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Catullo Spa. Complete management of the Verona and Brescia airports The Garda system is launched: a 34,000 km2 basin and 15 million residents

Press Release

Catullo Spa. Complete management of the Verona and Brescia airports

The Garda system is launched: a 34,000 km2 basin and 15 million residents


The Brescia airport to Catullo Spa, economic and industrial implications were presented today as well as mid to long term development prospective for the company. Catullo Spa has also managed the Verona airport in complete concession since 2008. The two concessions within the same managing body lead to the establishment of the new Garda system with significant strategic and industrial value on a national and international level.

 On behalf of Catullo Spa the Chairman, Paolo Arena and the Managing Director, Carmine Bassetti participated in the press conference. Flavio Tosi, Mayor of Verona, also participated along with the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Alessandro Bianchi, in the dual role of reference shareholder (with 27.727% of the shares) and spokesperson for the Veronese economic world, President of the Province Giovanni Miozzi (third shareholder with shares of 14.702%), the honourable Gianni Dal Moro and the honourable Alberto Giorgetti. Trentino-Alto Adige was represented by the vice chairman of Catullo Spa, Pierluigi Angeli (the Trento Province is the second shareholder with 21.49%). For the Brescia system (which holds 6.195% of the shares) Province Alderman and member of the Catullo Spa BoD Bontempi was present.

“With the issue of the complete concession of the Brescia airport to Catullo Spa the last of the four macros on which the industrial plan of airport restructuring and relaunching comes to a close – said Chairman Paolo Arena – Just eight months ago we had shown our shareholders the path to relaunching the airports which envisaged painful stages of restructuring in order to build the new foundations from which to begin development. The shareholders placed their trust in us and today I want to thank them”.

“November last we had already announced the conclusion – continued Chairman Arena – of the restructuring process which saw the reduction of structural costs (in the amount of €2.5 million) through cutting unnecessary expenses, rationalisation of the group's organisation through mergers or corporate liquidation with absorption or liquidation of subsidiaries (in the amount of €6 million) and the resolution of “toxic” contracts (for a value of €7 million). We knew this was not enough. We had to obtain the management assignment for Montichiari in order to restore the economic balance and to put real conditions of development into place”.

 “The company took action for this – concluded Chairman Arena – involving the political and economical world in order to convince the government of the solidity of the industrial plan and the important prospects that the concession would open up for the company and its territory. Teamwork was fundamental with the world of politics and economics, here today and to whom we extend our most sincere gratitude”.

The Chairman then thanked the General Manager along with the airport staff, who worked to arrange all the technical documentation and who worked toward implementing the industrial plan.

The Chairman then pointed out how the conditions to begin the reconstruction process have now been created, although well aware that we are still in a situation that has its ups and downs with a few positive signs such as the stabilisation of cargo traffic in January, which the IATA (International Air Transport Association) calls "encouraging"[1], and airline profits improving, but with passenger traffic in Europe down the same month by 1.6% and 80% of EU area airports showing drops in traffic[2].

Despite the prudent expectations and the awareness that Verona is suffering traffic losses due to the weakness of the carriers and the economic situation, the vision for development of the two airports which the company now holds complete management for is clearly defined. As the Garda System, Catullo Spa moves up a category, going from a company that manages a regional airport concession to a manager of an airport system with strategic value.

The selected management model is one of airport specialisation based on the needs of the territory since the Garda system is technically a complete system, meeting the needs of the territory and satisfying passenger and cargo traffic requirements. The system model is present in many other international organisations such as London (system with 5 airports) and Paris (system with 3 airports).

In the Garda system's case, airport specialisation was carried out in such a way so as to create complementary interaction of the operational functions between Verona, primarily dedicated to short to mid-term passengers, ad Brescia, primarily dedicated to short to mid-term cargo and mid-term passengers as well.


Brescia Montichiari: from 40,000 to 84,000 tons of cargo by 2020

According to modest estimates, traffic expectations in 15-20 years, which is the minimum scheduling time, will reach 320 million passengers and 3 million tons of cargo in Italy.

In 30 years, starting from the current 58 million passengers and considering an average growth rate of 3% annually (Boeing and Airbus estimates are more aggressive), Northern Italy will be capable of handling 130 million passengers. As regards the Padana area, we will have about 60-70 million passengers and at least 1 million tons of cargo, both in excess of the current airport structure capacities.

In their current state, the airport infrastructures do not have room to grow, with the exception of Brescia Montichiari.

The latter was defined by experts as an opportunity, having state owned space for development and already possessing an adequate infrastructure in terms of access viability. Therefore, in the mid-long term, Montichiari can be part of the team with the other airports with specialised support functions for the Northern Italy airports.

