Posted on: 19 August 2016 by Mark Howells
In response to a decision by Italy’s government to reverse its €2.50 municipal tax increase from 1 September 2016, Ryanair has said it will drastically accelerate growth plans in the country during 2017.
Ryanair’s plans were also spurred on by revised airport guidelines which will enable Italy’s regional airports to compete on a level playing field with airports in Rome and Milan, as long as they comply with EU rules.
These initiatives have allowed Pescara airport to reach a new growth agreement with Ryanair, which will reverse the previously announced closure of the airline’s Pescara base in November.
In 2017, Ryanair plans to allocate 10 new aircraft to the Italian market, an investment it estimates is worth over US$1 billion. The aircraft will help to enable 44 new routes to begin during 2017 – 21 at Rome & Milan airports and 23 at Italy’s regional airports – meaning 3 million new passengers per year (a 10% growth across the country).
Some of Ryanair’s new 2017 routes from Italy will include Pescara–Copenhagen, Pescara–Krakow, Rome–Lourdes, Rome–Nuremberg, Bologna–Lisbon, Bologna–Eindhoven, Bergamo–Edinburgh, Bergamo–Luxembourg and Bergamo–Vigo.
The carrier predicts that overall, 35 million customers will fly to and from Italian airports with Ryanair in 2017, which will see the airline create an additional 2,250 jobs at Italy’s airports.
Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO, stated, “We are extremely grateful to Prime Minister Renzi and Transport Minister Delrio for taking these initiatives to grow Italian tourism. All of this growth would have been lost to other EU countries if the Municipal Tax increase had not been reversed, and the airport guidelines had not been redrafted to comply with EU rules.”
O’Leary confirmed Ryanair is in negotiations with Alghero airport and hopes to conclude a similar agreement to its deal with Pescara once the airport concludes its current privatisation project in early September. O’Leary said its Alghero base could reopen as soon as late November.
“The Italian Government keeps on working on the compliance with the EU rules, we are committed to develop services to citizens and to foster opportunities for investors,” declared Italy’s Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Graziano Delrio. “We welcome the 2017 industrial plan of Ryanair setting up more flights, increasing opportunities for tourism in Italy and especially new job opportunities.”
Vito Riggio, president of the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC), remarked, “The development of air transport represents a primary objective for the economic growth in our country. The times we are living in require a European perspective rather than a national one, especially for air transport and its regulations, always respecting fair competitiveness and passengers’ rights. The development plans of Ryanair and any other air carrier operating in Italy always represent to ENAC a significant opportunity to grow and further efforts to guarantee safety and high standards of quality.”