Italian leisure carrier Neos has received tentative approval for flights to the US. The airline applied for the right to fly to the US back in early March. If full official approval is granted, the airline plans to start flights as soon as possible.
Technically, Neos can already fly to the US because, in 2008, it was granted the right to fly charter flights. However, back in March, it filed an application with the US Department of Transport (DOT) to extend this for the right to fly scheduled flights.
According to Routesonline, the airline hasn’t received official approval yet, but it looks like approval is on the way. The DOT has confirmed that, so far, there is no reason not to grant the airline’s request. Subject to the usual conditions, the DOT should grant its approval soon.
Destinations across the Atlantic
Although Neos has said it is looking to start flights to the US as soon as possible, it hasn’t confirmed which destinations it is looking at. With strong hubs in Milan, where the airline is based, and Rome, we could see traditional destinations like New York, Miami, and Los Angeles become popular for the airline if operated by its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The Dreamliner’s range means the whole of the US is open to the airline, so other US destinations are an option.
The airline does already operate charter transatlantic flights, so although scheduled flights to the US will be a new venture, the airline does have experience. Neos offers regular flights to Cuba, the Bahamas, and Mexico. With Air Italy no longer flying and Alitalia’s future still in question, the sooner Neos can get a foothold in the US, the more likely it will be able to pull away from the little competition it has.
Once approval has been granted
With the DOT looking favorably on Neos’ application, the airline will undoubtedly be finalizing plans for its routes. Once it has official approval, the airline can start releasing its destinations and selling tickets before launching the new routes. Travel restrictions will, of course, play a key role in determining which routes are open for tourist and leisure travel.
Currently, the US isn’t recommending any US citizens travel to Italy unless essential, and Italy isn’t recommending its citizen take a holiday either. While some commercial flights are operating, demand isn’t exactly through the roof.
However, in a few months, once vaccine programs have been able to impact the number of cases, the demand for flights taking Italian tourists to the US will likely increase, as will the number of American’s looking to vacation in Italy.
What do you think of Neos’ plan for flights to the US? Do you think approval will be granted in time for the airline to cash in on a summer travel boom? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.