Ryanair could also be included in the Alitalia passenger re-routing plan when the Italian airline gives way to Italia Transport Aereo. But everything will depend on the times and methods which, for now, have not been disclosed. what he explains to Corriere della Sera Eddie Wilson, CEO of Europe’s largest low cost airline – and the first carrier in Italy by traffic – during a recent interview. Wilson makes no secret of his skepticism about this operation, which in any case will have to be approved by the European Commission.
The government plan
At the end of June, the Italian government allocated 100 million euros to compensate passengers who bought a ticket for flights sold by Alitalia and expected when the airline will no longer be there to make room for the public newco Italia Trasporti Aereo. The fund was necessary because the EU Antitrust asks for the greatest possible degree of discontinuity between the old company and the new one. This also includes tickets sold by Alitalia which cannot be inherited by ITA. Net of the reimbursement, it is not yet known how the rerouting of passengers to other airlines will take place and with what requirements.
The hypothesis auction on tickets
One of the hypotheses is that of the international auction on tickets with the participation of the airlines concerned. Auction which, on the recommendation of the European Commission, could be prohibited by Italia Transport by Air – according to what the Courier service from political sources – as a sign of further discontinuity. This of the re-routing certainly of a question that we will consider, which we will study, replies the Ryanair CEO. But a lot will depend on the timing, he warns. If they are restricted for us it becomes complicated: we do not have free planes, our fleet is flying all the way.
The newco ITA
But the transition from Alitalia to ITA does not convince Wilson. all a way of saying that they are two different companies when in reality we know that there will be the same people, the same planes and the same brand, believe me also the same brand because despite the public tender that will pass to Italia Trasporti Aereo, underlines the CEO of Ryanair. This change from the old company to the new company is the three-card game: the new Alitalia will be smaller, with fewer direct connections with the US, with Asia. The money that will be given to them will not be returned regardless of the business plan.
The market in Europe
Italy Air Transport, continues Wilson, has to compete with reality: this is the new standard in Europe, there is no longer the distinction between low cost and traditional. People are interested in flying on time, safely, on new planes and at the lowest fares. They are not interested in the business model. If competitors have lower operating costs than you, then you are a goner in this industry. And it takes money to renew the fleet as you go, because if it doesn’t happen, the cost gap between you and the others increases.
The focus on the intercontinental
The new Italian company, if anything, must look outside Europe according to Wilson. I am amazed at the lack of direct intercontinental flights to Italy – he reasons -. If we can bring all Europeans here to you by direct flights, why can’t Alitalia-Ita do it intercontinentally where they have no competition? He asks. Instead what they do is content to rely on the French and Germans to bring people through those hubs: not sensible even from an environmental point of view. Why are there no direct flights all year round between Sicily and New York, for example? In Ireland, a small pre-Covid country, there were up to 14 departures a day to the US every day, let alone here. Why do Italians agree to fly through Paris, Munich, Frankfurt, Amsterdam?