ITA Airways: A Potential Departure from Milan Malpensa

ITA Airways, the flag carrier of Italy, is reportedly considering halting operations at Milan Malpensa International Airport (MXP) due to the unprofitability of its JFK-MXP route. This decision comes amidst strong competition on the route, which has rendered it unprofitable for the airline.


The Current Scenario

ITA Airways currently operates only one flight out of Milan Malpensa Airport, connecting it to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York. The operation, run as AZ 604 and AZ 605, is a daily service¹. ITA Airways typically flies this eight-hour route with one of its Airbus A330 aircraft, which holds approximately 256 passengers in three classes: business class, premium economy, and regular economy. Despite the route being one of the highest revenue-generating transatlantic routes in Italy, it has not been profitable for ITA Airways. This is largely due to the increased competition on the route, with six other airlines also operating flights between Milan and New York, including Newark International Airport (EWR).

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The Implications

ITA Airways has been conducting internal discussions about the potential of halting operations at Milan Malpensa International Airport. The final decision is expected to be made within the next week. If the decision is made to leave, the airline would continue running its JFK-MXP route through the end of the year and would leave the airport on January 15 of next year. The airline has been steadily limiting its services at Malpensa over the past several years, with operations now representing just 0.5% of offered seats at the airport¹. ITA Airways is the third-ranked airline in terms of passengers transported between Malpensa and New York, representing 13% of all seats that connect Malpensa and New York. However, in terms of revenue, ITA Airways is ranked fifth.

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Looking Ahead

The potential exit of ITA Airways from Milan Malpensa Airport marks a significant shift in the Italian aviation landscape. While the decision is yet to be finalized, it underscores the challenges faced by airlines in maintaining profitability amidst intense competition. As the aviation industry continues to evolve, airlines like ITA Airways must continually reassess their strategies to ensure sustainable operations.

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