Italy's Air Bee suspends flights for up to three weeks

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Italian start-up carrier Air Bee has suspended flights from today for up to three weeks as it seeks to re-organise its operations.

A statement on the Air Bee website says the board has taken the decision to suspend flights for a maximum of three weeks and will comply with legislation protecting the rights of passengers who have already booked.

The Brescia-based airline cites the difficulty of being a company in the start-up phase of its business - it launched flights in February - while there is uncertainty in the Italian air sector amid the continued efforts to privatise ailing flag carrier Alitalia. Italy's aviation regulator ENAC says the carrier has informed it the decision has been taken to re-organise its network.

ENAC has been closely monitoring Air Bee following service disruptions over the summer and a week ago called the carrier in to discuss continued difficulties. ENAC has previously identified a lack of contingency aircraft at the carrier to operate its schedule.

ENAC will meet Air Bee officials today to verify passenger rights are being respected and for the carrier submit proposals on re-organising its network.

Since starting operations in February using Boeing MD-82s operated by ItAli Airlines, the airline has grown and has been operating flights Brescia to Rome Fiumicino, Naples, Olbia and Crotone, and from Trapani in Sicily to Milan Linate, Brescia, Rome and Bari.