How many passengers did Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) handle in 2011?
We reached almost 38 million passengers in 2011, of which almost 25 million arrived on international flights.Between them, Rome’s Fiumicino and Ciampino airports, attracted more than 42 million passengers last year. The upturn in traffic was good when compared to other key European airports which, for the most part, are still recovering from the impact of the worldwide economic crisis.
Although many airlines serve Rome, ADR is constantly focused on air traffic development and attracting new carriers. How many airlines do you have?
In 2011, over 100 airlines chose to operate regular flights from Rome Fiumicino, ensuring direct connections with about 200 cities across the world. Within Italy we have connections to 30 destinations, thus making FCO an ideal airport for extensive feeding operations to long-haul flights.
What new carriers recently arrived at Fiumicino?
Recent new arrivals at Fiumicino include Gulf Air, which has begun a new Rome–Bahrain service and China Eastern Airlines, which has launched flights from Shanghai. This latter service is a great success story for us and, following the start of three-weekly frequencies, wIll go daily as of July 1. In other news, Emirates chose Rome FCO as the first airport in Italy to fly to with the Airbus 380!
In Europe, we recently announced that Vueling is to establish a permanent base at Rome. Last but not least, our home-based carrier Alitalia successfully launched new services to Brazil and China last year.
What sets you apart from your competitors in the region?
Thanks to Rome’s strategic position at the very centre of Italy, Leonardo da Vinci Airport covers an incredibly extensive and homogeneous catchment area.
Rome is the largest city in Italy, with approximately three million inhabitants and a per-capita income higher than the Italian average. But by far the most attractive elements we can offer is our capital city’s impressive historical and cultural sites, and the fact we can offer carriers an excellent ‘starting point’ to successfully launch onward services to a range of destinations.
I should also mention that, uniquely, Rome is a city with two capitals, one being the seat of the Italian government and the other being the home of the Pope!
Furthermore, Rome’s geographic position makes it an ideal gateway to the Mediterranean and Middle East.
What do you think are the main challenges facing Europe’s airports?
Generally speaking, it seems to me that Europe is progressively losing its primary role within the main global trunk routes; this is clearly being caused by the economic crisis we
are in, but it’s also related to the lack of sufficient airport capacity and state-of-the-art infrastructure when compared with what we can see in other regions of the world, such as Asia or the Middle East. With this in mind, ADR is actively working on a new masterplan, which will make us better able to cope with the expected demand in the future. The growing importance of environmental issues also represents another challenging area to consider and deal with.
What new markets/airlines are on your wish list?
Our airport marketing team is active around the world and we are in contact with all the main airlines to seek out new routes and more services.
For sure, the BRIC countries (Brasil, Russia, India and China) are a big focus, but more services from the Far East and Japan in particular are also on our wish list.
How did you get into the aviation business?
Before joining ADR, I worked in a variety of fields but often on an international basis and this made the aviation industry seem particularly relevant for me.
At the time I was working in the household appliances business and looking for a new opportunity when, quite by accident, I had the chance to start working for ADR in the recently created Business Development Division; of course I jumped at the chance. I have now been in the aviation business since 1996, and no other job has been as exciting as this one.
How do you go about convincing new airlines to fly to Fiumicino?
As I mentioned, being the main Italian airport and gateway to the city of Rome helps a lot. But we understand that the Coliseum is not enough to attract new operations, so we go to airlines and show them detailed information related to the proposed route and highlight how we are cheaper in terms of airport charges compared to other European airports.
Are things looking up for Alitalia following its restructure?
Without a doubt, I can say that Alitalia – and I’m referring to the ‘new Alitalia’ born in January 2009 – is a reliable, punctual and efficient airline. As you know, Alitalia is now privately-owned with a majority stake held by fellow SkyTeam members Air France-KLM.
Alitalia now operates an extensive domestic and regional network within Italy and Europe as well as international services particularly focused on North and South America. They represent approximately 50% of our traffic at FCO and we are continuously working together to maximise and better serve their traffic at the airport.
What do you like doing when you are not at work?
I love my job but it is also very challenging, so when I’m not at work I try first of all to relax. A good book or a nice movie are always good, and during spring and summer I am an enthusiastic angler, when a fishing adventure with my friends takes some beating!
Is Rome a nice place to live and work?
Although I’m not originally from Rome, I think it is a great place to live. The eternal city is famous the world over, and the open-air museums make this town truly amazing!
If you won €1million in the lottery, what would you do?
First of all I would have to buy a ticket, which is something I don’t normally do. If I did win, I would buy a house for my twin daughters and probably a large boat for my fishing trips!
This article features in Routes News 2012 Issue 3