Air Berlin’s recent decision to transfer its Milan services from Milan Bergamo (Orio Al Serio International airport) to Milan Malpensa from the middle of June is a rare snub for the Italian airport which has seen traffic grow from half a million passengers in 1997 to nearly six million just 10 years later. This impressive growth can be attributed almost exclusively to low-cost carriers, in particular Ryanair which set up a base there in early 2003 having first started flying to the airport from its Frankfurt Hahn base in February 2002.
Despite it being a major base for Ryanair this has not put off other LCCs operating to the airport. A total of 12 LCCs currently operate scheduled services to Bergamo as well as a couple of ‘legacy’ carriers.
Traffic in the first four months of 2008 continues to show impressive double-digit growth. Demand peaks in August as in-bound holiday makers head for the Italian lakes for which Bergamo is the most convenient airport.
|Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary shows off the airline’s goal of carrying 50 million passengers on Italian routes.|
Ryanair: 39 routes and still expanding
Since launching its base in 2003, Ryanair has rapidly expanded its network to 39 routes with Trapani making it 40 in July. What is particularly impressive is that very few routes appear to have failed for the airline, with only Newcastle and Wroclaw services having been axed. Twenty of the routes are served at least daily with the remainder served three or four times weekly. London Stansted is served four times daily, while Girona and Rome Ciampino are served thrice daily.
Since the beginning of the year Ryanair has added new routes to Alghero, Arad, Billund, Gothenburg, Manchester, Riga and Santander. All of these routes are served either three or four times weekly.
|Airline||Frequency share||Capacity share||Number of routes|
|Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 19 May 2008|
Italian LCC MyAir serves 15 destinations of which eight are domestic routes (Bari, Brindisi, Cagliari, Catania, Naples, Olbia, Palermo and Reggio Calabria). Its international routes are to Bordeaux, Bucharest, Casablanca, Istanbul, Madrid, Paris Orly and Sofia.
|Italian LCC MyAir serves 15 destinations from Milan Bergamo, of which eight are domestic routes.|
Other airlines operating to Bergamo include Alitalia (twice daily to Rome Fiumicino), Windjet (daily to Catania), Brussels Airlines (daily to Brussels), TUIfly.com (to Hannover), Jet2.com (to Leeds/Bradford), Blue Air (to Bucharest), Belle Air (to Tirana), Carpatair (to Timisoara) and bmibaby (to Birmingham). easyJet of course has a major base at Milan Malpensa where it is now the biggest carrier.
Passengers wishing to travel to Bucharest have an unlikely choice of three airlines – Blue Air, MyAir and Wizz Air. Check this week’s Milan – Bucharest farewatch to see who offers the most competitive fares.