easyJet first of four new carriers to serve Milan Bergamo in 2021/22; Eurowings, Flyr and Transavia coming soon
This has been a significant year for Milan Bergamo Airport, as it has announced the arrival of four new carriers. easyJet launched flights at the airport on 28 May when daily service to Olbia began, followed on 21 July by seasonal service to Malaga. On 6 September year-round flights to Amsterdam and Paris CDG were added, while 3-weekly London LGW service is set to commence from the end of October. Shortly thereafter Eurowings will begin its first ever flights to Bergamo, a 4-weekly service from Düsseldorf. In January, Norway’s newest short-haul carrier, Flyr, will introduce weekly service from Oslo, followed on 3 April by Transavia starting 3-weekly service from Rotterdam. In addition, Vueling, which already operates to Bergamo from Barcelona, will begin a second route from Paris Orly on 2 November. Exciting times indeed for the airport.
Tenfold growth in 17 years
Located around 45 kilometres northeast of downtown Milan, Milan Bergamo Airport is convenient for accessing the region’s stunning lakes and mountains. In 2002 the airport handled just 1.3 million passengers. However, in 2019 this had grown more than tenfold to reach almost 14 million, making it Italy’s third busiest airport after Rome FCO (43.5 million) and Milan MXP (28.8 million). Although traffic was down 72% in 2020, this summer has seen the airport make a strong recovery. Passenger numbers were down only 36% in July and just 31% in August, when the airport welcomed over 950,000 passengers, twice as many as in August 2020.
Ryanair main driver of rapid growth
The driver of this phenomenal growth has been Ryanair, which made the airport a base in February 2003 having first served the airport from Frankfurt HHN in February 2002, followed by London STN in April 2002. Since then, Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier has offered service to almost 150 different destinations, though many have not survived the test of time.
Several new routes are being launched, or in some cases are being resumed after a significant break, this winter. These include Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle in the UK, Helsinki, Toulouse, Weeze and Stockholm ARN, although the latter is basically just moving from Stockholm NYO. Banja Luka in Bosnia & Herzegovina is also expecting to welcome 2-weekly service from Bergamo for the first time from the beginning of November.
Wizz Air selling 15 destinations
Between 2004 and 2009 Bergamo’s second busiest carrier was MyAir, which operated a fleet of A320s and CRJ 900s on both domestic and international routes. When the carrier collapsed in July 2009, Wizz Air took over as the airport’s second biggest carrier. Wizz Air began serving Bergamo in 2004 from its Budapest and Katowice bases. Since then, it has operated flights to 30 other destinations according to Cirium Data and Analytics schedule information. However, as with Ryanair, many of these routes have not been sustained.
Right now, the airline’s website is listing 15 destinations as being bookable from Bergamo, of which seven are in Romania, three in Poland and two in Bulgaria. The other routes are Chisinau in Moldova, Tirana in Albania and St. Petersburg in Russia. The launch date for the latter route has been pushed back several times and is currently set for 27 March 2022.
Terminal expansion and enhancements
The airport continues to develop its facilities and opened the brand-new ‘HelloSky’ lounge in early June. This facility, operated by GIS is a premium lounge (600m²) located on the first floor, prior to passport control and is open to both domestic and international travellers. It includes spaces to work, relax, eat and drink as well as showering facilities and a smoking room. The next project to be completed will be the new west extension which includes the enlargement of the Schengen arrivals and departure areas, additional baggage carousels for all destinations, six new boarding gates and added retail offerings. With Europe’s aviation recovery being driven by the region’s (U)LCCs, Milan Bergamo Airport seems well positioned to face the future with considerable optimism.