EasyJet has hailed a “landmark” ruling that allows it to break Alitalia’s stranglehold on flights between Rome and Milan.
The budget carrier has won the right to fly between the two cities, breaking “the last monopoly route in Europe,” according to chief executive Carolyn McCall.
Italy’s third largest airline will launch flights from early 2013 operating Airbus A319s on five services a day between Milan Linate airport and Rome Fiumicino.
The “landmark” decision by the Italian competition authority will allow EasyJet to break Alitalia’s monopoly between the country’s two main commercial centres.
EasyJet won the right to fly the route after a long running lobbying campaign designed to cut fares by opening up the route to competition.
Alitalia operates up to 30 flights a day between Rome and Milan charging up to €289 one way for the one-hour journey.
McCall said: "This represents the break up of the last great monopoly route in Europe, linking as it does the political capital and the industrial centre of Europe’s fourth largest economy.
“No other European flag carrier has control over a route of such importance. This is a historic decision and is a victory for Italian consumers.”
The airline’s Italy country director Frances Ouseley added: “This decision represents a core milestone in the market.
“We believe that our services will be popular and have proved again and again that when we enter a new market we open it up - bringing in competition and lower fares and enabling more people to travel on the route.”