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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Western Europe-Iran: opportunity in under-developed market, but Turkish Airlines already has a niche
Iran accounts for just 5% of Western Europe-Middle East seats, yet it accounts for 24% of the Middle East population. Air travel between Western Europe and Iran fell annually until 2013, since when growth has returned. Nevertheless, it remains under-developed and the thawing of relations with Iran should provide a significant opportunity.
Preliminary 2016 data from OAG indicate that Iran Air's 36% of seats in this market will keep it above Lufthansa's 27%. However, growth by Lufthansa and Austrian, together with the entry of Eurowings, will rank the Lufthansa group ahead with 46%. The other Iranian airline in this market, Mahan Air, is also set to grow rapidly in summer 2016. From the Western European side, the only other operators are Alitalia and Germania.
The potential for the Western Europeans is clear, although it will take time for demand to evolve to levels that are more consistent with the size of Iran's population (second only to Egypt in the Middle East). Moreover, Turkish Airlines has a widespread presence both in Iran and Western Europe and already offers strong competition in the form of one stop services through Istanbul.
As Rome's Fiumicino burns, fashion capital Milan could benefit. Alitalia is left with a hub dilemma
On 07-May-2015 Rome’s Fiumicino-Leonardo da Vinci Airport, the principal airport for the Italian capital and home base of Alitalia, had to be closed down following a serious fire in Terminal 3, which broke out in a coffee shop. Hundreds of flights were cancelled, leading to chaos and confusion amongst passengers as entry was denied to all terminals.
As the crews of 15 fire engines fought to bring it under control the inferno destroyed several passport control cabins and the main commercial zone, including a large area of Duty Free shops. Fortunately there were no direct casualties but shortly after the fire was finally extinguished concerns began to be raised about health and safety issues. Those concerns continue despite action taken by the management of Aeroporti di Roma (AdR) and the Civil Aviation Authority, ENAC, initially to scale down operations to 60% of overall capacity.
Indeed, the fire managed to open a can of worms concerning the overall state of the Fiumicino infrastructure, its suitability to handle large numbers of passengers now and in the future, and whether or not it should even serve as the nation’s primary, showpiece, air gateway, despite a massive planned expansion programme.