F L Y I N G T O I T A L Y
There is a lot happening across the
business aviation landscape of
Italy. In January, Signature Flight
Support’s FBO locations at four
key airports – Milan-Linate, Milan-
Malpensa, Rome Ciampino and
Venice – became the first in the country to receive IS-BAH
(International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling)
certification. This is a market that is maturing.
Italian FBO operator SEA Prime agrees
and is preparing to open a new facility at
Milan-Malpensa. “It’s 1,400m2 in size,
with five lounges, its own apron and
hangar and a range of services,”
says chief executive Chiara
Dorigotti. “We’re also expanding
Linate in terms of hangar space,
and this will open in 2020. There’s
a lot of potential in Milan for
Sky Valet, the European FBO
network, launched its Sky Valet
Connect co-branding strategy last year,
partnering with existing locations, and in
doing so is increasing its presence in Italy.
First it began working with Cuneo Airport in the
northwest, and in April announced a second partnership
with Trieste Airport in the northeast. “This is an exciting time
for business aviation in Italy,” says Anna Milanese, FBO
manager at Cuneo Airport. “We’re currently developing
the infrastructure at Cuneo to better serve the traffic in this
segment. There’s more focus on business aviation now, and
an understanding that improvement is needed.”
Clemens Toussaint, chairman of Riviera Airport in the
northwest of Italy, believed the market
was ready for something new when he
relaunched Albenga Airport two years
ago. “Ours is the first airport in the country
dedicated to business and general
aviation only,” he says. “In other European
markets you have airports like Biggin Hill
or Farnborough dedicated to business and
general aviation, but in Italy it’s been a case
of flying into one of the bigger commercial
airports. Until now.”
Franco Campomori, founder and partner
at Campomori Aviation and Law, has spotted
a trend in the Italian market. “it is definitely
reshaping itself,” he says. “FBOs and
airport managers are meeting international
standards for infrastructure requirements.
The bigger manufacturers want their own
presence here for maintenance. Global
operators are increasingly serving Italianbased
clients and other industry operators
are making Italy an integral part of their
Above: There is high demand
for business aviation services
and air crew in Italy
Fewer flights, bigger aircraft
While the business aviation market in Italy develops, the
demands being placed on it are also changing. Recent
figures show that the country is experiencing fewer business
flights, but at the same time is handling larger aircraft.
“Flight numbers are slightly down across Europe, and
that is the case here, but we’ve also been receiving much
larger jets,” says Dorigotti. “This is a trend we have seen in
Milan. There are a lot of events here, and with something
like Milan Design Week, people tend to use bigger aircraft.
Larger aircraft are good for us, because the bigger the
aircraft, the more services we can offer.”
Q&A: Loris di F ilippo, CEO of Arg os VIP Private Handling
Q: Can you describe the Argos footprint in Italy?
A: It all started as a supervisor business at Rome
Ciampino Airport in 2000 before general aviation
was even born in Italy. It was not easy to break
the wall of a state-run monopoly. Just 11 years
later we were open in nine locations — including
premier Italian destinations such as Milan,
Napoli, Pisa and Venice. Essentially, we became
the first Italian FBO network.
Q: How many aircraft does Argos handle?
A: In the last 2 years there has been an increase
of flights of around 30%.
Q: What is the latest news for Argos?
A: I’m excited to finally announce that we have
obtained two new FBO certifications in Turin and
Bologna this year. Moreover, we are refurbishing
facilities in LIEE-LICC, have the new opening
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of Malpensa general aviation terminal and are
renewing some of our ground support equipment.
Q: Why do customers choose to use Argos?
A: We give personalized care to each customer
and management is always easily accessible to
assist with any issues that may arise. We have a
deep knowledge of the territories and airports at
which we operate and trained personnel onsite,
rather than simply a supervisor.
We believe we are the biggest and strongest
FBO network in the Italian market. We are not
just handlers, but full-service FBOs providing
personalized services. This is not commonly
found in Italy and continues to be one of our
greatest differentiators. We go above and beyond
to solve problems for our clients and provide
the best service possible, especially in times of
difficulties or high-demand situations.