EasyJet secures rights for key Italian business route

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EasyJet has secured the highly desirable rights to begin flights on the key Italian business route linking Milan's downtown Linate with Rome Fuimicino this winter.

The ruling from the Italian competition authorities brings to an end the Alitalia monopoly on the service that has existed since its merger with Air One - which formerly provided competition on the route.

The regulator conditionally allowed the combined Alitalia to operate a monopoly on the route following the merger in late 2009, but now EasyJet has been selected out of five bidding carriers to begin a competitive service from this winter. Alitalia is now required to give up seven slots to allow EasyJet to launch its service.

EasyJet already has a base at Milan Malpensa, but currently only serves London Gatwick and Paris Orly from the downtown Linate airport. The key business link between Linate and Fiumicino was the second busiest domestic Italian passenger route in 2011.

The decision marks a second route boost for EasyJet in rapid succession, after it secured rights to begin London flights to Moscow.