Emirates seeks more Italian airport slots
Rome, November 24, 2008
Dubai's government-owned Emirates airline wants to sharply increase its flight slots at Italian airports, the government said, describing this as a move that could boost tourism to Italy from Asian and Gulf countries.
Emirates, which has less than 10 Italian slots a week at present, has asked for slots to cover 21 weekly flights each to Rome and Milan and 14 for Venice. It also plans 28 weekly cargo flights.
Abu Dhabi's state-owned Etihad Airways has also sought seven flights each for Rome and Milan, the government said.
'This means the United Arab Emirates have chosen Italy as the port of entry for Europe,' Industry Undersecretary Adolfo Urso said in a statement, adding those plans were in line with efforts to relaunch Italy's national carrier Alitalia.
Alitalia, which is being bought by the CAI consortium of Italian businessmen, is expected to cede slots as part of the takeover, though no decision has been made yet on how many or which ones will be shed.
Alitalia's bankruptcy commissioner has said the bankrupt carrier's slots are worth a total of 550 million euros, or about 4.2 million euros apiece.-Reuters