ICONIC FLY | Chiara Melani
In the heart of Milan, Linate Prime is the first Business&General Aviation airport in Italy and the 5th in Europe in terms of aicrafts movements. The airport boasts world-class facilities to operate and support flight activities, along with a wide range of premium services for passengers and crew. It is an international hub and a crossroad for business, as described in the following interview with Chiara Dorigotti, General Manager at Milano Prime.
Chiara Dorigotti, General Manager Milano Prime
Milano Prime manages all of the General Aviation infrastructures. How did it begin?
Milano Prime was founded in 2015 following the acquisition of the ATA company by SEA SpA (the company that manages Milan’s airports), which took place in December 2013. Immediately after the acquisition, the rebranding and the restyling of Linate Prime and a complete review of the business model started. Today, Milano Prime is the brand that identifies Linate Prime and Malpensa Prime Business&General Aviation airports.
What services are offered?
Milano Prime manages all the airport infrastructures at Linate Prime and Malpensa Prime, including terminals, eleven hangars totaling 29,000 square meters, passengers and crew lounges and the BMW BusinessCenter. Linate Prime is the first Business&General Aviation airport in Milan, with over 21,000 movements in 2017. Together with Malpensa, Milan is the fifth European destination for business and general aviation in Europe.
What are Milano Prime’s strengths and competitive edge in comparison to other airports?
Milano Prime’s mission is to offer high-level services to its customers, business or private, to passengers and crew members, in line with the best international practices. To meet the needs of our customers and expand our services, we continue to make investments, and where we don’t directly provide the service, we use qualified partners. In 2018, Linate Prime has started consolidating existing partnerships and creating new, important collaborations, such as the one with Leonardo Helicopters, a global player in the high-tech sector and one of the leading international operators in aerospace, defense, and security. This collaboration opened a maintenance base at the Linate Prime airport in a hangar dedicated to offering line maintenance for Agusta Westland AW109 and AW139 helicopters, for both private and business customers. In 2018, an upcoming new hangar will also be designed, the eleventh at Linate Prime.
Can you give us traffic data for the last period?
The business aviation sector confirmed significant growth rates in 2017 in terms of movements, marking a 3.7% increase at the European level and 9.3% growth in Italy, which is positioned as 4th in the European market in terms of traffic volume. Specifically, Linate Prime recorded an increase in traffic of approximately 3%, confirming its leadership among Italian business aviation airports. The first months of 2018 have confirmed the growth trend for Milano Prime (+3% in June).
What are the most active inbound and outbound markets?
Milano Prime welcomes passengers from all over the world. The main destinations, both inbound and outbound, are European capitals. But North America and the Middle and Far East are also increasing in volume, thanks to the attraction of Lombardy and Milan which are popular destinations for tourists and European business.
What advantages will come from opening a new business airport at Malpensa? Can we declare it as a true “door” to the world for Made in Italy business?
With its unique position in Europe at less than 7 kilometers from the city center, Linate Prime is the base for the development of Malpensa Prime as well, which completes accessibility for passengers and operators of Business&General Aviation to the city of Milan, linking them with the heart of Lombardy and Europe. This will allow us to develop the market to its full potential, offering a service of excellence.
What are empty leg flights?
“Empty leg flights” are literally the routes of empty flights: it is estimated that about 30% of flights make the return flight without passengers, because they book one way. Therefore, some airtaxi companies offer the possibility to travel at discounted fares. In Italy, for example, booking an empty leg flight allows those who can travel last minute to save up to 50-70% of flight costs. The development of the empty leg flights market has also been made possible thanks to the emergence of platforms – or apps – that have made this market even more available.
What does the Business Aviation airport represent today? How did it evolve? What are your future projects?
An investment plan of 20 million euros is planned through 2022 for the infrastructural development of Linate Prime and Malpensa Prime, and it includes two new hangars at Linate Prime and the new Malpensa Prime airport, among other things. The airport will consist of a new structure of about 1,400 square meters that will receive both passengers and crew, a 50,000 square meter apron, and an already operational 5,000 square meter hangar as a home for the latest generation General Aviation aircrafts. The exterior of Malpensa Prime’s new terminal has been designed as a polyhedron that is visible and recognizable from all directions, both on the ground and in the air. Inside, it will feature elegant finishes for common areas and exclusive lounges, where passengers and crew members both arriving and departing can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, thanks to sophisticated furnishings and designer lighting. Dedicated security controls and filters will complete the service.