Ryanair plots major growth in Italy
Ryanair has set out ambitious plans to dramatically expand operations from Italy. The no-frills carrier has set out a "manifesto" outlining plans to invest $1 billion in 80 new routes from Milan's Malpensa airport and from Bergamo.
The move represents a huge low fares challenge to Alitalia as Ryanair claimed it would guarantee the lowest fares of any airline flying from any Milan airport to any of the destinations served.
The airline aims to base 12 aircraft in Milan and open 50 international routes from Malpensa in a $840 million investment. There would be a gradual build up from five aircraft in 2008, a further four in 2009 and three in 2010.
Ryanair also plans to run ten Italian domestic routes connecting Milan with the islands, centre and south of the country.
The carrier aims to invest $420 million in Bergamo to double its size from the airport with six additional aircraft before 2012. The Irish airline's communications director Peter Sherrard said: "For too long Alitalia's high fares have limited growth in Malpensa and the Milan area." Ryanair is meeting Italian airports operator SEA today to discuss its plans.