After Ryanair has announced seven new international as well as four new domestic flight routes from Bologna last month, it is now Emirates and Etihad’s turn to grab choice pieces from Alitalia’s inheritance. While the CAI Compagnia Aerea Italiana, (the Italian Air Company created by the investors), the İtalian government, Alitala’s major unions and other interested parties were fighting for the best positions on the new airline, other airlines are picking the choice slots of the bankrupt Alitalia after this left the country without many options..

Dubai’s government-owned Emirates wants to sharply increase its flight slots at Italian airports and make it the airline’s European port of entry. Alitalia, is expected to drop slots as part of the takeover, though no decision has been made yet on how many or which ones will be shed.

Alitalia’s bankruptcy commissioner has said the bankrupt carrier’s slots are worth a total of 550 million euros, or about 4.2 million euros each. Industry Undersecretary Adolfo Urso said, “Those plans were in line with efforts to relaunch Italy’s national carrier Alitalia.”

It was unclear whether any “port of entry” deal envisaged granting Emirates and Etihad onward flights inside Europe.

İtalians hoping the move could boost tourism to Italy from Asian and Gulf countries.

Emirates, at present which has less than 10 Italian slots a week, has asked for slots 21 weekly flights each to Rome and Milan and 14 for Venice. It also plans 28 weekly cargo flights.

Abu Dhabi’s state-owned Etihad Airways has also sought seven flights each for Rome and Milan.

Emirates reported earlier this month that its net profit for the first half of the financial year had plummeted 88 percent to 77 million dollars (60 million euros) because of high oil prices. While worldwide financial crisis causing these carriers loosing passengers, they need to search new destinations to fill all these ever increasing seats in their new planes.

İn another news of the region, British Airways has announced that it will resume flights from Riyadh and Jeddah to London Heathrow from March 29, 2009. The airline will fly five times each week from both Riyadh and Jeddah to Heathrow Terminal 5. Flights to Riyadh will operate on a Boeing 777 and Jeddah flights will be on a Boeing 767. BA had suspended services to Riyadh and Jeddah in March 2005 due to poor commercial performance.