The axis created by the airports of Pisa and Florence is of “national strategic interest”, and it will therefore be a reference infrastructure onto which concentrate investments and development projects in upcoming years. The choice was delivered by the Piano nazionale degli aeroporti [National Plan for Airports] recently defined by the Ministry of Transports, which reorganized the sector: the goal is to have a national network of layovers that will be competitive and, above all, coherent with the directives of European and international traffic. Seconly, the plan wants to concentrate expenses and services on some essential nodes and overcome the rivalries and conflicts between principal airports and minor regional layovers.
There are eleven “core” airports: Milano Malpensa in the North West, Venice in the North East, Bologna and the Florence-Pisa axis in northern Central Italy, Roma Fiumicino in Central Italy, Naples in Campania, Bari in the Adriatic area, Lamezia Terme in Calabria, Catania and Palermo in Sicily, and Cagliari in Sardinia. Passenger traffic – which is predicted to increase in upcoming years – will be organized and directed on these terminals, as well as 26 other airports considered of “national interest”. They will also be the center of efforts to strengthen the network for merchandise transport, which is still lacking in Italy: the among of cargo transported in Italy is estimated to increase from the 900,000 tons registered in 2010 to 1.4 million tons in 2030.
In the Ministry of Transports’ plan, Pisa’s “Galileo Galilei” and Florence’s “Amerigo Vespucci” are considered as a single terminal, and the definition of an airport “strategic hub” is attributed to the Tuscan axis, on the condition that the two airports integrate under the business profile – through a holding to which both management companies are answerable – and from an industrial plan profile. “At this point, Tuscany has a principal airport, Pisa, the principal asset with long-range flights, and a complementary layover, Florence, with the new runway build in accordance with ENAC regulations for the medium range – explained the undersecretary to the Minister of Transports, Erasmo D’Angelis – ENAC (the Italian authority for civil aviation) will definitely specify up the technical prescriptions and the security standards, as well as the adequacy of the Florentine airport to be included within the strategic collocation, in order to permit the passing of all structural limitations.”
Based on official data by the manager of Pisa’s “Galileo Galilei”, during the first nine months of 2013 the airport registered a traffic of 3.5 million passangers, becoming Italy’s ninth layover in terms of number of passengers. During the same period, 1.5 million passengers transited through Florence’s airport, with an increasing trend (+6% on an annual basis), in contrast to the average flection registered by Italian airports.