(XFN-ASIA) - Italian transport minister Alessandro Bianchi
said Viterbo, in the Lazio region around Rome, has been chosen as the capital's
third airport after Fiumicino and Ciampino airports. The construction and management
of the airport has been awarded to Gemina SpA unit Aeroporti di Roma.
A Bianchi official said a major part of the Viterbo airport's activity is likely to be with low-cost carriers.
Bianchi has previously said establishing a third airport in the Rome area can relieve noise and environmental problems at Ciampino. Last month, Ryanair Holdings PLC won a court suspension over measures taken by Italian regulators aimed at cutting flights at Ciampino.
In further comments, Rome mayor Walter Veltroni said Bianchi had taken the decision on the airport in the time scheduled, adding the new Viterbo airport will take pressure off Ciampino.
Viterbo was chosen against a series of technical criteria, including efficient rail links, he said.
Previously, Bianchi said the choice on the third airport also included those at Latina and Frosinone. In its report on the choice of which of four existing airports to upgrade, the ministry said it also examined Guidonia to the east of Rome, closer to the capital than the other three. Viterbo is to the north of Rome, while Latina and Frosinone are both south. The ministry ranked the four candidates on capacity to increase the present airport's area, on ability to handle more air traffic, ground traffic links, and economic/financial factors, it said.
Viterbo won on lack of competition with other airports south of Rome and on easy upgrading of the rail link, while the other three face higher defence ministry costs in moving existing air traffic.
In 2020, Rome expects to handle 56 mln air passengers, including 46 mln at Fiumicino and not more than 3 mln at Ciampino, it said. "There is the need for a third airprot able to absorb 6-8 mln passengers by 2020," the ministry said. The ministry said it intends to examine other short-term measures to limit traffic at Ciampino after the court suspension obtained by Ryanair.