Aeroitalia, the Italian company (with foreign funds) that takes off from Forlì and Foggia

Aeroitalia’s Boeing 737-800 at Forlì airport

Is called Aeroitalia, remembers how Alitalia sounds and, just like the former national airline, has a tricolor “A” on the tail. The fourth company with an Italian certificate – but with foreign capital – aims to get 25 aircraft at the end of next year between Boeing 737 and Boeing 787. It takes off as a charter carrier (“first flight on 2 May from Rome to Brussels on behalf of an international organization”), to then transform itself into a regional airline, therefore for scheduled transport in the short and medium range (Italy, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East) and evolve into a long-range company with links to North and South America. In short, four lives in one.

The names

First base in Forlì (average of 27 passengers per day in the first quarter of this year), another in Foggia (which now has zero scheduled flights), meanwhile, works for the hub in Rome Fiumicino. To guide it is theCEO Gaetano Intrieri, technical consultant of the former Minister of Transport Danilo Toninellicalled to make the number one of some Italian airlines that have not been around for some time and ended up not very well. The capital – officially 5 million euros (paid for 3 million for now) – Marc Bourgade, former Parisian banker residing in Dubai, and German Efromovich, former president of the Colombian company Avianca put itwhich in 2019 had Alitalia in its sights. At the end of the year, the company claims, funding should rise to 80 million. “The goal is to close 2022 already in balance if not in surplus», He explains in an interview with Courier to the CEO Intrieri. And he anticipates that the provisional IATA identification code is «AX».

Forlì airport
Forlì airport

This is the worst time to start an airline.
“They called me to lead this project. Now that all the Italian airlines have skipped (actually there are Ita Airways, Air Dolomiti and Neos, ed) I was able to choose a team of very good people, after the default of Alitalia, Blue Panorama and Air Italy. In short, we take an opportunity from the crisis ».

Which is what Ryanair and Wizz Air did: they used the pandemic to expand into Europe.
«Ryanair does it great. I didn’t understand Wizz Air, it flies even with 30 passengers paying 15 euros, therefore at a loss ».

Aeroitalia what kind of company is it?
«It is a low-cost carrier, not low-cost, so we can say traditional. We will try to become our hub within a year ».

However, the Italian market is saturated, especially with low cost.
«In fact it is useless to compete at Ryanair because we get hurt. In the meantime, let’s start with charter activities, in July we will start a few routes and in some airports with which we have established commercial relations ».

Which airports?
«Certainly Forlì. And then we are defining on the Foggia airport. And some other southern airports that I don’t mention because we’re still in talks. “

So we start with two bases?
“We will have more bases, some of which will be in Europe not in Italy”.

That is, planes and people located in several places?
“Yes sure”.

In the course of 2022?
“No, immediately.”

So, let me understand, you will leave with bases in Forlì, Foggia and abroad.
“Forlì and Foggia for scheduled activities, the charter business will be on several bases abroad”.

Could one of the bases be in Poland?
“Yes, right”.

So you’re going to bother Ryanair which has its Polish subsidiary Buzz there.
“Let’s say that Ryanair is more vulnerable there than in Italy”.

(As of April 26, Buzz had 59 aircraft, 46 Boeing 737-800s and 13 Boeing 737 Maxs, an average age of the fleet just over 4 years. Aeroitalia starts with two aircraft, the first is a Boeing 737-800 that is over 21 years old used until recently by Blue Panorama)

How many planes will you have by the end of the summer season?
“We will actually have five or six by June, all Boeing 737s.”

Distributed how?
«In Italy two in Forlì, one in Foggia, but here if we win the tender. But this will be a marginal activity. The main one, for 75-80%, will focus on charter flights. We have contracts with major European tour operators to bring travelers to the sea in Spain, Greece, Portugal, Egypt. But you don’t fly from Italy ».

What does the fleet plan include?
“We are leaving with the two Boeing 737s. From now until the end of 2023 we will take 10 Boeing 787s for long-haul flights and up to 15 Boeing 737s for short and medium-haul flights.”

All for hire?
“Absolutely yes”.

When will the first Boeing 787s arrive?
“At the end of 2022 to already do long-haul charter activities”.

