Category Archives: Aerolinee Operanti a Malpensa

Chinese carriers apply for new European routes

China Eastern has applied to serve Milan, the host destination for World Routes 2020. It plans to operate Wenzhou – Milan twice a week, starting in October 2019.

Milan Malpensa is currently connected to four destinations in China. Air China operates daily service to Beijing Capital and Shanghai Pudong, while Neos Air flies once a week to Guiyang and twice weekly to Nanjing.

(Routes Online)

Continuità Territoriale Sardegna

Air Italy ha accettato lo scorso 12 marzo di volare da Olbia a Roma e da Olbia a Linate (e viceversa), senza compensazione finanziaria.

Questa decisione è stata presa perché, nonostante la perdita del Bando nella fase iniziale della Continuità Territoriale, era vitale fare tutto il possibile, nell’ambito delle regole dello stesso, per proteggere il personale e l’investimento fatto negli ultimi 50 anni al servizio della Sardegna.

Operare la Continuità Territoriale senza compensazione significava apportare cambiamenti strategici al proprio network e accettare una significativa perdita finanziaria, infatti le compensazioni esistono per una ragione: operare con le condizioni disposte dalla Regione Sardegna non è economicamente profittevole e quindi, per assicurare la mobilità e l’accesso alla Sardegna, la Regione finanzia le rotte.

Nonostante ciò, gli azionisti hanno accettato di sottoscrivere la significativa perdita economica derivante dall’operare i voli di Continuità Territoriale senza compensazioni, motivandola con le sopra accennate ragioni: proteggere il personale e i loro redditi.

Successivamente, lo scorso 8 aprile Alitalia ha a sua volta accettato gli oneri di servizio pubblico sui voli da e per Olbia.

Come noto, Alitalia è una società in Amministrazione Straordinaria, e i termini per la sua vendita sono stati recentemente prorogati perché non è stato trovato un partner valido. Come quindi possa operare le rotte in Continuità Territoriale di Olbia senza compensazione – dato che le rotte non sono redditizie in assenza di contributi – rimane un mistero. È interessante notare che Alitalia si è offerta solo di effettuare queste rotte senza compensazione, mantenendola invece sulla Continuità Territoriale di Cagliari e Alghero, dove le rotte sono probabilmente più redditizie.

A questo punto, considerati gli sviluppi, la Compagnia ha affrontato la prospettiva di dover rivedere radicalmente le proprie operazioni su Olbia, considerando ogni possibile eventualità.

In data 15 aprile, il Presidente Christian Solinas ha convocato Air Italy e Alitalia per provare a trovare una soluzione. Sono state presentate diverse opzioni, tra le quali la condivisione delle rotte, ma nessuna delle alternative proposte era finanziariamente sostenibile, anzi portavano ad un risultato peggiore per Air Italy rispetto a quanto proposto dalla Compagnia a marzo – il che ha portato come conseguenza alla rinuncia da parte di Air Italy.

Il 17 aprile il Ministero dei Trasporti e la Regione Sardegna hanno nuovamente convocato Air Italy e Alitalia per cercare congiuntamente una soluzione che potesse superare la situazione venutasi a creare.

Nelle settimane successive è stato discusso e sviluppato un accordo quadro nel quale era previsto che Alitalia continuasse a volare sulle rotte di Olbia fino alla fine di maggio, ri-proteggendo i passeggeri di Air Italy, dopo di che Alitalia sarebbe uscita e avrebbe lasciato operare Air Italy, che – parimenti, avrebbe ri-protetto i passeggeri di Alitalia.

Questo accordo quadro è stato redatto e rivisto dalle parti in attesa di essere firmato.

Tuttavia, a poche ore dalla prevista conclusione dell’accordo, Alitalia ha modificato la propria posizione affermando che non fosse più possibile procedere e che desiderava tornare alla proposta originale, ovvero la condivisione delle rotte. Questo era, è e sarà, semplicemente impossibile.

