Posted on: 07 November 2011 by Ross McSweeny
Air Vallée is to base 3 Embraer E-Jets – one E-170 and two E-190s – at Parma Giuseppe Verdi Airport, with the first arriving in spring 2012.
The airline will begin a scheduled service with the E-170 to Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport from 31 March 2012, but due to demand for this destination, Air Vallée will provide a short interim seasonal service from 21 December 2011-8 January 2012 using an Embraer ERJ 145 with 50 seats.
Michele Costantino, president of Air Vallée, commented, “Air Vallée is delighted to announce this strategic decision to base new aircraft at Parma Airport as part of its expansion plans. This is not a decision which was taken lightly and the investment in the new aircraft and the base at Parma will be significant and valued in excess of $90 million. The central and well connected location of Parma Airport were critical factors in the decision.”
Paul Whelan, recently appointed chief executive officer of Sogeap, which manages Parma Airport remarked, “Air Vallée as a based carrier will be able to operate multiple destinations from Parma Airport. We are working together in partnership to explore the most viable new destinations. We welcome the decision to launch the based activity with the announcement of Paris Charles de Gaulle, a critical route for the catchment area in Italy and Europe considering the strong links with France and Paris.
“Our branding will change to emphasise that Parma Milan Airport is recognised as part of the Milan system by IATA,” Whelan added. “The airport has the third largest catchment in Italy with 8.9 million people living within a 75 minute drive.”
Whelan also explained that Parma is important as Milan Linate is having to reduce capacity as part of the Malpensa airport funding agreement with the European Union. “With fewer flights from Linate, new services at Parma will help business travellers. A route such as Stockholm–Parma would be able to give business travellers from Sweden a full day in Milan, when a later flight might not otherwise be available,” Whelan explained
Being southeast of Milan, developments at Parma will complement those at Malpensa which is northwest of the city. “There is a mainline railway station very close to the airport and passengers can be in downtown Milan in around half an hour from there,” noted Whelan
Guido dalla Rosa Prati, president of Sogeap added, “On behalf of Sogeap we are delighted to welcome Air Vallée to Parma Airport. Parma Airport has needed a strong multi alliance regional airline able to operate key strategic destinations from Parma for a long time, taking advantage of the densely populated and higher than average economic indicators in the catchment area than in Italy and Europe, high volume of enterprises as well as some of Italy’s most important head offices such as in the food and technology arena. We would like to encourage business and leisure travellers in the catchment area to support the new Paris Charles de Gaulle route stimulating the opening of additional new routes.”
The E-Jets for Air Vallée will be pre-owned aircraft approximately two years old. The company, which is in the phase of studying the optimal route network, plans to announce further routes shortly. The E-170 will have 76 seats and the E-190 will have 98 seats.
Photo shows, from left: Paul Whelan, Parma Airport CEO; Guido Dalla Rosa Prati, Parma Airport chairman; Michele Costantino, president, Air Vallée Holding Company; and Massimo Marguatti CEO Air Vallée .
Editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net