Covid, “Italian airports need 800 million, low cost vital for the revival”

«Italian airports need 800 million, low cost vital for the relaunch»

“We are not opposed to the relaunch of Alitalia, but this cannot be done with protectionist measures that push away the low-cost players who have been involved in the increase in traffic in our country in recent years.” It is an ok conditioned that of the president of Assaeroporti Fabrizio Palenzona to the nationalization plans of the tricolor carrier. But the head of the association that brings together the national airports asks to be careful, especially at a time when the pandemic and the blockade to travel has almost eliminated the passengers in the domestic terminals (-45 million in the last three months) and forced the companies of management to lay off 10,000 people.

President, how much has the government allocated to support you in this unprecedented period?
«Not even a penny. We are talking about a sector that has lost 98% of its traffic and has been forced to keep some airports open to guarantee a minimum of public service ».

How high are the damages caused by the pandemic?
“This year we expect a drop of 1.6 billion euros in revenues and 120 million passengers (-63% on 2019, ed). “

Fabrizio Palenzona, president of Assaeroporti (photo Imagoeconomica)
Fabrizio Palenzona, president of Assaeroporti (photo Imagoeconomica)

For you, nothing, for now, for Alitalia, three billion euros have been foreseen for its re-launch with state traction.
“Let’s be clear: we are not against the idea of ​​a flag carrier, but we have seen what happened”.

What are you referring to?
«I remember the law on system requirements of fifteen years ago designed to triumph Alitalia which instead has shrunk and today carries 13% of the national total. And in the meantime, travelers have grown considerably thanks to low cost ».

Do you fear for the fate of low cost airlines?
“Selective measures must be avoided to benefit Alitalia because they discourage these carriers and risk turning us back to elite air transport.”

Low cost which, however, have received hundreds of millions of euros in incentives from the airports and not always transparently …
“I don’t deny it, but in this case transparency clashes with competition between companies.”

There are those who claim that there are too many operating airports in Italy.
«Nobody says they are all indispensable. But we have disadvantaged islands and territories where stopovers are vital for mobility “.

What can be done immediately?
“The municipal surcharge of 6.5 euros per departing passenger must be removed, for everyone and especially for the smaller airports.”

And how much would you need to not succumb?
«800 million euros».

Money to do what?
“It is necessary that a fund dedicated to managers be established to support them, not only in this critical phase, but also during the recovery of traffic that we expect to take place in the second half of 2021. At the same time, we should also address the investment issue”.

What do you mean?
“Investments must be guaranteed without burdening the tariffs and therefore, as Europe suggests, acting on the third element of the concession: time. I would add: the time has come for a great intermodal mobility plan that connects all forms of transport in an intelligent way and that facilitates access to our airports, especially by rail “.

At the airports, international guidelines provide for the spacing of one meter as an anti-Covid measure.
«The distancing at the airports, with great effort of the managers, is now guaranteed. On board aircraft is an objective problem and must be eliminated. The distancing can be overcome with three elements: use of masks, sanitation and a passenger screening system ».