Air Italy ha fatto tutto il possibile per cercare di esplorare ogni opzione percorribile.

Per più di due mesi è stata riconfermata l’accettazione delle rotte pur in previsione di una significativa perdita finanziaria. E’ stato opzionato e poi cancellato e ancora ri-opzionato e di nuovo cancellato il leasing degli aerei necessari, creando un danno ai propri rapporti commerciali.

Sono state acquisite prenotazioni e sono stati ri-protetti i passeggeri con ogni possibile modalità. E, infine, la Compagnia ha partecipato a ogni incontro, ma una soluzione ragionevole è risultata fuori dal proprio controllo.

Esattamente un mese fa la Compagnia ha detto che la soluzione proposta dalla Regione Sardegna di concerto con il Governo non era una soluzione, ma una farsa, e che non risolveva la questione della continuità territoriale. Al contrario, mette a rischio la Continuità Territoriale e contemporaneamente i passeggeri, il territorio, il personale di Air Italy e il settore turistico della Sardegna.

Oggi quest’affermazione è tristemente ancora valida.

Oltre a ciò, c’è disillusione e estrema delusione rispetto a come questa situazione è stata gestita dalla Regione Sardegna e dal Governo.

Così com’è, questa è la fine della storia per quanto riguarda Air Italy, che essendo costretta a cancellare le due rotte Continuità Territoriale di Olbia, continuerà a ri-proteggere i passeggeri che dovessero risultare ancora prenotati sui voli fra Olbia e Milano Linate e fra Olbia e Roma Fiumicino.

Non c’è nient’altro che la Compagnia possa fare a questo punto. Sono state mantenute le opzioni per gli aerei in leasing in attesa di una risoluzione, ma sfortunatamente ora tali opzioni verranno rilasciate e tutti i relativi accordi annullati.

Inoltre, a causa della cattiva gestione e delle ripercussioni finanziarie di questo ridicolo stato di cose, è stato dato incarico per valutare la possibilità di richiedere un risarcimento e verrà chiesto alla Commissione europea di indagare su questa débâcle.

Ma soprattutto, l’obiettivo principale resta lo stesso: il proprio personale.

A causa di questa situazione mal gestita e della mancanza di una soluzione, trascinata per mesi e ritornata al punto di partenza, il destino dei 500 dipendenti di Air Italy, delle loro famiglie e delle imprese associate in Sardegna dipende dalle decisioni della Regione Sardegna e del Governo.

Oggi il personale della Compagnia e le famiglie meritano risposte oneste e dirette da parte di coloro che sono responsabili di questo caos.

Essi devono adesso spostare immediatamente l’attenzione sulla ricerca di una soluzione adeguata a proteggere sia il reddito degli oltre 500 dipendenti di Air Italy, sia le loro famiglie a Olbia, nonché il contributo economico e sociale, che essi apportano all’isola della Sardegna

Malpensa e il sogno americano di Air Italy

Los Angeles, San Francisco e Toronto: in un solo mese – dal 3 aprile al 6 maggio – Air Italy ha portato a termine il posizionamento dei suoi nuovi tasselli sullo scacchiere dell’estate a lungo raggio.

Una strategia chiara che fa del Nordamerica la terra d’elezione per la compagnia aerea ex Meridiana, soprattutto dopo i tentativi non troppo fortunati di sviluppare le rotte verso Oriente. Il network Air Italy, centrato sulla base di Milano Malpensa e che contava già le rotte per New York e Miami, ora prevede quella per Los Angeles (quattro volte alla settimana), per San Francisco (quattro volte alla settimana), e il collegamento con Toronto (operativo ogni giorno tranne il giovedì).

Tutti i voli, inoltre, beneficiano di connessioni nazionali tra Milano e Roma, Napoli, Palermo, Catania, Lamezia Terme, Cagliari e Olbia. Il nuovo volo per la capitale dell’Ontario, quindi, sarà stagionale ed è programmato fino al 25 ottobre 2019 e operato da un Airbus A330-200 dotato di 24 posti in Business Class con poltrone completamente reclinabili e 228 posti in Economy.

