Apr-2016 and to redeploy aircraft through the expansion of bases at Milan Malpensa and Naples and at a new base at Venice Marco Polo.
Ryanair overtook Alitalia as the biggest airline in Italy by seats in 2013 and offers far more destinations. As it continues to improve customer service quality and to increase the proportion of primary airports in its pan-European network, Ryanair's position as market leader in Italy and the lowest cost producer in Europe will make it hard to beat.
Rome Fiumicino Airport: Vueling, Ryanair, easyJet and Alitalia are locked in mortal combat
Just as Rome was not built in a day, the battle among the airlines at its main airport will also take its time to play out.
A year ago, CAPA examined the growing levels of competition at Rome Fiumicino. The fight was not only between the disruptive LCCs and the well-established, but struggling, Alitalia. It was also increasingly between the LCCs themselves. At that time, Ryanair had just entered the airport for the first time, Vueling was about to establish a new base and to inject massive capacity growth there and easyJet also planned strong growth. Alitalia faced further erosion of its market share.
A year on and the battleground continues to be fiercely contested. Vueling plans further huge growth this summer, Ryanair is to transfer more routes to Fiumicino from Ciampino and easyJet, while taking a relative pause for breath, is still set to grow capacity at a double digit rate this summer. Alitalia's share continues to fall, but at least it has ensured its survival after receiving an investment by Etihad.