Alitalia adds San Francisco, a major unserved market

Alitalia is to begin Rome Fiumicino to San Francisco, the second-largest unserved market between the USA and Western Europe. And it has been growing, with a CAGR of 5% since 2015.

Rome – San Francisco demand has grown steadily, recording a CAGR of 5% since 2015 and 10% YOY in 2019.

Served three-weekly, this new route will operate between the 1st June and 28th October using a three-class B777-200. It’ll be Alitalia’s seventh city in North America and it’ll be the airline’s fourth-longest route system-wide.

Leisure-focused, but little summer premium in fares

Half of Rome – San Francisco passengers are carried in the months Alitalia will operate. Yet the average fare across these months is about the same as the year-round fare: USD$470* one-way, averaged across all cabins, and excluding taxes and excluding fuel surcharges.

Its timings – a 0915 departure from Fiumicino and a 1215 arrival the next day – falls into key banks, with the following based on a proxy week in August 2019.

Alitalia’s new service will fall into its key arrival and departure banks at Rome – Fiumicino.

Despite the number of possible connections, 23 airports will be connected on a two-way basis.  Eighteen of these are domestic and most will require a little backtracking.

Almost all of the 23 two-way connections are in Italy, a key summer-time destination, with most requiring some backtracking. Delhi and Tel Aviv – good-sized markets from San Francisco – will connect with <two hours on the ground in both directions.

These 23 connecting markets saw 644,000 passengers from San Francisco. Removing non-stop passengers to Delhi, Tel Aviv, Barcelona and Milan from the Bay City, 465,000 passengers were carried. Delhi and Tel Aviv are interesting. Both are large markets from San Francisco, and both have sub-two-hour connections over Rome Fiumicino in both directions, with Tel Aviv especially well-placed over Fiumicino.


  1. Brian Kidd says:

    Actually, the central San Francisco Bay Area is already served from Rome, on Norwegian via OAK. OAK and SFO serve the same market.

    • James Pearson says:

      Hi Brian. 100% correct and this should have been pointed out in the article. However, the article was referring to the airport-pair, with SFO-FCO unserved. The numbers in the figure refer to this airport-pair rather than city-pair. On its own, SFO-FCO was a major unserved market.

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