«Esiste un enorme potenziale di crescita sulla direttrice verso il Canada, un Paese che presenta una forte posizione economica, importanti relazioni a livello globale e un’ampia comunità di italiani che vi vivono stabilmente – ha detto durante l’inaugurazione il chief operating officer di Air Italy, Rossen Dimitrov – Chiaramente ci aspettiamo una crescita del turismo verso il Canada, ma anche un aumento degli scambi commerciali legati ai settori della moda, dell’alimentazione e della cultura, che potranno beneficiare dei nostri sei voli settimanali».

Una raffica di voli Oltreoceano che ha solleticato perfino i dubbi delle tre grandi compagnie Usa – Delta, United e American – che hanno accusato Air Italy di operare per nome e per conto della controllante Qatar Airways (che detiene il 49% della compagnia, mentre Alisarda ha il restante 51%, ndr) permettendo così al Gruppo qatariota di aggirare gli accordi tra i vettori del Golfo e gli States. Accuse lanciate perfino in audizione al Congresso Usa, ma che finora non hanno avuto nessun riscontro materiale.

Air Italy, galvanizzata da tale attenzione, ha risposto con un dettagliato comunicato. “Disponiamo di una flotta di 13 aeromobili, di cui 5 sul lungo raggio. Siamo perplessi (seppur leggermente lusingati) dal fatto che i tre più grandi vettori Usa, che gestiscono una flotta di oltre 2.500 aeromobili, sostengano di essere minacciati da noi – sostiene la nota di Air Italy, che prosegue – Qatar Airways non opera in codeshare sulle nostre linee. Se una qualsiasi di queste tre compagnie (che con i loro alleati hanno il 90% del traffico) credesse che la nostra piccola quota di mercato sia una minaccia, che non dovremmo servire gli Usa o avere la licenza italiana allora dovrebbe indirizzare il proprio reclamo all’Enac e alla Commissione europea”.

https://www.lagenziadiviaggi.it/malpensa-sogno-americano-air-italy/

jetBlue, FedEx and Atlas Air in Defense of QR’s & Air Italy

Two airline chief executives and the boss of global shipping company FedEx have sent an open letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “set the record straight” over what they refer to as “wholly-unsubstantiated claims” about Qatar Airways and its minority investment in Air Italy.

Last week, Secretary Pompeo faced questions at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee in which lawmakers repeatedly asked about the expansion of Qatar Airways into the United States and whether its business ties with Air Italy “run directly counter” to a one-year agreement that the Trump Administration reached with the State of Qatar over the government-owned airline and its use of Open Skies regulations.

At the time, Secretary Pompeo said he was “personally engaged” in the issue and was looking into whether Qatar Airways had breached the agreement by taking a 49% stake in Italian airline Meridiana which has since been rebranded as Air Italy.  Since becoming Air Italy, the Sardinian carrier has opened a slew of new routes to North America including daily flights to New York JFK and Miami, as well as direct flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto.

Critics claim Air Italy is being used by Qatar Airways to get around the commitments it made to the Trump Administration, such as the promise that it didn’t intend to open up any Fifth Freedom routes to the United States.

For its part, Qatar Airways says its 49% minority stake in Air Italy is “fully compliant” with last year’s agreement and that it doesn’t codeshare on any of Air Italy’s routes.

Now, Fred Smith Chairman and CEO of FedEx, Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue, and Bill Flynn, President and CEO of Atlas Air Worldwide have written an open letter to Secretary Pompeo to address “inaccurate statements made by opponents of Open Skies agreements.”

The three companies are members of a lobby group called the U.S. Airlines for Open Skies Coalition that was set up to counter claims from the Big Three U.S. airlines that carriers from the Middle East were putting thousands of American jobs at risk by entering the North American market with the help of huge government subsidies.

