EasyJet joins Ryanair in boosting Roman capacity

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EasyJet is following Ryanair's lead by adding capacity at Rome Fiumicino airport, where the Irish budget carrier recently decided to establish a new base.

In the spring of 2014, EasyJet is to launch new services from the Italian capital to Menorca, Nantes, Prague and Rhodes, and increase frequencies on other routes, including to Athens and London Gatwick. Overall, the UK low-cost carrier is adding a third to its Fiumicino capacity.

It already carries three million passengers per annum at the airport. Last year, it carried a total of 13.5 million passengers to, from or within Italy.

The Mediterranean nation has emerged as a priority market for EasyJet, which is to open its third Italian base, at Naples, in March 2014. It is also strongly growing its Catania operations.

EasyJet has six aircraft stationed at Fiumicino, as will Ryanair when it opens its new base there later this month. The Irish carrier will challenge Alitalia on three domestic routes, and offer business flights to Barcelona and Brussels.

Alitalia has yet to confirm whether it has hit its €300 million ($413 million) capital-increase target, for which it set a deadline of 10 December.