Italy's Volare group, which includes airlines Air Europe and Volare, will launch a low-fare operation in February under the name

Thearm will operate internet-booked services linking the Italian cities of Bari, Milan, Rome, Venice, Verona, with major European destinations. The first service will be operated between Bergamo, near Milan, and Rome, with up to eight daily flights.

The move comes as the Volare group faces increasing low-cost competition from EasyJet, Germanwings, Hapag-Lloyd and Ryanair, and will be undertaken in partnership with a major airline. The group recently started codesharing with Alitalia and had been planning to strengthen the tie by acquiring the flag carrier's charter arm Eurofly, but this bid was rejected earlier this month. According to Volare group managing director Vincenzo Soddu, several companies are showing strong interest in joining the project.

Source: Flight International