Not exactly specific to Florence but good news:
"easyJet, Europe's leading low-cost airline today announced it would significantly expand its services in Italy and introduce a new base at Milan's Malpensa Airport. Malpensa will be the airline's 16th base in Europe and first in Italy."
"Three aircraft, brand new Airbus A319's, will be based at the airport offering a choice of five new routes to key European Airports; Athens, London Gatwick, Madrid, Malaga and Paris (Charles De Gaulle). These routes are in addition to the current Berlin service and the daily flight to Dortmund which commences on 30 October.
The first two of these new aircraft will begin operation from Milan Malpensa from 27 March 2006. The third aircraft will be introduced in the summer and will provide the capacity to operate even more routes.
With a total of seven routes available from Milan Malpensa, easyJet expects to carry around 1.2 million passengers through the base in the first 12 months and will create over 100 jobs locally for cabin crew and flight deck, as well as generate around 1000 indirect jobs at the airport.
easyJet currently operates to 9 key Italian airports (Cagliari, Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate, Naples, Olbia, Pisa, Rome, Turin and Venice), with a choice of 29 routes and 68 daily flights. The airline recognises the great potential for further expansion of it low-cost services, as Italy has been the fastest growing market in easyJet's network in the last 12 months, experiencing an increase in capacity of 78%. This summer the airline welcomed the 6 millionth passenger on its Italian routes and by the end of 2005 expects to have carried a total of 2.5 million passengers to and from Italy.
The two existing routes from Milan Linate to London Gatwick and Paris Orly will also continue, generating a total of over 1.3 million passengers travelling on easyJet's Milan services in the first 12 months of operation. easyJet, has chosen Milan as the next market for significant development in Italy as a result of its great attraction to both business and leisure travellers as a destination, as well as tapping into the wealthy Lombardy region's potential outbound market.
easyJet are committed to continuing with its strategy of being a pan-European airline, not only is the airline the fourth largest scheduled carrier in Europe, but 27% of its network is outside of the UK, with six of its 16 bases being situated on the continent.
Seats are on sale at www.easyjet.com from Saturday 15 October.
Ray Webster, easyJet Chief Executive commented at the press conference in Milan today:
"easyJet believes Italy has excellent opportunities for growth, as air travel is still dominated by inefficient state run airlines, who do not act in the interest of the consumer.
We have been focusing on growth in Italy over the last year, we have increased our capacity by 78% and the response has been fantastic. Our move into Milan's Malpensa Airport demonstrates our commitment to provide low-cost efficient services in Italy.
Start dates and fares:
The twice daily service from London Gatwick to Milan Malpensa commences on 1 December 2005, with fares from £26.99 one way (£61.32 return including taxes).
The daily services from Milan Malpensa to Paris, Madrid and Malaga commences on 27 March 2006, with fares from €30.99 one way (€65.98 return including taxes for Paris and €61.98 return to Madrid and Malaga.
The daily services from Milan Malpensa to Athens commences on 28 March 2006, with fares from €30.99 one way (€73.98 return inc taxes)."