The letter says the current Open Skies policy that allows airlines like Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways unfettered access to operate flights to the United States is “unquestionably one of the most successful economic and diplomatic initiatives in American history.”

“It has produced record profits for our airlines, both passenger and cargo; and it has created jobs for American workers at home and abroad,” the letter continues.

The letter describes allegations that Air Italy’s flights to the United States are “defacto” Fifth Freedom flights as “illogical” and if accepted as turning “aviation law on its head.”

“It is clear that Qatar’s investment in Air Italy does not breach the Understandings, nor in any way violate Open Skies agreements between the U.S. and EU, or the U.S. and Qatar,” the letter reads.

Warning Secretary Pompeo of the consequences of acting on concerns raised by Air Italy’s critics, the three chief executives say there would be a “rapid unravelling of hard-fought aviation rights around the world.”

jetBlue has previously come in for criticism for its codesharing agreements with Emirates because U.S. government agencies were buying jetBlue tickets for employees who actually ended up flying with Emirates to international destinations.  FedEx and Atlas Air have both benefited from the Open Skies regulations that have allowed them to expand operations into the Middle East through Dubai and Doha.

It just goes to show that there are two sides to every story.  Critics of Qatar Airways – like Delta and American Airlines – will have to prove they’ve actually been harmed by Qatar Airways receiving government subsidies.  That’s something they’ve so far failed to do.

The full letter can be read below:


Dear Secretary Pompeo and Secretary Chao:
 
The U.S. Open Skies policy is unquestionably one of the most successful economic and diplomatic initiatives in American history.  Coupled with domestic airline deregulation, it has greatly expanded air service access at U.S. communities, stimulating extraordinary economic growth in the process; it has produced record profits for our airlines, both passenger and cargo; and it has created jobs for American workers at home and abroad.  We thank you for your staunch support for Open Skies and for ensuring that the U.S. remains steadfast in its commitment to open international aviation markets.
 
We write to you today, against renewed and thinly veiled attacks, to reiterate our support for Open Skies and for the January 30, 2018 Record of Discussion between the U.S. and the State of Qatar, and the May 11, 2018 Record of Discussion between the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  The “Understandings,” and the years of careful, diplomatic efforts that preceded them, struck an appropriate balance between two important interests: increasing transparency about government financial support of foreign airlines, leading potentially to market distortions not yet addressed in any aviation model, and the continuing U.S. support for Open Skies.   
 
The 2018 Understandings established certain expectations with respect to financial transparency and state support, while noting that such support is not uncommon in the global aviation sector.  We fully support the Understandings and their careful balance of interests.
 
Respectfully, as both the U.S. Departments of State and Transportation have reiterated numerous times, the Records of Discussion were carefully drafted to avoid addressing the aviation rights and obligations of the parties to the underlying Open Skies agreements.  In addition, the side letters from the governments of Qatar and the UAE do not contain any commitments to restrict 5th freedom service expansion by their airlines, just as the U.S. carriers exercise globally.  Ongoing contrary statements about the Understandings are plain misrepresentations, which do a disservice to the outstanding work of the U.S. officials who tirelessly sought to craft this carefully balanced outcome on behalf of our nation.  
 
We are especially concerned by the latest efforts to distort the Understandings even further with a wholly unsubstantiated claim that the Understandings control Qatar Airways’ minority investment in Air Italy, a legally certified European carrier.  This false characterization of Air Italy’s flights as “de facto” 7th freedom flights is contrary to established international aviation law.  The Air Italy flights in question would be legally permitted 3rd and 4th freedom flights operated by an EU carrier under the U.S.-EU Open Skies agreement.  If one were to accept this logic, Delta’s 49% investment in Virgin Atlantic would mean that Virgin’s flight from London to Dubai is a Delta 7th Freedom flight.  Further, American Airlines’ investment in state-owned and state-supported China Southern would turn China Southern’s flights from Beijing to Guangzhou into cabotage by American.  As we have explained, the claims are illogical and would turn aviation law on its head. 
 
