Disruption expected for some 2.5m passengers.
Linate airport in Milan’s eastern quadrant is to close completely to traffic from 26 July to 28 October 2019, while the single runway and terminal buildings are repaired and remodelled, at a cost of €156 million.
Italy’s fifth busiest airport is the preferred hub for traffic to Milan, only minutes from the city centre, and with a ticket to the whole city metro and bus network costing only €1.50 (€2.00 from early 2019).
Now some 2.5 million passengers will need to fly to or from Malpensa or Orio al Serio close to Bergamo, with much longer and more expensive journeys into Milan.
To add to the inconvenience, media reported last week that airlines were continuing to issue tickets to and from Linate during that period with no warning to passengers that their flight would be transferred to another airport, or even cancelled.
Civil aviation authority ENAC stepped in and sent instructions to the 14 companies flying from Linate to update their internet booking sites immediately, and to advise all passengers who had already booked flights during the period of closure of their alternatives.
Alitalia, the airline accounting for 66 per cent of traffic at Linate, has already updated its timetables to shift its flights to Malpensa. The company has also added four daily flights between Orio al Serio and Rome-Fiumicino for the closure period.
But Malpensa, already bursting at the seams, will be hard pressed to accept an estimated increase of some 45 per cent in passenger traffic. In particular, queues for security controls are likely to increase dramatically.
Other airlines using Linate have still to announce their contingency plans.