Italy FBO Group Promises Improved Handling Standards

 - January 20, 2015, 4:07 PM

Several Italian airports and FBOs have combined to form a consortium intended to offer business aircraft operators a more assured standard of ground handling. Italy FBO was launched in January and consists of a mix of private FBOs and airport companies in the following locations: Cagliari (LIEE), Salerno (LIRI), Bari (LIBD), Brindisi (LIBR), Perugia (LIRZ), Florence (LIRQ), Pisa (LIRP), Treviso (LIPH), Venice (LIPZ), Verona (LIPQ), Brescia (LIPO), Genoa (LIMJ), Milan Linate, Rome Ciampino, Olbia, Bologna, Siena and Trapani (LICT).

According to representatives of the founding companies, Italy FBO’s members want to remedy a situation in which operators are allegedly suffering at the hands of what they characterized as “rogue handling providers” who are neither approved nor equipped to provide the services they advertise. A spokesman for the group told AIN that Italy’s complex bureaucracy and inconsistent application of rules has resulted in widespread confusion about which companies can legitimately provide handling services at the country’s airports.

In 1999, new European Union rules required stiffer competition for handling for airports with more than three million passengers per year, or with more than two million in the six months in the period before the preceding April 1 or October 1. In practice, the country’s municipally owned airports in large part resisted implementing the rule, drawing accusations from operators that a lack of competition had resulted in poor service and excessive prices at some locations.

But Italy FBO’s founders say that the pendulum has now swung too far the other way: with relaxation of the handling market, there is excessive competition at smaller airports and confusion about whether handling providers are authorized and equipped to provide the required services. In many cases, the group claims, handling providers are doing no more than remote supervision of handling provided by a third party.

The founders include FBO groups Delta Aerotaxi (present at Florence, Pisa, Perugia, Bari and Brindisi), Venice Aviation (Venice and Treviso) and Sogaerdyn (Cagliari). The group is committed to ensuring operators have access to a dedicated private terminal building and all the trained personnel and equipment needed to provide full-service handling.

Italy FBO will make its public debut at NBAA’s Schedulers & Dispatchers show in San Jose, Calif., from February 3 to 6.