Ryanair Eyes Alitalia’s Slots At Italy’s Major Airports

Ryanair is hoping to pick up slots left by Alitalia at Rome Fiumicino and Milan Linate Airports. The news comes as the Italian flag carrier undergoes an overhaul that will see its footprint shrink in the coming months. The Irish budget carrier has said it would be interested in bidding for the slots when they open up. Let’s find out more.

Ryanair 737 Taking Off
Ryanair is eying new slots at Italy’s busiest airports. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying


As Alitalia undergoes nationalization and restructuring, the carrier is expected to let go of several lucrative slots in airports like Rome and Milan. This opens up a rare opportunity for airlines at these slot-restricted airports to quickly expand their operations. Ryanair is one airline that is jumping at the chance to secure more slots.

In a statement to RTÈ, Ryanair confirmed that it is interested in a tender for the slots when they open up. While details are yet to be finalized (Alitalia hasn’t even released any slots yet), Ryanair is discussing the opportunity after a European Commission statement. The carrier said,

“As part of its state aid investigation into Alitalia’s new company, the European Commission advised the Italian government to put Alitalia’s assets to a competitive tender, including its Linate and Fiumicino slots….Ryanair has expressed an interest in participating in such a tender”

Alitalia A320
Alitalia is expected to reduce its footprint at major airports in Italy under the restructuring plan. Photo: Getty Images

In pursuance of such a deal, the budget carrier has already sent a letter to the government saying it is interested in slots and other assets from Alitalia. The flag carrier already has plans to potentially pull out of Milan Malpensa AirportHowever, the journey to securing a slot may not be straightforward. 

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Alitalia woes

While Ryanair is trying to jump on new opportunities, Alitalia’s future remains unclear. Most recently, the government is considering killing the Alitalia brand itself, after the EU did not clear more state aid for the carrier. Italy has allotted roughly €3 billion ($3.64 billion) to restructure the flag carrier and make it profitable.

Alitalia A330-200
New EU rulings mean that the Alitalia brand, and its assets, can’t be transferred to a new airline. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | JFKJets.com

This would mean liquidating Alitalia and all of its assets, including aircraft and slots, and selling them in a competitive manner. This would add complexity to the government’s previous plan to transfer the airline’s assets into a new company that would rebrand the airline and restart operations. The EU has outrightly rejected this plan.


The selling of assets would make key slots up for grabs to airlines like Ryanair and others looking to expand. However, sources speaking to RTÈ have said that handing over slots to foreign airlines could be politically controversial and unheard of in Alitalia’s history.

Alitalia Boeing 777-3Q8(ER) EI-WLA
The decision to sell Alitalia slots could prove politically controversial in the future. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | JFKJets.com

For now, the journey towards securing new slots looks like a long one for Ryanair. In a year where dozens of European airlines have received government bailouts, Alitalia’s is proving to be a particularly sticks one.

What do you think about Ryanair trying to secure slots in Italy? Should Alitalia sell its slots before restructuring? Let us know your thought in the comments!