SEA Prime sees aircraft movements climb since the start of the year

SEA Prime’s FBO facilities, based in Milan, Italy, at Linate and Malpensa airports, saw a 42% year-over-year increase in business jet movements over the past eight first months. This also represents increases of 154 and 29% over the same periods in 2020 and 2019, respectively.

“Last year we recorded over 27,000 movements at the two airports combined and we expect to reach over 30,000 movements this year,” said Chiara Dorigotti, CEO of SEA Prime. The company operates these airports under its Milano Prime brand.

“January to August is looking very good and [we saw] a good September thanks to all the events taking place in Milan,” said Dorigotti. weekend – 336,000, compared to 200,000 in the record year 2019 – was accompanied by an increase in movements managed by SEA Prime of 54% compared to 2019, while 75% of the air traffic managed was international.”

Dorigotti also expressed her satisfaction with participating in EBACE 2022. “There were a lot of people,” she commented. “We were happy to meet in person like we did in the US in April at the NBAA Planners and Dispatchers event in San Diego. This was our first aviation-related event. business for some time.In fact, we were also in Dubai in November 2021 for the air show, which attracted many business aviation exhibitors.

Milano Prime claims to be an important gateway to international and sporting events in Milan, including the Football Champions and Nations Leagues and the Basketball Euroleague. Milan Fashion Week took place at the end of September, alongside other shows like shoe design event MICAM.

“While fuel prices and economic and political uncertainties may have a potential impact, we expect to end this year with solid double-digit growth,” Dorigotti said. “We are looking very carefully at the rising fuel prices and the war-related uncertainty. In terms of traffic trends, in 2021 we have seen a slight change, in the sense that compared to last year, we had more international traffic and less domestic traffic.

“We have seen an increase in intercontinental traffic,” she continued. “Flights to and from North America are up 200% over last year.”

Staff shortages

With regard to airport operations, a staff shortage has impacted business in general in Italy. Employee subsidy regulations meant people were, for the most part, not actually laid off but frozen into furlough schemes. However, the handlers managed to get their staff back.

“As a result, we haven’t seen any significant operational challenges,” Dorigotti remarked. “We can manage the traffic well and the fuel is available. The fact that activity has picked up has not impacted the numbers, but the mix. Domestic flights have decreased because more people are traveling overseas due to the easing of restrictions on international travel.

SEA Prime’s growth remains overall higher than that of Europe. Quoting from WingX data, Dorigotti said Europe had grown 18% this year through July. “By comparison, we’ve seen 35% growth,” she noted. “Milan is still the main business aviation airport for traffic in Italy today. In July, Italy was the third European market. we saw a lot of traffic in vacation spots, like the islands or the south.

Linate has higher traffic volumes; Malpensa Prime has fewer flights, but larger planes. Malpensa is more of an arrival airport, usually for traffic from North America and the Middle East, being close to Lake Como and Lake Maggiore.

“We also see bigger planes around Malpensa Prime as they have two runways that can accommodate BBJs and ACJs,” Dorigotti said. “When we designed it, we were targeting a different type of traffic. It is also very close to Switzerland and Lugano [Italy] and to a number of winter sports destinations in northern Italy. At Malpensa Prime we also accommodate a number of flights, especially for sports teams and music groups, through our dedicated VVIP Prime Fast Track service.

The only FBO operator in Milan, SEA Prime’s ownership is a public-private mix. It is 100% owned by the commercial airport manager of Linate and Malpensa, SEA, the second largest commercial aviation operator in Italy. In turn, SEA is 51% owned by the Municipality of Milan, with the balance held by private equity funds 2i Aeroporti SpA and F2i Sgr SpA.

Immediate expansion plans place infrastructure at the center of development. SEA Prime operates 10 hangars at Linate Prime and a large one at Malpensa Prime. It adds an 11th at Linate, a maintenance hangar that consolidates and expands Bombardier’s authorized service facility operated by Directional Aviation Group’s Sirio. Two more should be ready in time for the Olympic Games hosted by Milan in 2026.

In the longer term, Dorigotti said, operators needed a concession from the government to be eligible to run airports in Italy. Its indirect shareholder owns other Italian airports, including Naples, Olbia and Turin. “In my opinion, it could be interesting to develop a network of business aviation airport managers exploiting commercial and operational synergies,” she said.

“There is definitely potential for organic growth where we are, in Milan, our target today,” Dorigotti concluded. “However, if new opportunities materialize and tenders are issued, we will consider them. Our shareholders will ultimately decide on growth strategy and capital allocation, but we will potentially be active if opportunities arise. present themselves in Italy and, potentially, abroad.”

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