“International traffic is flying. We are aiming for Bologna-New York”

“International traffic is flying. We are aiming for Bologna-New York”
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of Rosalba

Carbutti

“We always wait for him for a coffee at the airport to explain to him technically how the airport works…”. Nazareno Ventola, CEO of Marconi airport, begins with a joke in the interview given to ‘Carlino’ by the CEO of Poggipolini Spa, a world leading company in the aerospace and automotive sectors. And he responds point by point to the criticisms from the business front.

Let’s start from the main criticism: “Marconi is not up to Bologna”. What does he answer?

“First of all, I would like to clarify: complaining that Bologna is not an international hub means not knowing the subject well. In Italy, not even Malpensa is an international hub… Only Fiumicino is. The ‘hub and spoke’ model is one that stands out from the ‘point to point’ one. The first involves a route system that connects a series of peripheral airports to a central airport, the second is based on routes that go from one destination to another. In summary: Bologna in this sense it will never be an international hub, in addition to Fiumicino, the Charles de Gaulle in Paris, Heathrow in London etc are”.

However, the fact remains that the business world complains about the lack of intercontinental flights.

“First of all, I will cite an incontrovertible fact: over 75% of our flights concern international destinations. There has, it is true, a recovery in domestic flights towards the South, but the prevalence remains international traffic. It is no coincidence that we are the seventh airport for numbers of passengers and the fifth for international connectivity”.

Is there any hope that the Bologna-New York direct line will return?

“It was there over 15 years ago. But it didn’t last long. That choice was linked to the image of that route. But then there were different market conditions. Now you can’t create connections at a loss. We are a mixed capital company , public and private, listed on the stock exchange. We cannot have loss-making routes based on the fact that a specific connection is needed…”.

So apart from Dubai with Emirates, there will be no other intercontinental flights?

“We’re working on it. We had the Bologna-Philadelphia flight, but it didn’t continue especially due to the results of the Philadelphia-Bologna route. The problem is that American companies don’t think much about the potential that a certain destination can have from a certain Italian city , but mainly consider traffic from the United States.”

So from New York, Venice or Rome do they have greater appeal?

“Yes. But also Naples and Palermo, given the population of Italian origin that comes from New York. But the direct connection with the Big Apple remains one of our objectives. It will be difficult to achieve it for 2025, while I see 2026 as a more realistic objective” .

Aren’t you afraid that the business world will move to Venice or Milan in the meantime?

“I don’t think so. For years our traffic has been divided into three: a third for holidays, a third for health or study reasons, a third for business. If any individual then decides to go somewhere else, everyone is free to choose”.

Poggipolini, in line with Confindustria Emilia, is convinced that a restyling of the Marconi is not enough. Isn’t a 216 million euro plan over 5 years enough?

“The investment program is progressing gradually. From the increase in parking to security checks with the most advanced machines and the expansion of the Schengen boarding hall. We are carrying out a further expansion of the airport. We are ready to take advantage of all the stimuli to do more and better, but I remember that we obey the rules of public procurement, the private world is different”.

Did you expect criticism from the business world?

“I wasn’t very surprised. We’re working to improve. Bologna is still the seventh airport in terms of absolute passenger traffic and I’m proud of that. But I’m even more pleased that we are fifth, after Malpensa, Linate, Bergamo and Venice in terms of international connectivity. We have in any case three or four daily connections with intermediate hubs to North America, South America and Asia, in addition to the direct one to Dubai”.

Does the limitation of night flights convince you?

“The ENAC ordinance was recently extended. From our numbers this provision is effective and works”.

 
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