The Italian civil aviation board has decided that Alitalia cannot run flights from the Italian mainland to the island of Sardinia. The routes have been assigned to two other Italian airlines, Air One and Meridiana. The reason that Alitalia has not been allowed the routes is that the Italian flag-ship airline submitted its request too late. However, it may share a route if one of the authorised carriers is willing.
The rejection of Alitalias request brings to three the number of airlines which have been refused permission to fly to and between the holiday island and the Italian mainland, the other two being low-cost airlines, Ryan Air and EasyJet. The low cost carriers were charging on average 40 for a ticket to Alghera or Cagliari, now visitors will have to pay from 65 - 125 plus airport taxes. Both Ryan Air and EasyJet are already running flights to and from Sardinia from other countries. The Irish-owned Ryan Air is appealing to the Italian courts to have the decision overturned.
Tour operators in Sardinia are unhappy about the aviation board decision, low cost airlines brought 291,000 tourists to the island in 2003 and 850,000 tourists in 2005.