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From Linate to Fiumicino: When airports become a “trap”

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The question we are about to ask in this soup is rather delicate. This is it The relationship between consumers and large companies It operates in the natural monopoly sectors. Strong stuff, economists have held on for years. Let’s get straight to the point: Let’s talk about airports. And let’s make an introduction right away. In fact, they are not said to be a monopoly. In short, it is not always true that there is no alternative to them. The famous route between Rome and Milan is long enough to warrant a journey yet, but is well connected by rail to warrant buying an express train. The second premise is necessary. Whoever writes this soup is a traveler, albeit luxurious: he has been through it several times a week for about thirty years. The competitive advantage of aviation has been increasingly eroded.

For a few weeks, the airport company that operates an airport Fiumicino ushered in new station, where domestic flights were transferred. Big investments, opening with all the trimmings, front row politicians and even the president of the republic to celebrate. The airport is green, you know all that stuff, twenty years ahead of everyone else. Variety set up its own supermarket. Super material cool. There are statues on display of the ancient Romans, even if the visible beams necessarily bothered them. Well, in short, compared to stops around the world from New York to Miami, you think you’re in heaven.

All is well? up to a certain point. To book your flight, which takes fifty minutes to Milan, takes us for checks (very efficient by international standards) and tours between duty freeAnd mozzarella and T-shirt shops, twenty minutes at least. Weak by renovation. Beautiful for heaven, everything is clean and eco: but why the hell for a reason a traveler has to do lookie lookie (The language of Bangkok taxi drivers takes you to the shops that tip him to every stranded tourist) When his need is to find a faster alternative to the train?

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From Ader they say that the berth is temporary and that in a few months the passengers will have one of their own. We hope so. But in the meantime, they risk losing customers. It might be left over compared to the international ones they expect: but Can they afford to lose local traffic? Assoaeroporti, whom we asked about how much traffic they collect, they were unable to provide us with timely information at short notice. But they told us operators get multiple tariffs according to the plane’s payload and the time of day it takes off/landing (peak or off-peak); A fee for the use of the remuneration which depends on the hours of stay; Passenger fee for use of the Station and all services therein which varies according to the destination of the flight and the age of the passenger (adult or infant); Safety rates for using the services Safety checking checked baggage; And finally, tariffs for the use of infrastructures such as check-in desks (varying according to the location of the counter), boarding bridges, etc.

For this type of income, obviously, Managers add business revenue. With some wonderful contrasts. In the last part of the building, which has just been renovated, there is only one cafeteria, which is obviously always equipped with several queues.

In Milan, in the much smaller Linate, things are better only for the size. But the logic is the same. renovate the airport, Extended flight time. Every self-respecting traveler knows by heart that floor lamp, placed between the sofa and the wall, which moves like a special skater, shortening the obstacle course of the outward appearance. Paradoxically, they’ve introduced an impressive facial recognition system, thanks to which climbs and controls are speeded up. Faster checks, more stores will obviously appear.

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And let’s go back to the starting point. We are talking about Modern, efficient and newly renovated airports. Compared to their European competitors, thanks to layoffs, they have withstood the pain of lockdown better. Today, there is a feeling that they risk losing touch with their customers, those most loyal and free to seek a replacement. While the tourist arriving at the airport a few hours early has plenty of time to look around, the traveler just wants efficiency and quick times. Perhaps the managers who run the airports thought about losing it.

Nicolas Porro, IL Journal, July 2, 2022

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