Italy: Alitalia still dominant on domestic routes; 3rd behind Ryanair/easyJet on intl/EU

After dropping many routes Ryanair and easyJet are now bigger than New Alitalia on international/EU services while Lufthansa Italia will soon knock Alitalia from the third spot.

Alitalia recently revealed some figures for the first half of 2009. The revamped airline which consists of a merger of the old Alitalia and Air One, has been busy pruning its network and seeking synergies between the two carriers. However, in the first quarter of 2009 load factors averaged just 51% (compare that with Air France at 74.5%, British Airways at 72.7%, Iberia at 76.5% and Lufthansa at 74.4%) rising to 65% in the second quarter of 2009. Clearly there is a huge amount of work to be done if the airline is to emerge as a viable, profitable entity.

Alitalia capacity: three times bigger domestic competitors

The good news for Alitalia is that it remains the dominant domestic airline with almost 50% of all flights and seats and offering three times more capacity (seats) than its nearest rival Meridiana.

Chart: Top 10 domestic airlines in Italy (Market share of flights and seats)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 3 August 2009

The only other airlines with more than five per cent of the domestic market are the low-cost trio of Ryanair, Wind Jet and easyJet. The remainder of the top 10 consist of smaller Italian airlines and Lufthansa which serves Bari, Naples and Rome from its recently established Milan Malpensa base under the Lufthansa Italia brand.

Image: Lufthansa Italia
Alitalia doesn’t fly to Portugal (and quite a lot of other big EU cities).

Lufthansa almost bigger than Alitalia on intl/EU routes

As previously analysed in the ‘New Alitalia’ has dropped a significant number of international services including flights to several EU capitals. Examining competition on international routes from Italy to EU member states (plus a few geographically similar markets) reveals that Alitalia is only just among the top three airlines.

Chart: Top 10 international airlines in Italy (Market share on EU* routes)
* EU27 plus Albania, Croatia, Morocco, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 3 August 2009

Indeed on these services Ryanair is now dominant with twice as much capacity (seats) as any other carrier. easyJet is also now bigger than Alitalia in terms of seats if not flights, while Lufthansa, thanks to its new Lufthansa Italia operation is actually the second biggest carrier by flights but fourth in terms of seats. Two other LCCs, Vueling and Wizz Air, also make the top 10 list of carriers in this market.

Alitalia currently has no scheduled services to any destinations in Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal or Sweden making it hard for the airline to promote itself as the ‘flag-carrier’ of Italy.

Image: Pope in airplane cabin
In first quarter 2009 Alitalia’s load factors averaged just 51% compared to 74.5% for Air France 72.7% at British Airways, 76.5% for Iberia and 74.4% for Lufthansa.

Almost 50% of all scheduled capacity to EU destinations is provided by LCCs with easyJet and Ryanair alone accounting for 32%. The remaining 18% is split between another 20 European LCCs.

Germany and UK vie for leading international market status

Among international country markets Germany and the UK are the leading country markets with almost identical scheduled seat capacity on routes this August. However, the German market has more flights and a greater range of services.

Country Weekly departing flights Weekly departing seats Number of services
Germany 1,165 150,772 165
United Kingdom 928 150,133 129
Spain 851 135,760 109
France 728 97,235 71
Belgium 236 34,618 29
Netherlands 247 33,371 26
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 3 August 2009

In the first six months of 2009 passenger traffic to and from the UK was down 10.6% while overall traffic at Italian airports was down 7.5% to 60.1 million in the first half. Domestic traffic suffered slightly more, being down 7.8%, while international traffic fell 7.3%.

The country’s two biggest airports at Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa were down 6.8% and 16.3% respectively. Major airports that have seen traffic grow include Alghero (+1.3%), Bari (+6.4%), Bergamo (+4.8%), Bologna (+4.9%), Brindisi (+3.6%), Cagliari (+6.8%) and Lamezia Terme (+4.7%).


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