In which other European countries will you base the planes?
“In addition to Poland in the Czech Republic, Norway and the United Kingdom”.

Why are you focusing on chartering right away?
«Because in Italy the charter market is half-dead, but the charter airlines here are also half-dead. Before our arrival there was basically one: Neos ».

So you will compete with them.
“Neos’ people won’t be happy, but it’s the law of the market.”

So are you going to put up to 80 million to do mostly charter?
«The charter will be a start-up activity. But the goal is to be a company with an important hub in Italy to connect the country to America “.

Where did you set your sights for the hub?
“If we ever find an agreement with Aeroporti di Roma, the idea is to make Fiumicino our base and start connections from 2023 with South America and then with North America”.

So hubs on Fiumicino and short and medium-range connections from Forlì and Foggia?
“Yup. It is clear that Forlì and Foggia will also have connectivity with Fiumicino ».

Do these two airports support you?
“They are doing it.”

How are relations with Adr, the company that manages Fiumicino and Ciampino?
“There are not. For them we are like the others ».

When will ticket sales start?
“From the end of May for the routes from Forlì and Foggia for flights that take off in July”.

And the intercontinental routes since when?
«From the summer season 2023».

Where are you aiming?
“Brazil and Argentina, above all, then the United States”.

Where will you fly from Forlì and Foggia?
“I can’t say yet, we’ll do it in a couple of weeks.”

(It is almost obvious that from Forlì one looks to Southern Italy. Reading the announcement for the development of traffic at Foggia airport – which provides for contributions to carriers – the only route that seems to make sense is the one to Milan. The incentive for departing and arriving passengers is 14 euros for the first year. In 2021 Foggia had 70 passengers in all, in 2019 – pre Covid – 387, all on private flights)

Foggia airport seen from the satellite
Foggia airport seen from the satellite

Your first official plane is a Boeing 737-800 which, however, is not authorized to fly in Foggia.
“In fact, we will use the smaller Boeing 737-700s there.”

You start with 5 million (paid for now 3 million, ed) and say that you will reach 80 million by the end of the year. Who puts the money into it?
“Efromovich and Bourgade, then an investment fund very close to Efromovich.”

Do you mean your company Synergy Group?
“Another one I can’t disclose because I signed a non-disclosure agreement.”

How are you going to trade with the skyrocketing price of kerosene?
“It’s one of the reasons we delayed take-off. On charter, however, the problem does not arise because the cost of fuel is discounted ».

So the pains will start when you start scheduled flights.
“Yup. And when we will have more planes ».

But the multi-base strategy you plan to adopt is expensive …
“Scattering planes is never a good idea. We will go on three bases ».

But why will you fly to Forlì and Foggia and giants like Ryanair, Wizz Air or easyJet have never thought about it?
“Because they are not suitable airports for them. They do not have enough passengers to guarantee the flows they need ”.

So you will fly where there are no low cost.
«Our problem is not Ita, but Ryanair or Wizz Air. We have tried to choose places where they are not there ».

However, in 2023 if you open the base in Fiumicino you will have to reorganize the connections to make the “power” flights of the intercontinental ones.
“Everything changes there.”

At that point you would compete with Ita.
“We know where we will be between now and 2023, it is not known where Ita will go since it is on sale”.

(Ita Airways, which has 52 aircraft, it is in particular in the sights of MSC and the Lufthansa group which together sent an expression of interest worth 1.2-1.4 billion euros).

Will you have business class on intercontinental flights?
“Yes, in fact we will be a traditional company from this point of view.”

How many employees do you have now?
«About 150, coming from Alitalia, Air Italy, Blue Panorama. We would like to reach 600 by the end of the year, as we expand ».

Are you sure that 80 million euros are enough?
“It depends on who the driver is. I have to make it enough. To take a Coa (Air Operator Certificate, ed) it takes several million, we paid 800 thousand euros “.

When do you expect to make profits?
“Very early”.

That is when?

So balance without loss already as of December 31, 2022?
“Yup. It can be done”.

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Aeroitalia, the Italian company (with foreign funds) that takes off from Forlì and Foggia

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