While the CAI investors, İtalian government, Alitala’s major unions and others might or might not join the party jostled for best position on the new airline, the low-cost carrier Ryanair started to fill in for the demised airline.

Ryanair has announced seven new international as well as four new domestic flight routes from Bologna. These flights will operate from March 2009 and have went on sale last week on the carrier’s website.

Ryanair’s 11 new routes will bring an additional 800,000 passengers to Bologna each year, with Ryanair on target to carry over 2 million Ryanair passengers through Bologna to/from 25 destinations by 2012. This growth will sustain 2,000 local jobs and save passengers over €200 million annually, compared to the high fares and fuel surcharges presently levied by Alitalia.

Speaking about the announcement was Ryanair’s Giovanna Gentile. She said,

“Italy is now Ryanair’s second largest market after the UK. At a time when Alitalia and Air One are merging, increasing fares and raising unjustified fuel surcharges, the conditions for more Ryanair low fare growth in Italy have never been better. “

Ryanair is already the number one international airline in Italy, carrying more international passengers to/from Italy than Alitalia.

Gentile added:
“We are delighted to bring more routes, choice and passengers to Bologna. Ryanair’s growth in Italy is all the more important now that Alitalia and Air One are merging to form a higher fare, fuel surcharging, domestic monopoly. Thanks to these new routes, many more Italian consumers and international passengers to Bologna have a real choice between Alitalia’s high fare, fuel surcharging flights or Ryanair’s lowest fare, no fuel surcharge flights.”

To celebrate, Ryanair has launched a seven-day sale on these new routes for travel for March, April and May.