Studies have calculated that the area plan launched by the Lombardy region, tying up the land around Montichiari exclusively for infrastructure development connected to airport activities, give the airport the possibility of developing into an area even larger than the current spread of New York's JFK and Charles De Gaulle in Paris. No other airport in Northern Italy has expansion possibilities like this. For this reason, in the mid to long term, Brescia will be able to have a development prospect in passenger traffic as well through adequate infrastructural developments.

“The development of the Montichiari airport in the immediate future – stated Managing Director Carmine Bassetti – has to do nevertheless with cargo traffic, for which short term infrastructural investments are not required.

Negotiations are in progress with Asian cargo companies and investors which had been interrupted December last due to news of the possible impending concession assignment. In fact, obviously no company is willing to make development plans on an airport in a situation of uncertain governance.

The negotiations were picked back up following granting of the concession and we hope that they will be able to have an impact on scheduling as early as the next IATA season (autumn 2013 - December 2014)”.

“The goal of the industrial plan – concluded Managing Director Carmine Bassetti – envisages an increase in cargo traffic to 60,000 tons in 2015, which will then progressively grow to 84,000 by 2020. It is estimated that economic balance of the Montichiari airport could be restored with handling of 60,000 tons per year. The goal of economic balance will be achieved through a progressive improvement of the profit and loss account as early as this year and for all of 2014”.

 Despite the fact that 2012 felt the negative effects of the lasting economic situation, the growth estimates contained in the industrial plan for the Brescia airport appear to be compatible with the sector forecast, which indicate positive future prospects for the Italian market in all the traffic lines. In fact, an analysis commissioned by IATA indicates an expected average rate growth rate of 4.2% for cargo traffic until 2015, drawn at first by the Asia (5.2%) and Middle East (5.4%) lines. Compared to these projections, it should be pointed out how in Italy there is a clear imbalance between the cargo traffic import (25%) and export (75%) component.

This is positive information which places Italy just behind Germany in air cargo exporting. The 2011 data is further consolation in the current situation which, against a 0.4% growth of the national GDP, saw exports hit an increase of 11.2%. The same data is confirmed on a local level. In fact, Unioncamere Veneto showed how in 2012 the Veneto GDP shrunk -1.9%, but exports continue to grow by +1.6% for a value of more than €51 billion.

In assessing the Montichiari airport growth prospects, it should be borne in mind that the catchment area where Brescia is located is within the “Blue Banana, a term used to indicate an economic and demographic corridor in Western Europe which goes from England to the Padana Plains, with a population of about 110 million residents.

At the same time, Brescia Montichiari is located within the Padana area, one of the most populated and economically developed areas in Italy, with a population of about 20 million residents (33% of the Italian population), 1.8 million companies (33% of the Italian total), a GDP of about €600 billion generated (which corresponds to about 40% of the national GDP), as well as 54% of all Italian import and export cargo handling.

The Brescia Montichiari airport is also characterised by a few significant competitive advantages compared to other airports, including the possibility of nocturnal operations without interfering with urban areas, the realisation of new road and rail infrastructures, not the least of which is the BREBEMI motorway which will provide a connection between the Brescian airport to the areas east of Milan, where many of the primary logistics operators are located, in less than 25 minutes by 2013. The presence of new and unfilled infrastructures at the airport should also be taken into consideration, with qualified personnel possessing specific cargo know how.

Consequently, for logistics operators specialised in air cargo, the Brescia Montichiari airport represents a localised platform in the highest production areas of the country and it is strategically placed on Corridor 1 to Brennero with the possibility of simultaneously intercepting corridor No. 5, making intermodal transportation economically – as well as environmentally – sustainable.

It was also pointed out how air cargo transportation follows pre-established routes which depart from and arrive at the major global hubs. There are important flows that move from the Fare East to North American via Europe and from here Italy is currently excluded.

The Montichiari strategy is to become an integral part of these global flows, offering logistical support for goods currently “fleeing” Italy for other European airports, but also for those arriving from the Far East destined for Africa.

For this reason it is essential for Montichiari to count on the support of an important partner who will place it in the international cargo traffic lines. 

In order to be further developed, Brescia Montichiari needs specific know how in the sector which can be acquired by its induction into the corporate organisation of an industrial partner.


For further information:

Sara Biasi

Media Relations and Press Office Manager

Garda Airports - Verona and Brescia

mobile  339 2211611

phone  045 8095784



 [1] IATA, Signs of stabilization as air cargo grows in January – Geneva, 4 March 2013
 [2] ACI, January airport traffic grim outlook for 2013 –  Brussels, 6 March 2013