Low-cost British airline EasyJet launched flights between Rome and Milan Linatee on 25 March, ending the national carrier Alitalia's monopoly on the key business route.
There will be seven daily EasyJet flights between Rome's Fiumicino and Milan's Linate airports with an introductory return fare of €59.50. Alitalia, which maintains most of the Rome-Milan links, provides an average of 60 weekday connections, with return fares from €89.
EasyJet was one of five airlines that bid for the Milan-Rome connection last year after Italy’s competition authority AGCM ordered Alitalia to give up seven slots at Linate in exchange for receiving approval for the airline's 2008 merger with Air One SpA.
The new competition from EasyJet puts further pressure on the loss-making Alitalia, whose Rome-Milan route is already under threat by last year's arrival of a high-speed rail network between the two cities.
EasyJet aims to carry between 350,000 and 400,000 people in the first year operating the profitable route which is the second busiest in Italy after Fiumicino-Catania in Sicily, according to Italy’s civil aviation authority ENAC.