Rome Fiumicino (FCO) is set to become American Airlines (AA) second-largest gateway in Europe, following London Heathrow (LHR). This new milestone will be accomplished at the peak of the summer when the North American carrier will add a second daily rotation between New York and the Italian capital.
From July 6 to August 15, the Oneworld member will fly seven times per day from its U.S. gateways to Rome: twice from New York JFK (operated by two Boeing 777-200ER), twice from Dallas/Fort Worth (performed by a Boeing 787-9 and 787-8), and once from Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Chicago O’Hare (with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner).
“We are enthusiastic about the announcement of this second daily flight to the Big Apple and proud of the job we are carrying on with Aeroporti di Roma and the Italian travel trade,” Cristina Casati, AA’s Regional Sales Manager of Southeast Europe, commented.
Federico Scriboni, Head of Aviation Business Development at Aeroporti di Roma (AdR), added that “the growing presence of American Airlines confirms the role of Fiumicino as one of the top European gateways to and from the United States. And it is even more gratifying if we consider that our airport is not a Oneworld hub.”
American Airlines is entering its 22nd year of operations in Italy, where it landed for the first time in 2001. The inaugural flight, operated by a Boeing 767-200ER, connected Chicago with Milan Malpensa. Today, Milan has a daily service from New York JFK only, as the flight from Miami was stopped at the beginning of the Covid pandemic and has yet to be reinstated.
The news from AA comes a few weeks after Norwegian low-cost carrier Norse Atlantic targeted Rome, announcing it will start flights from New York JFK on June 19. At the same time, JetBlue is closely observing Rome as a new potential European destination, which is within range of its North Eastern hubs with its new Airbus A321LRs.
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ITA Airways is trying to cope with this increased competition on its home turf: a few days ago, it announced a third daily frequency between Rome and the Big Apple. Yet, the heir of Alitalia is penalized by the inconsistency of its long-haul fleet, made of just 14 aircraft. Brand-new A330-900s will arrive in the coming months, but their effect will be more tangible in 2024.
Notwithstanding the weakness of its home carrier, Leonardo Da Vinci airport is living in an era of splendor. Traffic in 2022 soared to over 29 million passengers, or +151% compared to 2021 figures and just 36% less than in 2019.
In 2016 AdR inaugurated a world-class new pier dedicated to extra-Schengen flights and opened a new boarding area for domestic and intra-European passengers last year. As a result, Airport Council International recognized it as the best in Europe for ‘Airport Service Quality’ in 2018 and 2019 and as overall ‘Best in Europe’ in 2022.