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18/11/2010

Liberalization of airport handling services and adaptation to the regulations in force for Verona airport

COMUNICATO STAMPA

Liberalization of airport handling services and adaptation to the regulations in force for Verona airport: the managing company, with the help of some of the most important experts in Italy and of trade union representatives, has analyzed the airport development process and presented its current progress strategy from a legal and economical point of view

Verona 18th November 2010 – With the aim to evaluate the various steps of the opening process to different handlers and present its leading strategy for the coming months, the Managing Company of Verona Airport has planned a workshop on liberalization. Also attending were some of the most important experts in Italy and trade union representatives, which are considered central parts of the process under way at the airport.

Ground services, that were traditionally carried out by the airport management only, have been liberalized through the Legislative Decree (Decreto Legislativo) No. 18/99 and this caused significant implications for the whole Italian airport system, also opening a new scenario with reference to prices and quality level competitions.

Market evolution have pressed the airport managing company to develop a different economic policy and concentrate not only on services to aircrafts, but mostly to passengers and infrastructure organization. As a consequence, proceeds resulting from non- aviation activities have increased and service revenues have been progressively marginalized. In addition to that, since handling services must be competitive and highly efficient, it is more and more difficult to operate in a balanced situation. It became clear that a specialization was necessary and that managing company and handler should separate their areas of expertise for a better result.

On the one hand it was necessary to comply with the regulations and on the other hand to face the developing economic perspective, so Catullo decided to progressively abandon handling operations. The whole process started on 15th May 2009 with the establishment of Avio Handling Srl (100% Catullo Spa) that became operative in July 2009. The company’s spin-off was the first step in the handling management change. A second handler, AGS Handling, started operating from Verona from April 2010, after being in service at the airport of Bergamo from 2007. According to the improvement strategy adopted, a third step is expected to take place before the end of the year, when an industrial, highly specialized partner will join Avio Handling.

The whole process was developed also focusing on industrial relations, which have been much under pressure because of the handling liberalization and of the consequent price competition on a national level. Only on 26th July 2010 Assohandler national contract was finally signed and could plug a gap that had negatively affected also Verona Airport until that date.

Starting from 2009, industrial relations played an important role for Verona, also considering that when Avio Handling was established the national collective agreement for the handling sector was not yet signed between the parts. The process progression resulted in the union agreement that was signed last September.

The managing company will go ahead with the liberalization process in the coming months, with the aim to combine efficiency and service quality and to protect the whole workforce during al process phases.