Malpensa International Airport is located in the province of Varies, near Milan, Italy. It is one of two main international airports in Milan.
Malpensa International Airport is connected to Milan by the Milano-Varese highway as well by a dedicated train called “Malpensa Express”. Malpensa International Airport is also connected to the other international airport of Milan, Linate, by a scheduled bus service. The Milan airport system has another international airport, Orio as Serio International Airport, which serves the low-cost and charter traffic.
Malpensa International Airport is the main hub of Alitalia, the Italian national flag carrier, with over 19,6 million passengers in the year 2005 (over 29 with Linate, the second airport of Milan, closer to the town and over 33 with Orio Al Serio International Airport, Milan’s low cost airport). This airport is the most important international airport in Italy; Malpensa serves a population of over 15 million people.
Malpensa International Airport has two terminals, T1 for commercial traffic and T2 for charter and low-fares traffic. The T1 has two satellites: A – National and European traffic (Schengen area); B – International traffic (extra Schengen area). The third satellite (C) is under construction and the third runway is going to be built. There is also a dedicated cargo terminal called “CargoCity” with over 380.000 tons of yearly traffic.
Before major improvement work carried out in 1998, Malpensa International Airport was used mostly for long-haul flights to the United States, South Africa, and Asia. Flights to Europe, Middle East and North Africa used Linate airport which is much smaller than the improved Malpensa. Today most of these flights, with the exception of some national and European flights using narrow-bodied aircraft have been transferred from Linate to Malpensa.
Because of flight delays and inconvenience, Malpensa International Airport has been dubbed the worst major airport in Europe by the EU oversight committee governing airports. (Bramblett. Frommer’s Northern Italy 2004, p 260) 2005 traffic
Ground handling services have been slowly deregulated and have seen SEA (the airport authority) create SEA Handling and the arrival of private handler ATA Handling. ATA Handling provides all services apart from bus transport to/from aircraft (subcontracted to SEA Handling) and disabled assistance. Up to 2001 all ground handling services were provided by SEA and TWA. In the first few years of deregulation some airlines put their own staff for customer assistance but Air One and British Airways realised that it was too expensive and so dismissed them. United Airlines stopped flying to Malpensa. To date the only airline with its own check-in staff remains KLM. Passenger handling is provided by SEA Handling, ATA Handling, ARE Group, Globeground Italia and ICTS Italia. Ramp services are provided by SEA Handling and ATA Handling and are both poor quality but are improving. SEA Handling provides 85% of ramp services mostly thanks to its major customer Alitalia.
In May 2006, Italy’s Civil Aviation Authority took off the limitation of two ramp handlers. Aviapartner and ARE Group announced that they would create a new company called Aviapartner (owned 51% by Aviapartner and 49% ARE Group) to serve Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino. There are fears that luggage mishandling will go up.