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Alitalia airline roadshow begins "Tour of Italy"

Mario Masciullo, eTN Italy Correspondent  Apr 08, 2016

It started in Naples - the trade roadshow 2016 Alitalia. A real "Tour of Italy" with 14 stages over 43 days during which Nicholas Bonacchi, Vice President of Italy Sales for the company, together with the team dedicated to trade relations with the Italian market, illustrated product news and services dedicated to the world of travel agencies and customers of large-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises.

The main theme of the meetings is the Alitalia network and, in particular, its growth. The airline’s long-haul flights this year increased by 7% thanks to the launch of new routes to Santiago de Chile (May 1), Mexico City (June 16), and the transfer of connections to Los Angeles and Chicago. To meet the requirements of passengers, flights also increased to Iran, France, the Czech Republic, and Lebanon.

On the domestic market, the flights offered grew, thanks to a new Bologna-Catania link (from May 1) to new flights between the cities of Emilia and Calabria (in August) and the strengthening of links between the north and south of the country.

Along with the SkyTeam alliance and Etihad Airways’ partner companies, Alitalia offers links to more than 1,000 destinations around the globe. Bonacchi illustrated the supply chain partners of all the investments made on the renovation of the stands and onboard services. A showcase was dedicated to the trade with which Alitalia showed the specificity of the three long-haul classes of service – Business, Premium Economy, and Economy. The gastronomic offerings onboard flights have also enabled the company to receive for six years in a row the "Best Award Airline Cuisine" by the prestigious American magazine, Global Traveler.

Alitalia is making major investments also on the improvement of ground services: new lounges in Italy and in the world by 2016; a chauffeur service with luxury cars for Business Class passengers flying to New York, Abu Dhabi, and beyond; and the Transit team in Rome Fiumicino that assists and accompanies passengers on fast transits. These are just some of the news that Bonacchi illustrated to tourism stakeholders during the initial meetings.

Trading partners will also have the opportunity to manifest the main demands of the market and identify common opportunities to exploit.

The 14 cities affected by the trade roadshow 2016 Alitalia, after Naples, will be Venice, Bologna, Milan, Catania, Rome, Palermo, Lecce, Bari, Cagliari, Genoa, Turin, Florence, and Verona.

Italian politicians are speaking out.

"The first year, by Etihad management of Alitalia, was a fiasco, said Michele Anzaldi, Deputy of the Democratic Party and member of the Transport Commission in the House, mincing no words. "The traffic data 2015 released by ENAC explains - show a withdrawal of the company on all its markets, both on the domestic routes and on international ones, to competitors.

“Last year, in fact, AZ carried 1.7% less passengers while the market grew by 4.5%. On domestic flights, Alitalia registered a minus 3.7% passengers, compared with an average increase of 1.5% of the market. On international links, it made much worse, with a tight plus 0.87, compared with plus average 6.3% recorded in most of the market.

“The comparison with its direct competitors, Ryanair and Easy Jet, is merciless: in Italy, only in 2015, the Irish airline carried a total of 13.8% more passengers, and the British company 7.5% higher. Alitalia has reduced the capacity offered and has divested a number of short- and medium-range A320.

“In the meantime, the new aircraft promised by Etihad remained a promise. With such traffic information, how can the Alitalia management maintain the promise to bring to profit the company in 2017? I will put up the question to the President of the Transport Commission Meta to consider the convening of a hearing that serves to identify a useful strategy to reverse course."

Ryanair confirms itself as queen of the Italian skies.

According to ENAC traffic data at Italian airports, the Irish carrier was the top airline in Italy in 2015 for traffic volume, with nearly 30 million passengers: to be precise, between domestic and international flights were 29,707,000. Alitalia ranks second with 22,987,000 passengers after Ryanair, which has maintained its leadership also on the domestic connections. The third low-cost air carrier is the British EasyJet, with 14,363,000 passengers.

In the ranking of the companies, this is followed at a distance by the Spanish Vueling with 5,304,000 passengers, Lufthansa (4,336,000), Hungary's Wizz Air (3,168,000), British Airways (3,036,000), Meridiana Fly (2,804,000), Air France (2,790,000) and German Air Berlin (1,750,000). In all, the passengers in transit in Italian ports last year were 156,965,253, an increase of 4.5% compared to 2014.

Alitalia airline roadshow begins "Tour of Italy"

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