Alitalia took over the passenger transport activity from Wind Jet as per an agreement reached on 13-Apr-2012 following approval from the carrier's board, as reported by local media sources including AGI, World Aeronautical Press Agency, Avionews and Il Messaggero. With the transaction, previously announced in Jan-2012, Alitalia Group "aims at gathering the specific know-how developed by Wind Jet in the low-cost flights sector, thus completing and enriching its range of products and competences. This will allow Alitalia to further diversify its offer, similarly to what has been done with the Air One project, namely to have a wider range of Italian, quality low-cost flights. The operation - which is consistent with the ones recently announced by other European airlines and aims at strengthening our activity in the low cost flight segment - is subject to the success of a series of regulation and market conditions set out in the contract," the carrier said. WindJet reportedly has debts of around EUR100 million. A similar agreement with Blue Panorama has not been approved.
Integration of Wind Jet operations with Alitalia receives board approval
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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.
Alitalia's new strategy. Part 2: Asia - Korean Air doubles Italy and Hainan Airlines grows to Rome
Alitalia's new-found Asia strategy appears to be stimulating competitive responses. Alitalia has announced new services to Seoul, a return to China and expanded services to Japan. More Asian markets could be on their way. After much delay, Korean Air will double its presence in Italy by de-coupling Milan and Rome, served on a triangular routing, and then increasing capacity.
Korean Air has carried 25% of the Korea-Italy market, so it has left much traffic to others, mostly to sixth freedom airlines like Lufthansa and other Europeans. Alitalia part owner Etihad hopes Alitalia's eastwards expansion will allow it to claw back at the gains Lufthansa and other carriers have made in Italy.
Growth from China to Italy looks more organic than competitive. Air China will become the largest airline in the Italy-Asia market while the China-Italy market will welcome a third Chinese player as Hainan Airlines starts twice-weekly Chongqing-Rome service.