For the last six years, Bolzano airport (BZO) has been unserved after both AirAlps and Etihad Regional ended service between Rome Fiumicino (FCO) and Bolzano. Since then a new player has entered the local market.
Skyalps currently has two Bombardier Q400s serving over 14 destinations in Northern and Southern Europe. Our correspondent Luca Zocche had the opportunity to interview Alex Spinato, the carrier’s Aviation head.
He spoke about the airline’s big plans to make Bolzano into a niche hub connecting Northern and Southern Europe.
Without further ado:
How did the idea for the company come about?
The idea was born almost seven years ago, after the termination of the last airline operating to and from Bolzano.
The desire was to breathe new life into an airport with enormous potential, and unique in its kind, both as a location and as a tourist destination.
What is the objective of Skyalps and what kind of clients do you target?
The objective of Skyalps is to give our tourists the opportunity to come to Bolzano in the simplest, fastest and most eco-sustainable way, so that they can enjoy their vacation to the fullest, optimizing their travel time.
What are your expansion plans?
We plan to create a hub at Bolzano where, in the morning, the routes go north and, in the afternoon, back south, giving multiple possibilities for our tourists to enjoy both the mountains and the sea for those who want to.
Why did you abandon your base in Parma?
Parma has been temporarily suspended due to a change in strategy, but there is nothing to prevent us from re-establishing a rotation with our planes from Parma at the appropriate time.
This airport is also expanding rapidly and has an excellent development program for the next 10 years.
Why don’t you operate Bolzano-Rome?
The Bolzano-Rome route has been temporarily suspended due to the pandemic and the uncertain and unstable situation of our interlocutor/possible partner Alitalia.
"The desire was to breathe new life into the Bolzano airport which has enormous potential, and unique in its kind, both as a location and as a tourist destination."
As soon as the situation will be stabilized, we will be ready to re-introduce the route but only with a strong partner like ITA or another Major.
What makes your company different from the other 30+ European startups in Europe?
There are several aspects that distinguish us, but first of all, the satisfaction of our customers flying with us, the onboard service and the comfort with which passengers reach their destination.
What has been the reaction of the people of Bolzano and the state of South Tyrol?
There has been a change in that sense. At the beginning there was a lot of skepticism, but since South Tyrol is a region that lives from tourism, there was also a lot of support from all stakeholders in this sector.
At the moment we are seeing great interest in the summer flights, which represent an unprecedented offer for the local population with regard to summer vacations.
Do you carry cargo on your flights?
We are working side by side with a possible partner to establish freight flights to and from Bolzano airport. This will help to reduce CO2 emissions in the movement of goods, improve delivery times in our region and certainly create more jobs locally.
Where do you see Skyalps in five years?
Skyalps aspires to be "Europe's best boutique airline" - where strategic destinations, travel amenities and hospitality will reflect our brand promise and make the journey itself as important as arriving at the destination.
Have you been able to obtain satisfactory leasing agreements such as airlines like Breeze Airways, which allow you to use your aircraft only a couple of days a week instead of every day?
At the time of the stipulation, the market was certainly favorable and the company preferred to opt for a pure lease and not a power by the hour.
Will there be codeshare/interline agreements in the future?
There will certainly be interline agreements with strategic European partners, with whom we will be able to reach Bolzano from all over the world thanks to their vast operating network.
Are you planning to open other bases in the future?
We don't rule it out, but we will be very attentive to the dynamics of the domestic and regional markets.