After last night’s meeting between Italy’s Prime Minister Renzi and Etihad CEO Hogan all seems clear for the merger between the Italian flagship carrier and Abu Dhabi’s airline. A big, needed move to enhance our air transport system, so crucial to boost tourism in Italy.
The first city affected by this change will be of course Rome. More flights via Abu Dhabi and integration with other regional airlines such as Air Lingus, Air Berlin and Darwin will bring larger numbers of Asian and European tourists. But Milan will also see benefits for its Malpensa airport flights, sources close to the deal said. Etihad would buy 49% of Alitalia, after Air France/KLM cut its equity to only 7% of the capital. It would make an overall investment of around 500 million euros.
Money from the Persian Gulf is already flowing copiously in Rome as we laid out in this post/map of their investments throughout the Eternal City. The most business minded (UAE) are vying with the richest (Saudi Arabia) and those with the strongest international projection (Qatar). But we now want to focus on aviation and the United Arab Emirates.
Because, if Etihad is bound to become a major player in the Italian and Roman economy, there is already one UAE subject who is having a big role here: Emirates.
In 4 years Emirates more than doubled the number of passengers flying between Dubai and Rome and is the only airline using the gigantic A380 in Italy (in Rome only). The world’s largest and newest aircraft is dramatically changing the intercontinental flight scene and is behind the 110% passenger increase between 2009 and 2013 to/from Rome by Emirates.
To crown this outstanding achievement the Dubai-based carrier has just inaugurated a brand new Lounge for Business and First Class passengers and Gold and Platinum Skywards members. The largest and most elegant of Rome Fiumicino airport – FCO, the Emirates lounge can host more than 150 people in its 900 sq meters. You can admire it in all its beauty here.
Emirates is also attaching great importance to the Malpensa airport – MPX (their third Italian terminal is Venice – VCE) from where it also runs a New York-bound flight. It is no coincidence that the corporate Lounge there was inaugurated in 2013.
In order to further increase its presence here, from April 16 to the 30th, for the Easter holidays and the Popes canonization Emirates will run two A380 daily flights between Rome to Dubai, for the joy of Rome spotters!
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