Yes, this is a post about Italy, but believe it or not, Alitalia isn’t the main focus. It’s the bungling Italian government that has caught my eye once again for their plans to help Alitalia and kick low cost carriers to the far corners of the Rome metro area. If your flag carrier can’t win through competition, might as well play dirty and help them out, right? Sheesh.
I don’t speak Italian, so my understanding of the situation relies on Google Translate and a Ryanair press release. Here’s what seems to be happening.
Noise has been a sensitive issue for those living around Ciampino airport, a mere 10 miles from central Rome. The airport had been growing with Ryanair and EasyJet having substantial operations along with smaller operations from Wizz and, apparently, an airline called Romavia (which still flies a 707?!). Alitalia and pretty much everyone else fly from Leonardo da Vinci Airport at Fiumicino, about 25 miles from the city center.
The region’s government decided to turn Viterbo, an old military base about 60 miles north of the city into the third airport for the area. Just to get an idea for how far out this place is, take a look at this map:
If they want a third airport, that’s there own business, but now all the noise complaints caused them to run a study. According to Ryanair, the results prove that there isn’t a huge noise issue, but the region’s government is still looking to shrink or shut the airport anyway. It wouldn’t surprise me.
Raise your hand if you know who would get the biggest benefit by having Ryanair and EasyJet move to the far away Viterbo airport. That’s right, it’s our good friends at Alitalia.
If anyone knows more about this story AND speaks English, hit the comments. By the way, if you just want to complain about the noise around the airport, don’t bother. That airport is one of the oldest in the world – it’s been there since 1916 – so you knew what was there when you moved in.