Marco Messalla/ROME

Two new Italian airlines are planning to start operations early next year, reflecting the continuing liberalisation of the country's internal market.

Gandalf Airlines is considering purchasing either the Fairchild Dornier 328JET or Embraer ERJ-145 and will announce its decision on an initial purchase of two aircraft in October.

The carrier will be based at Bergamo Airport, taking traffic from the Lombardy area to European destinations when international traffic is transferred from Milan Linate to Malpensa 2000 on 25 October.

The second carrier, Italy First, plans to order up to four undefined aircraft for charter and scheduled operations from Rimini and will operate to holiday destinations in the Mediterranean, USA, Caribbean and CIS countries, with the latter accounting today for almost 90%of traffic at the airport. The airline wants to develop Rimini as a mini hub for eastern European flights with connections to other Italian destinations. The carrier plans to buy a 20% stake in local airport operator Aeradria.

The Italian transport ministry has awarded extra rights for non-European Union operations to several local carriers, including Lauda Air Italy (Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic and Kuala Lumpur), Eurofly (Maldives and Colombo), Alitalia Team (Seychelles) and Air Europe (Kingston, Jamaica, Mauritius).

The move follows an extended battle by Italian private operators to obtain rights on routes which are either operated by Alitalia as charter services or which are not operated by anybody. Eurofly has already leased a pair of Boeing 767-300ERs for delivery in December to operate the new services.

Source: Flight International