“Vueling is the driving force of international traffic growth within Europe, which is our biggest market,” said Federico Scriboni, Aeroporti di Roma's Route Development Manager - Europe during his brief encounter with anna.aero's Jonathan Ford at the recent launch of China Southern Airlines’ Guangzhou-Wuhan-Rome Fiumicino route. From S16, the carrier will launch services from the Italian gateway to Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Fuerteventura, Geneva, Manchester and Tallinn, to name a few.
On 17 December, anna.aero’s Assistant Editor, Jonathan Ford, was invited by Aeroporti di Roma to attend the inaugural flight ceremony of China Southern Airlines’ Guangzhou-Wuhan-Rome Fiumicino route
. While at the post launch press conference being held at the Westin Excelsior Hotel in the centre of the Italian capital, Ford managed to catch up and have a few brief moments with Federico Scriboni, Route Development Manager – Europe, Aeroporti di Roma. Scriboni spoke to anna.aero about how Vueling has been a vital factor in being able to grow international traffic within Europe, and how the airline has also managed to improve Rome Fiumicino as a connection hub with its connectivity product.
anna.aero: “You have mentioned that Vueling has been a vital factor in regards to European growth from Rome Fiumicino, why is that?”
: “Vueling has been the driving force of the market in relation to international traffic growth, especially within Europe, which is our biggest market. They have implemented a very excellent strategy in developing Rome Fiumicino as its second European hub after Barcelona. They are growing traffic and destinations year-on-year, and by the end of S16 they will have some 60+ routes from Rome both international and domestic. But for Vueling it is more than just point-to-point, passengers can connect from one Vueling service to another, making them quite unique amongst other key European LCCs in having a hub and spoke system. With Vueling also being part of IAG it really grows our development as a hub airport as well. With them and Alitalia, we have both an IAG base and a SkyTeam hub.”
aa: “With regards to international traffic, apart from Europe, what are the other areas where traffic is showing signs of strong development.”
: “Well we are growing pretty much in all areas of long- and short-haul markets. North America and the US are growing very strongly, while today we are also seeing key developments in our Asian route network with the launch of China Southern Airlines’ Guangzhou-Wuhan-Rome Fiumicino route. From S16, Xiamen Airlines will also be increasing their recently launched Xi’an – Rome Fiumicino route from twice- to thrice-weekly. Overall we are expecting to attract an average growth over the next couple of years of around 4% per annum, with 2015 we are hoping to achieve 40 million passengers for the first time (since this interview, it has been confirmed that Rome Fiumicino passed the 40 million passenger figure on 28 December
aa: “After a successful 2015 for the airport with regards to route development, and now looking forward to the summer season, what are the key highlights that we should look out for from Rome Fiumicino?”
“Looking at S16 we are welcoming 16 new routes to the airport, with that we are also seeing unserved routes being introduced including the likes of Tallinn and Edinburgh with Vueling, while passengers will see increased options on other routes such as Manchester, Geneva and Zurich. We are also seeing Ryanair grow its operations from Fiumicino for the upcoming summer season with new services to Alicante, Malta and to Trapani in Sicily. It’s also worth noting that the Rome Fiumicino – Palermo route has overtaken the Rome – Milan city pair to become the number one domestic service within Italy, due in part to Vueling’s connectivity operation in Rome which has helped the route achieve this goal, as it gives customers in Sicily more options to connect to Europe via Rome. That is why we now see Vueling as a local carrier to Rome and indeed throughout Italy. They have also helped to replace some capacity being lost with the closure of easyJet’s base. Back to Ryanair, they are growing well from Fiumicino, as capacity at Rome Ciamipino is capped. However with their growth from Fiumicino they’re not cannibalising other carriers which we are used to expecting from them. They’re targeting low-price sensitive demand services. Ryanair is good for Fiumicino as they are looking to target new passengers, not just take away those from existing airline customer bases.”
aa: “In regards to national carrier Alitalia, how is their operation looking going forward and what is Rome Fiumicino’s relationship with them like?”
“We are very happy with how Alitalia has developed over the past few years, especially since it has engaged in a partnership with Etihad Airways, a partnership which is seeing them go from strength to strength. Their relationship with the airport is very good and its now at one of its strongest levels. Of course, Alitalia is still and will be for a long time, the number one airline from Rome Fiumicino in all sectors. We are starting to see them grow feeding traffic to Germany with the growing codeshare partnership with airberlin. If you look at it from this point of view, Alitalia is Rome Fiumicino’s oxygen, we need it to keep going.”
aa: “Going back to Vueling and Alitalia in their hub strategies, how has transit traffic developed over the past few years at Rome Fiumicino and how is it looking for the next few years?”
“If you look at Barcelona and see what Vueling is doing there, that’s what we are hoping to see at Rome Fiumicino as we grow as their second hub operation. Overall transit traffic is growing at a sustainable level and we at the airport are enhancing the terminal infrastructure to be able to cater for the growing transit traffic, as well as increasing O+D traffic. This investment makes us more attractive to airlines as our passenger product becomes more enhanced.”
aa: “While being in Rome, I have myself seen a couple of advertisements and promotional videos pushing the bid for the city to host the 2024 Olympics. Is the airport working with the committee in bringing the Olympics to Rome?”
“We are part of the 2024 committee and we are helping with the candidacy to bring the Olympics to Rome. Let’s see what happens first in regards to the bidding process, but the investments being made at the moment at the airport are helping towards to the bid. If the city is successful, there are ambitious investment plans being made and we will be part of that investment."
New routes for Rome Fiumicino in 2016
||Santiago de Chile (SCL)
|China Eastern Airlines
|Delta Air Lines
||Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP)
||Stockholm Arlanda (ARN)
||Kiev Zhulyany (IEV)
|Source: anna.aero’s New Route Database.
On 28 December, Rome Fiumicino Airport celebrated passing 40 million passengers during 2015. It is the first time that the facility has ever passed the significant milestone. The lucky passenger to receive the 40 millionth title was welcomed with a toast at the gate for the evening flight to Beijing, operated by Air China. On hand to present a certificate to the passenger was Marco Gobbi, Route Manager in Aeroporti di Roma’s Aviation Marketing Development team, and by representatives from the carrier. In terms of passenger traffic, Fiumicino has grown 5% when compared to 2014, and in 2015, 50 new services were inaugurated, including 12 long-haul routes and 20 new destinations.