Italian national airline, Alitalia presented a new non-stop service between Milan and Shanghai earlier this week, marking a further stage in the development of the airline’s Asian connections.
The flight was launched alongside the inauguration of Expo Milano 2015, and is an important move for the airline, according to Alitalia Chair, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo.
"Today China represents a fundamental market for our country, which must aim at growth of Chinese investments and tourism. I believe that the Milan-Shanghai flight, to be followed by Rome-Beijing, will establish a very important bridge. There is hunger for China in Italy," he said
Airbus A330 aircraft with 250 seats will service the route, departing from Milan Malpensa every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at06:10am, arriving into Pudong at 23:30 local time. The return journey will depart from Shanghai’s Pudong Airport every Monday, Thursday and Saturday at 00:50am, arriving into Milan at 07:20am.
In addition to the new flights to Shanghai and the daily flights to Abu Dhabi, Alitalia has also strengthened its connections on the Milan – Tokyo route, which are now daily as daily are the flights to New York’s JFK airport.
Silvano Cassano, Alitalia’s CEO, said: “The Milan-Shanghai route is the third long-haul service we have launched in just over a month. Alitalia continues to focus on the development of intercontinental routes, in particular to the Far East, the area of the world with the highest growth rates and where Alitalia intends to further invest. Within this year the connections with Seoul and Beijing will be launched and, together with the presentation of the new brand and aircraft’s configuration, this represents the most concrete evidence of the ambitions of Alitalia’s relaunch plan".
Alitalia has become the leading airline out of Malpensa by number of intercontinental destinations and, over the next three years, the Company aims to increase the number of passengers on intercontinental flights departing or arriving at Milan Malpensa airport by 130 percent.
The Alitalia strategy also envisages a fleet renewal, with new liveries and renovated interiors by the end of June.
As part of its 2015 summer schedule, the airline flies to 102 destinations, including 27 Italian and 75 international destinations, with a total of 164 routes and about 4,500 weekly flights.