At 6:02 p.m. on Satuday, Alitalia flight AZ2092 from Rome landed at Milan Linate Airport. It was the first flight to land at Milan’s city airport after a three-month closure to allow the resurfacing of the runway and some upgrade works to the terminal building and the baggage handling system.
The airport, which in 2018 handled almost 10 million passengers, shut down on July 27 and all operations were transferred to Milan’s Malpensa Airport, some 32 miles northwest of the city. The runway underwent a mandatory resurfacing that is required every 20 years according to European Union rules, and also initiated some much-needed improvement works to the terminal facility that will continue after the reopening of the airport and will be completed by the end of 2021.
During this period “eGates” will be installed to allow self-boarding through facial recognition and a new CT scan machine will be deployed to check liquids and electronic devices without the need for them to be removed from carry-ons.
SEA Aeroporti Milano, the publicly-owned company managing the main two airports in the Milan area, will invest 14 million euros for this project, in addition to the 50 million that have already been spent for the runway resurfacing and the work completed last summer, the restyling of the new building to be completed in the next two years and the installation of x-ray machines for checked luggage.
By December 2022, Linate Airport will be connected to Milan’s underground system with the extension of the yet-to-be-opened M4 line that will run between the airport and San Babila station on the M1 line.
The airport capacity is capped at 18 movements per hour and is dedicated to serving destinations within the European Union. The airport is therefore heavily capacity-constrained and 60 percent of its slots are controlled by ailing flag carrier Alitalia.
The slots at Linate Airport probably represent the most attractive asset detained by Alitalia at the moment. It is thought that several carriers including Lufthansa, easyJet and Ryanair showed some early interest to bid for the carrier, currently under bankruptcy administration and still without a viable rescue plan, just to gain a foothold into this highly-coveted airport mainly utilized by business passengers traveling to and from Italy’s economic capital.
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