Yesterday, Rome’s Fiumicino airport unveiled its new departures area for non-Schengen citizens — a large wing for international flights carved out of Terminal 3, showcasing avant garde architecture and materials and dedicated to Made in Italy design with its luxury brands and eateries.
The new Area E was finally completed after years of travails, related to the bankruptcy of companies that were awarded the contract. It was inaugurated in grand style, with new Premier Paolo Gentiloni, Infrastructure Minister Graziano Delrio and CEO of Atlantia, Giovanni Castellucci in attendance. Atlantia, which merged with ADR (Rome’s airports operator, Ed’s note) in 2013, took the lead in developing the facility and accelerated the construction process.
“Today is an important milestone, but tomorrow we get back to work,” said Castellucci. “We start immediately on the next challenge of modernizing the Schengen area, demolishing Terminal 2 and building a new area that’s more modern and efficient.” He repeated the group’s mantra for Fiumicino: “We are different. We aren’t making it bigger, we’re restructuring areas that have become inefficient.”
The new space, about 90,000 square feet, cost €390 million. It has 14 boarding gates with “fingers;” eight remote boarding gates; 40 sales points with a strong presence of Italy luxury brands; 10 restaurants and cafes; three lounge areas; and a new baggage sorting system.
Benetton, which owns Atlantia, has a clothing store there as well as outposts of its fast food group Autogrill (including the Bistrot Fiumicino and Caffè Kimbo brands).
Castellucci noted that non-Schengen passengers are a major focus since longer routes are more profitable and bring in passengers willing to spend more on Made in Italy products. The goal is to boost traffic from 44 million passengers currently by 6 million with the new Area E, and to hit 58 million by investing in a new T1 terminal and strengthening T3.
“By 2020, we will have invested about 1.7 billion,” said Premier Gentiloni. “Fiumicino is the front door and the calling card of our nation.”
ADR started ramping up investment in the airport in 2013, moving from €130 million to €430 million in 2016, with €1 billion invested in service. “An increasingly higher quality of service is the real goal to keep in sight,” said Castellucci..
Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) president, Vito Riggio, called Fiumicino “one of the best airports in the world in terms of quality.” “Our competition is in Istanbul and Madrid. Now we are on par with Asian airports, including aesthetically, with the curving steel and architectonic structure. Italy can do it,” he added.
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