Italy’s second busiest airport, Milan Malpensa, has been going through an interesting period in its development. The completion of a major new terminal in 1998 encouraged Alitalia to create a second hub at the airport to complement its existing Rome operations. Passenger numbers grew rapidly from 3.5 million in 1997 to 20 million just three years later with around half of that growth coming from the reallocation of flights from Milan Linate. However, as Alitalia’s fortunes declined, easyJet arrived and established a major base at the airport in March 2006, helping to boost passenger numbers to almost 24 million in 2007. Alitalia then decided to basically close its Malpensa hub in 2008 after which Lufthansa created Lufthansa Italia, which started operations in early 2009 and closed at the end of the summer 2011 season.
As a result of Lufthansa Italia’s closure, passenger numbers are down 3.6% in the first seven months of 2012.
Alitalia using Air One to grow presence once again
Since then, Alitalia has used its Air One subsidiary to grow at the airport and during the last week, new services have been launched to Belgrade and Kiev. This follows the introduction at the start of the summer season of double daily flights to London Gatwick and Munich, followed by daily flights to Warsaw in June. Alitalia’s own network at the airport currently comprises just one domestic route (five daily flights to Rome), plus medium-haul flights to Cairo and Moscow, as well as long-haul flights to Miami, New York and Tokyo.
Despite Air One’s growth, easyJet remains three times larger in terms of weekly seats, operating this September to some 35 destinations across Europe (in August this was 45 due to a number of very seasonal routes primarily to Greece), followed by Air One and then Lufthansa, which offers multiple daily flights to Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich, but has just this week transferred its Stuttgart flights to its low-cost subsidiary germanwings.
Almost 80 airlines provide scheduled services at Malpensa this summer. Apart from European carriers, all of the MEB3 carriers are present with Emirates now operating three daily flights to Dubai, Etihad serving Abu Dhabi daily, and Qatar Airways serving Doha twice daily. US carriers are represented by American Airlines (to New York), Delta (serving Atlanta and New York) and United (to Newark), while Air China (to both Beijing and Shanghai), Cathay Pacific, Jet Airways, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Sri Lankan and Thai Airways offer non-stop flights to Asia. Egyptair and Ethiopian serve Africa, TAM operates flights to Brazil, while El Al, Iran Air, Middle East Airlines, Oman Air, Royal Jordanian and Saudia also offer connections to the Middle East.
UAE is 6th biggest country market
Analysis of schedule data by destination reveals that while domestic routes still rank first, followed by Europe’s four other big country markets (Spain, Germany, UK and France), the next biggest country market is the United Arab Emirates, thanks to Emirates and Etihad. The US ranks just two places further back in eighth.
Over 20 new services launched in the last 12 months
During the last 12 months, several airlines have launched new services to and from the airport. In addition to Air One’s network expansion, there have also been new services launched by Air Europa (to Madrid), Air France (to Marseille), easyJet (to Alghero, Kefalonia, Kos, Zakynthos), germanwings (to Stuttgart), Monarch (to Birmingham, London Gatwick and Manchester), Norwegian (to Copenhagen), SAS (to Stockholm Arlanda), Transaero (to Moscow Vnukovo and St. Petersburg) and Wizz Air (to Bucharest Otopeni and Budapest).