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08/08/2008

THE SUMMER AT GARDA SYSTEM AIRPORTS

Passengers number increase in the first seven months In July the first signals of consumer spending crisis and oil price increase
The number of air-travelers choosing to fly to and from the Airports of the Garda System increased in the first seven months of 2008. Very good figures were registered at D’Annunzio, where the new Brescia-based airline Air Bee is meeting the territory needs and, from last February, has carried over eighty-thousand passengers – that will go up to 100 thousand by the end of August. Rome, Naples, Olbia, Crotone and Trapani are the destinations, which together with Ryanair’s London, gave an increase to 52% in the month of July only and to 43% compared to the first seven months of 2007. Good results for Catullo as well, with a total of two million and 50 thousand passengers carried between January and July (+2,8%), of which over 418 thousand during the month of July only, yet giving a loss (-8,8%) compared to the same month in 2007. The reason for this negative figure is mainly due to the reduction of charter traffic (-16,5%), as a consequence of reduced consumer spending and economic slowing down all over Europe. “If, as we can easily predict, this trend will continue also to the end of the summer and in the coming autumn season, Verona airport may close the year with a balanced result and around 3 million and 500 thousand passengers carried, instead of the previously foreseen growth of 200 thousand persons, corresponding to 5% – maintained Fabio Bortolazzi, Caullo’s president. – For the D’Annunzio we are trusting to close this year with positive results in passengers traffic, thanks to the new input given by the airline Air Bee. On the other hand we will be forced to cope with a strong fall in cargo traffic”. As a result of oil price increase and less air travel bookings, Airlines are reducing their travel frequency in order to optimize aircrafts management and cut down costs. It goes without saying that this situation is a problem not only for Verona Villafranca. IATA, the International Association of Travel Agents, representing over 230 airlines, has already warned airports and airlines about the deep crisis that is affecting air travel. From the beginning of the year 25 airlines already closed down in the world. Oil price increase has seriously concerned cargo service, which making use of large and robust aircrafts, is not able to gain any profits because of fuel costs. “Today, the fuel cost for a Boeing 747-200 is around 40%, while less than a year ago it was 18-20% – commented Roberto Gilardoni Director of D’Annunzio’s Business Unit. – Thanks for its location and good infrastructures, our terminal is an attractive base for many air-carriers, yet instead of expanding their activity, they are forced to cut even consolidated routes in order to limit managing costs”. Furthermore, Catullo airport suffers from an insufficient number of Polaria agents, compared to its growth in the recent years. The number of agents operating at the airport is the same as in the period when passengers carried were one million per year (today over 3.5 million) and constrained to a restriction of the so called sensitive flights, for which detailed and meticulous control operations are needed.