EasyJet is to expand its bases in Italy at Milan Malpensa and Naples and open a new one in Venice from April 2016.
The budget carrier plans to support the expansion by redeploying aircraft and crew from Rome Fiumicino, criticising the airport’s high fees and poor passenger service.
A new base is also being opened in Barcelona with three aircraft from February next year.
The airline’s base at Rome Fiumicino will shut next April due to a “worsening performance” blamed on high airport passenger charges which have doubled in three years.
“In addition, Rome Fiumicino airport provides a poor passenger experience which has led to low levels of punctuality and customer satisfaction which the recent capacity increases have exacerbated,” easyJet said.
The airline still expects to fly around two million passengers to and from Rome Fiumicino in 2016 but will no longer base crew and aircraft there.
Instead, the airline is to deploy four aircraft in Venice, creating 150 jobs, and add three to the 18 already based at Milan Malpensa, providing 100 new jobs for pilots and cabin crew.
Naples will gain a fourth aircraft from April, creating 35 jobs.
Carolyn McCall, chief executive of easyJet, said:
“Italy is a key strategic country for easyJet and our plans for 2016 announced today will expand our presence at Milan, Naples and Venice, where there are more opportunities for long term sustainable and profitable growth, while ensuring we continue to connect Rome Fiumicino with Europe in a way that best reflects passenger demand.
“Milan, Naples and Venice are all centres of important Italian economic regions. Each has high levels of passenger demand from leisure as well as business passengers and all have demand for flights both into and out of Italy.
“Our expansion in these three airports will bring thousands of direct and indirect jobs in each region and will ensure easyJet remains the largest airline at each airport giving all three cities the best network connecting them with the rest of Europe.
“At a time when there are significant profitable growth opportunities for easyJet across Europe we are continuing to make a very significant investment in Italy.
“EasyJet has grown steadily in Italy in recent years in terms of investment and jobs and will base 29 aircraft in the country next year, employing over 1,000 pilots, cabin crew and other staff and supporting thousands more direct and indirect jobs.”
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