With all of these false claims being pushed, we believe the time has come to set the record straight.  First, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority reviewed Air Italy’s ownership structure and concluded it complies with European aviation law.  Subsequently, the European Commission confirmed that decision.  If a party has facts supporting a contrary determination, they should request that the European Commission reevaluate its prior decision.  Additionally, it is clear that Qatar’s investment in Air Italy does not breach the Understandings, nor in any way violate Open Skies agreements between the U.S. and EU, or the U.S. and Qatar.
 
The all-cargo industry has spent decades working to develop global trade rules that address state-owned enterprises in the delivery sector.  During the same time, the U.S. passenger aviation industry could have developed similar policies and rules that would apply to all passenger carriers.  The fact is, however, that certain U.S. passenger carriers do not want these rules.  By accepting the role of state support in aviation, they have profited generously through their anti-competitive commercial alliances with other state-supported carriers worldwide.
 
Our interest has always been in maintaining our nation’s commitment to the Open Skies model because it is central to ensuring a thriving American aviation sector, including the hundreds of thousands of jobs we support, the benefits we bring to consumers, the incredible innovation it has spurred particularly through global cargo networks, and the freedom to compete that has allowed our cargo and passenger carriers to become the global leaders in commercial aviation.  We have consistently maintained that if any U.S. airlines have concerns with unfair competition they should attempt to negotiate rules that would apply to all airlines or pursue those claims through existing laws, such as the International Air Transportation Fair Competitive Practices Act (IATFCPA).   
 
Should the U.S. breach the U.S.-Qatar agreement by restricting Qatar Airways’ rights into the U.S., or the U.S.-EU agreement by restricting Air Italy flights, we can expect to see a rapid unraveling of hard-fought aviation rights around the world when other governments take similar action to shield their state-owned airlines from competition.  Undoubtedly, closing access to global markets will be a punishment that brings higher prices and fewer choices for American travelers, consumers, and shippers.  It would also invite retaliation against U.S. airlines that have used Open Skies and 5th freedom rights to build their thriving global networks – and upon which hundreds of thousands of American jobs depend.  Retaliation would also have a crippling impact on U.S. passenger carriers seeking new service to the EU and halt any ability to bring down ticket prices in the outrageously expensive transatlantic market. For JetBlue, who just announced its intention to begin service to London from New York City and Boston starting in 2021, the possibility of retaliation could have a devastating impact on the ability to obtain authority to operate in the EU under the U.S.-EU Open Skies agreement.

We thank you for your unwavering support for Open Skies policy and all Open Skies rights, including 5th freedom rights, which are of particular importance to U.S. all-cargo carriers.  We urge you to stand firmly behind those vital commitments.

https://www.paddleyourownkanoo.com/2019/04/17/jetblue-fedex-and-atlas-air-come-out-in-defense-of-qatar-airways-investment-in-air-italy/

easyJet ends Alitalia interest

easyJet has walked away from a potential deal for Italy’s flag carrier and SkyTeam member Alitalia.

In a statement, it said following discussions with Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane and Delta Air Lines about forming a consortium to explore options for the future operations of Alitalia, it has taken the decision to withdraw from the process.

“easyJet remains committed to Italy, as a key market for the company, where it currently carries 18.5 million passengers every year and employs 1400 pilots and crew, all on local contracts,” the airline said.

“We continue to invest in the three bases in Milan, Naples, Venice, as we have done by basing additional aircraft in Venice and Naples last summer.”

(Routes Online)

Air Italy one year on

A year has passed year since Italy’s second-largest carrier Meridiana unveiled plans to rebrand as Air Italy, outlining an aim to transport ten million passengers per year by 2022.

The move came just months after it secured an investment from Oneworld member Qatar Airways, which acquired a 49 percent stake in holding company AQA Holding in October 2017.

