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Valerio Catullo airport celebrates its record passenger flux of three million people in one year, closing a year with a growth of almost 400.000 passengers against the end of 2005.
The three millionth passenger, Valentina Damiani, was ready to fly to Palermo when she was welcomed at check-in by Umberto Solimeno, Salea Manager of Valerio Catullo SpA (Photo 1). The 23-year-old girl from Verona was greeted with al voucher for one-week holiday on the Mediterranean coast (flight and holiday village accomodation for two people). The unsuspecting passenger commented: “I’m really flattered about this unexpected prize! I fly every week to Palermo to visit my boyfriend, so I’ll really appreciate to enjoy this holiday prize with him”.
Verona airport closed a definitely positive year with this celebration. In addition to a gradual and constant passenger flux growth, the Catullo also undertook a significant programme to expand its services and facilities for both departing and arriving passengers.
“Time has passed very fast since when, in 1995, Catullo reached one million passengers and then in 2001 the number of people carried grew to two millions” said Fulvio Cavalleri, General Manager of Catullo airport. “Today, with a total of nearly 3,6 million passengers carried by Verona and Brescia airports together, we must be proud of this fantastic achievement for our area. Moreover, this result also gives a stronger motivation to undertake a development programme and increase the number destinations available from the two terminals”.
One third of the total three million passengers were directed to national destinations: over one million people flew from Valerio Catullo to domestic towns. Great Britain was the second favourite destination and was chosen by more than 300.000 passengers. Germany and Spain followed as third and forth preferred destinations respectively. Egypt, an extra-European destination, came as fifth with a score of 200.000 passengers travelling mainly to Sharm el Sheik, Marsa Alam, Hurghada and Cairo.
On the domestic front, Roma-Fiumicino has emerged as the top spot for passengers departing from Catullo, while the second place was taken by Catania. Thanks to the two daily connections inaugurated by the budget airline Wind Jet last September, Catania has played an important role in the three million passengers record achievement, notwithstanding the flying limitations due to Etna eruptions.
The third most popular destination was Naples, followed by Palermo, Olbia and Cagliari in Sardinia and then Bari-Palese in Apulia.
In 2006 British destinations were chosen by over 300.000 passengers: the top spot was held by London (50%), while the rest of the list was made up of Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Newcastle followed by Belfast, in Ireland, with nearly 8.000 passengers.
From October 25th 2006, when Ryanair opened its route from Frankfurt-Hahn with four flights a week, costing from one euro, Germany has also contributed to the positive achievements gained in the last year.  In a very short time the number of passengers jumped at 100.000 for Frankfurt, as much as for Munich. A further increase in flight connections to and from Germany is expected for 2007. Ryanair announced to open a new low cost route next April to connect the the Garda airports with Brema offering fares from only one euro.
Spain has proved to be the fourth favourite destination for passengers leaving from Catullo, with Ibiza as primary destination, following by Canary Islands (Tenerife and Fuerteventura reached over 70.000 passengers) and Balearics, (Majorca and Minorca reached a total of 50.000 passengers).
The main carrier has been Meridiana, with 600.000 passengers, followed by Alitalia (250.000) and Lufthansa (over  200.000). Umberto Solimeno, Sales Manager of Verona Airport said “The 13% traffic rise in the last year does not yet indicate a consistent presence of low cost routes, which are foreseen to expand greatly in 2007”. In 2006 the number of line flights has increased by 18%, while charter flights showed a growth by 8%.
“The positive trend registered” said Catullo General Manager, Fulvio Cavalleri, “is the confirmation of our airport  solid base non depending on the low cost airlines precence. Yet budget airlines are a business model we are willing to enhance, not only because they are an interesting resource for our airport, but also for the fruitful achievements we expect to come for the whole Garda airports system”.