One of the Europe’s biggest low-cost airlines, Ryanair is set to offer flights to Italy in and out of Milan’s Malpensa Airport. Currently, Ryanair flies in and out of Fiumicino in Rome, and there’s no word on whether the budget giant would continue to operate there as well. Italy’s national airline, Alitalia, has pulled the majority of its operations out of Malpensa in order to concentrate on Rome (and on trying to stop losing money hand over fist), and Ryanair sees the Alitalia pullout as the perfect opportunity.
In what it called the “Manifesto for Malpensa,” Ryanair said that Milan’s airport “has never achieved its full potential because it has always bet on the wrong horse: Alitalia.” Ryanair’s bid to establish operations in Milan was delivered a couple weeks ago, and the airline is apparently ready to spend over $1 billion between now and 2012 to:
- Begin offering flights to/from Milan Malpensa Airport starting in 2008;
- Greatly expand its current services from nearby Bergamo Orio al Serio airport;
- Base 24 aircraft at Malpensa by 2012;
- Offer 50 international routes and 10 domestic routes from Milan; and
- Guarantee the lowest fares of any airline flying from any Milan airport.
A Ryanair spokesman said that Lombardy and Ireland, Ryanair’s home base, are similar “because we both have so many small and medium-sized enterprises which need cheap travel.” The airline is counting on the organization which oversees the Milan-area airports to make some concessions as part of the deal, so it remains to be seen exactly how much or how little will happen. One of the keys, according to Ryanair, is that the Milan airports would need to reduce their costs in order to allow them to offer their traditionally super-cheap fares.