Alitalia sees Air One driving new routes in 2012

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Chief executive of Italian airline group Alitalia, Rocco Sabelli, has outlined hopes to open around 20 more routes this year largely through its Air One operation.

In a letter to employees about the coming year, Sabelli said the airline still hoped to grow this year despite the difficult economic conditions. He outlined hopes to add 22 new routes during the year, 18 of which are earmarked for Air One. This includes Air One's recently announced plan to open 11 European routes from a new base in Venice this May.

The airline, which Alitalia positions as a smart carrier, already operates short-haul flights out of Milan Malpensa and Pisa.

Sabelli also envisages Alitalia opening four new intercontinental or international routes during 2012. Development of intercontinental and international routes formed part of the company's 2012-15 business plan approved last year, along with the strengthening of its Rome Fiumicino base and the expansion of Air One.