ITALY (eTN) – Under the crisis of all time in aviation, Italy’s declining passenger growth over the past 10 years, proves the need to set provisions on tourism competition, with clear and equal rules for all, fair airport charges, and less vexatious taxation.
This is the appeal launched by Lupo Rattazzi, President of Assaereo, at the end of the conference, “The air transport market in Italy – which outlook?” promoted by the association, which brings together 11 national airlines, including Alitalia, with a turnover of 5.5 billion. “Passengers,” said Rattazzi, “must no longer be the ATM of the government, nor [can the] airlines withstand the increasing weight of additional tax, such as those linked to [the capital of] Rome and labor reform, which do not adhere to the industry and [are] not used to finance … development.”
A consumer product
Andrea Ragnetti, AD of Alitalia, said: “We have created a plan to re-launch the company (Alitalia), based on better communication and a strategy to deal with the low cost. However, to win the challenge we need to think [of] air transport as a consumer product, and then implement opportunities for sale to the consumer.” Hence the intention of Alitalia “to make significant investments in advertising and develop a multi-channel, launching a few clear air fares as we did for the Rome-Milan [route], that today counts only on the choice of five tariff[s].”
Franco Pecci, President of Blue Panorama, said: “We operate in a country with strong imbalances in the sector of air transport – excessive costs, banks that reduce access to credit for investment, and evident discrimination with some competitors. There is a need to start from tax regulation and social security to apply to all.”
Clear strategies must be accompanied by rules as clear and valid for all players. Laura Pierallini, counsel for Assaereo, said: “It is inconceivable that a foreign carrier like Ryanair operates in our country without paying taxes, legal and social security.”
And the recall on low cost is not accidental. “In just four years, from 2008 to today,” reminded Oliviero Baccelli, Deputy Director of Bocconi (University) Certet and transport expert, “domestic traffic of the main national airline, Alitalia, has fallen from 59% of market share, to 48%, losing 11 points, while Ryanair has increased from 7% to 20%, under the conditions that everyone knows, and even EasyJet has grown from 7 to 11%.”
The cry of alarm by ENAC
Finally, the cry of alarm of ENAC (the Italian Civil Aviation Authority) launched by ENAC President Vito Riggio and the ENAC Director General Alessio Quaranta, reminds that the program to restart investment in the domestic airports must be approved within this year. “Above all,” stated Mr. Quaranta, “We need more inspectors. Otherwise, as early as 2013, ENAC could force some of the aircraft on the ground [out of the air] because of the inability to do inspections,” a scenario to be avoided.