A new plan may have solved the long-running saga over the transfer of flights from Milan's Linate Airport to the new hub at Malpensa. The so-called Plan B is to be implemented on 20 April, even though the airlines involved are still far from happy.

The Rome-Milan shuttle will remain at Linate, as will flights to southern Italy which generated traffic last year of at least 350,000 passengers. European destinations will be served, but to keep two daily slots, carriers must have carried at least 700,000 passengers last year. Only British Airways' London-Linate service will meet the 2.8 million passenger threshold guaranteeing three daily slots.

Upon hearing details of Plan B, the international carriers association formed by Air France, British Airways, Iberia, Lufthansa, Olympic, SAS, Sabena and TAP said that it was "concerned and disappointed" by the new arrangements. Lufthansa is particularly upset, given that its seven daily flights between Frankfurt and Linate last year generated a total of 646,000 passengers, enough to guarantee it only one daily return service if the new plan is adopted. Cities losing direct services into Linate will include Copenhagen (SAS), Stockholm (Finnair) and Vienna (Austrian Airlines).

Alitalia declines to comment about the new transfer schedule, but will be relieved when the European Commission gives it approval. KLM has become irritated recently by a perceived lack of action at Malpensa. Although, under the new plan, only 80% of flights will transfer to Malpensa, that should be more than enough to ensure the KLM/Alitalia agreement remains intact.

Source: Airline Business