DALLAS — ITA Airways (AZ) service at Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) will end on January 8, 2024. At 10:45 a.m. local time, flight AZ605 will land at MXP, marking the end of an era for the airport and the country’s flag carrier, whichever it may be.
Since the beginning of commercial operations in 1948, AZ has maintained a presence at MXP, the largest international airport in northern Italy, serving Lombardy, Piedmont, and Liguria, as well as the Swiss Canton of Ticino.
Mid-pandemic, the carrier suspended its last remaining flight to Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) from MXP, and no other services were then operated from that airport. AZ commenced service from MXP to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) once COVID-related travel restrictions for Europeans entering the US were lifted. This became AZ’s lone long-haul route outside of its primary hub at FCO.
However, the MXP-JFK flight, operated using an Airbus A330-200 aircraft, faced heavy competition. Today, six other airlines serve this city pair. American Airlines (AA) and Delta Air Lines (DL) operate flights to JFK, while United Airlines (UA) operates to Newark Liberty Airport (EWR).
Emirates (EK) also competes on this route with its Dubai-Milan-New York service, and Italian leisure carrier Neos (NO) operates a twice-weekly service. Additionally, French carrier La Compagnie (B0) connects MXP with EWR five times a week.
ITA Airways’ Focus on Linate Airport
ITA Airways maintains a significant presence at Linate Airport (LIN), which is located closer to Milan’s business district, approximately eight kilometers away. LIN is ideal for short-haul flights to European destinations. However, it is unable to accommodate intercontinental services due to a short runway and a perimeter rule that prevents flights longer than 1,500 kilometers.
According to AirlineGeeks‘ Vanni Gibertini, AZ holds approximately 70% of the landing and takeoff slots at LIN, which has been selected as a focus city in Northern Italy. In contrast, MXP is located approximately 50 kilometers from the city and requires a one-hour trip by car or train to reach.
Due to its location and lack of feeder flights, Gibertini says that there is a belief that the AZ Milan-New York service is the worst-performing flight in its long-haul network—hence, AZ ceasing its operations at MXP. The airline will now focus on LIN for its short-haul flights to European destinations.
Featured image: ITA Airways Airbus A330-200 (EI-EJG). Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways. Article source: AirlineGeeks.com