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Rome Fiumicino Airport mounts strong comeback with record traffic

Uzbekistan Airways at ADR
Uzbekistan Airways, offering flights to Tashkent.

Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) has solidified its status as a key player in Europe’s aviation landscape by handling 40.5 million passengers in 2023, fully recovering its pre-pandemic volume by October and experiencing a notable 6% increase in December compared to 2019. This resurgence was fuelled by the launch of over 50 new routes, including 17 new destinations, and the introduction of seven new airlines, facilitating connectivity to over 200 destinations across 70 countries and all of the world’s inhabited continents.

The momentum has shown no signs of abating in 2024 either. March saw the arrival of two new carriers to FCO: Biman Bangladesh and Uzbekistan Airways, offering flights to Dhaka and Tashkent respectively. The summer of 2024 promises further expansion, with Volotea, Eurowings, Skyalps, SunExpress, and ITA Airways unveiling new routes to destinations ranging from Brest to Mostar, as well as from Izmir to Hannover and Nuremberg. Notably, flag carrier ITA adds services to Accra in June and Dakar in July. In the latter part of the year, in October, Air Mauritius will debut flights from its picturesque home in the Indian Ocean.

However, the airport’s success story extends beyond new destinations. FCO has witnessed a significant surge in long-haul flights to North America, with a remarkable 31% increase in departures compared to summer 2019, reaching up to a whopping 39 daily departures to the continent. This growth has been primarily driven by US carriers, which will maintain up to 27 daily departures, an increase of 61% on their 2019 summer peak. It will culminate in FCO becoming the first European airport to offer American Airlines’ first-class service. Meanwhile, ITA Airways and United Airlines are bolstering transatlantic connectivity with new routes to Chicago, Toronto, and an additional daily flight to Washington.

A standout trend in FCO’s evolution is the robust deseasonalisation of its flight schedule. This strategic shift is exemplified by the doubling of weekly frequencies to North America in February 2024 to 70 weekly compared to the pre-pandemic period, reflecting the airport’s commitment to year-round accessibility.

In addition, FCO is experiencing an uptick in flights to Canada and China, facilitated by key carriers such as Air Canada, Westjet, and ITA Airways. Canada operations are increasing 32% per week on 2019, while six Chinese carriers will serve nine destinations. Moreover, ITA is expanding its footprint in the Middle East with new services to Kuwait, Jeddah, and Riyadh.

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On the short to medium-haul front, low cost carriers like Wizz Air and Ryanair are poised for expansion in 2024, further diversifying FCO’s route network and enhancing accessibility across Europe. Both LCCs will have two additional aircraft based at the airport compared to last summer, with Wizz Air on 13 and Ryanair on 11 jets.

Amidst its aviation development endeavours, FCO continues to garner accolades for its commitment to excellence. Recognised by ACI World as the Best Airport in Europe for quality services to passengers for an unprecedented seventh consecutive year, FCO remains dedicated to quality service. This distinction, coupled with its 5-Star Skytrax rating in 2023, solidifies FCO’s position as a premier global aviation hub.

Looking ahead, 2025 holds immense promise for FCO as Rome prepares to host the Jubilee, the largest Catholic event that occurs every 25 years. With an anticipated influx of over 30 million pilgrims, the Holy Year presents unparalleled traffic opportunities for airlines worldwide, further cementing FCO’s status as a vital gateway to the Eternal City.

Rome Fiumicino Airport’s journey from recovery to resurgence underscores its pivotal role in European aviation and its commitment to providing a diverse network to travellers. As it navigates the challenges and opportunities of the future, FCO remains poised for further growth.

Rome Fiumicino Airport mounts strong comeback with record traffic
Uzbekistan Airways, Rome-Tashkent launched 7th April 2024

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