Airlines seek dialogue with Italian government for less restrictive measures.

Key Points:

  • The Italian government's move to cap ticket prices to Sicily and Sardinia during the summer is met with opposition from local airlines.

  • Airline associations claim the proposed restrictions might be in violation of EU's free market rules.

  • Notable airlines such as Lufthansa, EasyJet, and American Airlines are part of the opposition represented by IBAR.

ROME — Amidst a surge in ticket prices for routes to Sicily and Sardinia, the Italian government's proposal to limit fare hikes has been met with strong resistance by airlines operating in Italy. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's cabinet, gearing up to pass a multifaceted decree law on Monday, also encompassed issues like blue crab invasion, taxi licenses, and support for strategic sectors.

According to the draft decree, airlines would be prohibited from hiking fares for Sicily or Sardinia that exceed "200% higher" than the typical rate for such routes. This decision arrives in the wake of escalating ticket prices to these two prominent islands.

In a collective statement, the Italian Board of Airlines Representatives (IBAR) and Assaereo trade associations voiced their concerns over the lack of consultation on this issue, hinting that collaborative discussions might have fostered more lenient resolutions. They further emphasized the potential clash between the proposed fare restrictions and established EU sector regulations. Typically, these regulations grant EU-operating airlines the discretion to both set fares and select operating routes.

Given the limited connectivity of Sicily and Sardinia to the Italian mainland, residents and tourists alike rely predominantly on air travel, even when faced with exorbitant prices during peak seasons.

Several eminent airlines, such as Lufthansa, EasyJet, American Airlines, and Delta, fall under the IBAR umbrella. These groups fervently urge the government to reassess its stance, highlighting the potential detrimental effects on ticket supply, pricing, and employment levels within the airline sector and affiliated domains.

While measures within a decree law are implemented instantaneously, they hinge on parliamentary ratification within a 60-day timeframe to prevent expiration. Furthermore, parliament retains the authority to modify the decree's contents during its ratification process.