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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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.
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.