Speaking at a press conference in Milan, Qatar Airways’ chief executive Akbar Al Baker said the Gulf carrier and Air Italy would “work together to build a sustainable airline alternative for the people of Italy and global travellers”.

In addition to the name change, the new-look carrier announced Milan Malpensa would be its home hub and revealed a string of new routes it planned to operate, including services to New York, Miami and Bangkok.

“Since our launch last year, we have received eight new aircraft and opened multiple new routes,” chief operating officer Rossen Dimitrov told Routesonline.

“Our cabin crew and ground staff have been fully trained on the new product and service and this is clearly paying dividends as we can see from our load factors and the ongoing feedback that we are receiving from our passengers.”

Air Italy’s fleet currently comprises three Boeing 737 MAXs, five Boeing 737 NGs and five Airbus A330s.

Since launching, the airline has opened new domestic routes from Milan to Rome, Naples, Palermo, Catania, Lamezia Terme and Cagliari, plus international services to New York, Miami, Bangkok and Delhi.

Flights from Milan to Los Angeles and San Francisco will start on 3 April and 10 April respectively, with Milan Malpensa – Toronto opening on 6 May. However, Bangkok and Delhi will end this month.

“We had an extremely satisfactory summer thanks to the great customer support, which helped us achieve our goals on our US flights to New York and Miami, with a load factor of more than 90 percent,” says Dimitrov.

“It is even more impressive that more than half of our customers choose Air Italy to fly from and to the south and the centre of Italy via Milan, confirming that we are delivering on our promise of providing our customers with a new choice for their worldwide journeys.

“These routes continue to be among our best performing international routes.”

Dimitrov adds that Milan Malpensa, which is operated by World Routes 2020 host SEA Group, has so far proved to be an ideal base from which to expand.

He explains: “First of all, Italy deserves an airline that it can be proud of both domestically and internationally. At the same time, for a business model based on a combination of domestic feeder plus long-haul international, you need to base your hub in a highly populated area.

“Thirdly, to ensure you have a solid audience for repeat customers, it makes sense to locate yourself in an area that has people with high disposable incomes. Clearly Malpensa facilitates all of these requirements.”

Looking ahead, Dimitrov says the focus for the rest of the year will be to make sure its current routes, plus the three new flights to North America, are a success before it announces any additional services. A three-weekly route to Chicago had been pencilled in for a May launch, but it is understood to have been postponed until 2020.

However, Dimitrov adds: “With our longer-term growth plan for 2022, there are clearly more new destinations to come and we will announce those in due course. In the meantime, we are focusing on launching these new destinations and enhancing our feeder connectivity on both ends.”

According to figures from OAG Schedules Analyser, Air Italy operated more than 160,000 two-way seats between Italy and the US in 2018, compared with Meridiana’s 130,000 in 2017. Overall capacity on the Italy-US market rose by 17.3 percent to more than 4.8 million seats.

However, Air Italy’s expansion in the US has drawn criticism from an alliance of US-based carriers, including Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines. They allege that Qatar Airways is using Air Italy to add flights between the US and Europe, despite a voluntary agreement that it would not add additional US services.

Despite this, Dimitrov is adamant that it is not the case. “Air Italy is an Italy based and Italy registered independent airline,” he stressed. “As we have said on several occasions, Air Italy does not codeshare with Qatar Airways on any routes west of Milan and has no plans to do so.”

In November 2018, Air Italy entered into a codeshare agreement with LATAM Airlines Brazil. Air Italy’s IG code will be placed on LATAM flights between Milan Malpensa and São Paulo, while LATAM will put its LA code on Air Italy flights to seven destinations in Italy.

A codeshare was also agreed with Bulgaria Air in February 2019, with Air Italy’s IG code to be placed on Bulgaria Air flights between Milan Malpensa and Sofia, Varna and Burgas.

(Routes Online)

https://www.routesonline.com/news/29/breaking-news/283223/air-italy-one-year-on/?highlight=milan