United Airlines will serve Rome year-around from its Newark hub. Might this be a plan to hasten Alitalia’s demise?
Currently, United offers seasonal service to Rome from the following hubs:
- Chicago (ORD)
- Newark (EWR)
- Washington Dulles (IAD)
While ORD and IAD will remain seasonal, Newark will shift to year-around service, with service between three times per week and daily between November 09, 2017 and March 08 2018.
United uses a 767-400 on the route (39 business / 203 economy) during the summer months. During the winter season, United will use a 767-300 (30 business / 184 economy).
Is United Trying to Bankrupt Alitalia?
Beleaguered Alitalia is on the verge of losing its New York City slots, a source of 15% of worldwide revenue. Should Alitalia go under, its daily New York flights would leave a significant gap in service.
United may be trying to hasten Alitalia’s demise by saturating the market with seats. Or perhaps United is betting that Alitalia will go under whether it competes or not and is merely trying to prepare for increased demand once the carrier folds. Perhaps it just wants to discourage American, Delta, or even Emirates from expanding Rome service.
United’s Rome is timed for connections. Atlantic Sales VP Marcel Fuchs stated–
Our service to Rome is timed perfectly for customers making connections from more than 75 cities around the U.S. and Latin America, and it offers our Italian customers another convenient way to see New York or connect to other destinations throughout the U.S.
It’s interesting to me that on this route in which United has chosen to compete on a head-to-head basis with Alitalia, it is not more vocal in condemning Alitalia for continuing to receive “illegal subsidies” that have kept the carrier afloat for years beyond its shelf life. I guess United is too busy being bullied by Emirates and Etihad…
I’m happy to see United will be serving Rome year around, even as I question the motives of the additional service. Whatever the reason, though — keep an eye out of award space. It may be a great opportunity to book a New Year’s trip to Italy.