Airline Start Up Of The Week: Italy’s EGO Airways

A new carrier is headed to Milan next year, with Italy’s EGO Airways all set to launch. The regional airline will fly the Embraer E190 jet and received its first plane in July. EGO will start operating from next summer with a base in Milan’s Malpensa Airport, flying to domestic and European destinations.

Italy’s EGO Airways received its first Embraer E190 in July, one year after it was founded.  Photo: Ego Airways

Guests first

EGO Airways was founded on 29th July 2019 by a group of entrepreneurs and is funded by several investors with experience in the industry. The airline brands itself as “an authentic Italian company” with a focus on the passenger experience above all else. On it’s website, the airline describes its philosophy as:

“EGO Airways takes care of its guests, giving them the centre of a flying experience in which they feel cared for, cuddled, pampered and special. It aims to create a unique, warm and full immersive experience, where every passenger can feel welcomed in each of the flight classes.”

Embraer E190
EGO Airways will fly a fleet of Embraer E190s for its short routes. Photo: Tony Hisgett via Wikimedia Commons

The carrier will offer free changes and two cabins on all its services. Onboard catering and buy-on-board will also be offered, despite the short flight times. While EGO clearly has high ambitions for its passenger experience, let’s find out how close it has gotten to actually taking to the skies.

Plane and AOC

EGO Airways has been planning its entry to service for well over a year now, going through many ideas for which plane to use. Eventually, the airline opted for the reliable Embraer E190-100LR and dry-leased the aircraft from German operator WDL Aviation. The 100 seat plane will have 88 economy seats and 12 in “executive class”.

The plane has been repainted in the striking new livery, featuring three rings on the tail and EGO (in lowercase) Airways printed on the fuselage. The first E190 has been named MARTINA, and the airline took delivery on 29th July, on the carrier’s first anniversary.

Last month, EGO Airways received the all-important Air Operators Certificate (AOC) from Italy’s regulator ENAC, giving it permission to start flying. With this critical hurdle out of the way, EGO Airways is on track to begin operations next summer.

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Where will it fly?

As mentioned, EGO Airways plans to start flights from Milan Malpensa Airport in summer 2021. The airline plans to sign codeshare agreements with large carriers and provide feeder flights to smaller Italian destinations, according to AirwaysMag.

The proposed route network includes domestic flights from Milan to Verona, Venice, Florence, Pisa, and Pescara. The first international destination will be Ljubljana, Slovenia. This robust network could be inviting to larger carriers who are looking to gain market share on routes to Italy.

Alitalia is looking to withdraw from Milan Malpensa Airport after a restructuring. Photo: Getty Images

EGO Airways is also proposing three focus airports of Florence, Forli’, and Parma to add more routes to the cities of Catania, Lamezia, and Bari. However, such an expansion would only be possible once the airlines add more aircraft to its flight, which could happen next year.

For now, EGO Airways looks ready to start its first flights next summer. While now might not be a good time to start an airline, vaccinations could bring back some normality to travel schedules by next year.