Air Transport World

Veni, Vidi, Vici: since commencing service in 1995, Air One has built itself into a force to be reckoned with in Italy's domestic market. (Profile).(Company Profile)

For a company that has become Italy's second-largest carrier in only six years, with much of that growth occurring in the very challenging post-9/11 environment, Air One is an unpretentious airline. "It's not up to me to say that Air One is a success story, but I think we may be relatively proud of what we have achieved," states Giorgio De Roni, head of the passenger division.

The airline, which was launched in 1995 to challenge Alitalia's monopoly on Europe's fifth-largest city-pair, Rome Fiumicino-Milan Linate, grabbed a 20% share of the domestic market last year, up 7 points over 2001, serving 20 cities with a fleet of 27 737s. It transported 4 million passengers, up 84%, with a corresponding 86.5% rise in traffic to 2.2 billion RPKs.

"The market has responded very well from the beginning, but what we accomplished last year is really a miracle," De Roni agrees. In addition to the traffic growth, he points our that "in less than a year, the organization has been forced to change dramatically. We doubled the size of the company, and at the same time we had to face the market in a tougher and more competitive environment."

Revenue in 2002 reached roughly [euro]350 million, up 48% over [euro]236 million in the prior year. Profit figures were not available at press time but will "definitely be positive," assures De Roni, who studied air transport marketing at the UK's Cranfield University and joined Air One in January 1999 after holding positions at Meridiana and Alpi Eagle.

Air One lost [euro]781,000 in 2001, a result that is attributed in part to the impact of 9/11 but mostly to operational restrictions put in place at Linate following the October 2001 fatal collision between an SAS MD-80 and a corporate jet that wandered onto the wrong runway in heavy fog. …

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