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Commercial Aviation

Traffic data

Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate airport traffic

  MovementsPassengers (1) Cargo (tonnes) (2)
% vs 2016
% vs 2016
% vs 2016
Malpensa 174,754 7.4% 22,037.2 14.1% 576,539 7.4%
Linate 96,467 -1.4% 9,503.1 -1.4% 11,937 -4.9%
Total commercial traffic 271,221 4.1% 31,540.3 9.0% 588.476 7.1%

(1) Arriving+departing passengers (‘000)
(2) Arriving+departing cargo in tonnes

The Milan airport system managed by the SEA Group enjoyed a significant increase in volumes in 2017 to 31.5 million passengers, an improvement of 9.0% on the previous year.

This performance was due entirely to Malpensa airport, which exceeded 22 million passengers, an increase of 14.1% compared with 2016, whereas Linate posted a decline of 1.4% in terms of both passengers and flights.

The growth at Malpensa was driven by the rise in traffic at Terminal 1 (+18.4%), which served 2.3 million additional passengers, and the growth recorded by easyJet in Terminal 2 (+6.1%), which reached 7.2 million passengers.  

All traffic segments grew at Terminal 1: Ryanair contributed 813 thousand more passengers than in 2016, whereas the transfer of KLM and Air France from Linate brought an increase of 517 thousand passengers. Together, the other low-cost carriers recorded growth of 306 thousand passengers (+17.6%), of which Vueling contributed 140 thousand passengers (+20.9%). The intercontinental segment added 311 thousand passengers (+5.7%) and the other legacy carriers also grew (+677 thousand passengers, +6.7%).

There were 5.8 million total intercontinental passengers at Malpensa airport. Airlines serving long-haul areas other than North Africa carried 5.1 million passengers in 2017, an increase of 4.3%.

The decline in traffic volumes at Linate was chiefly due to the transfer of the KLM and Air France flights to Malpensa starting in the summer (-440 thousand passengers compared with the previous year), in addition to the cancellation of flight operations by Air Berlin starting in the winter.

The following is a breakdown of passenger traffic within the Milan airport system by major destinations served and the main airlines present.

  Year 2017cge. % 2016% of total
1 LONDON 2,423.2 7.2% 8%
2 PARIS 1,871.9 11.3% 6%
3 CATANIA 1,542.8 29.6% 5%
4 ROME 1,265.3 -14.5% 4%
5 AMSTERDAM 1,195.3 7.2% 4%
6 NAPLES 864.7 -1.4% 3%
7 MADRID 829.8 0.9% 3%
8 FRANKFURT 826.1 7.7% 3%
9 BARCELONA 825.5 9.7% 3%
10 NEW YORK 818.7 -2.7% 3%
11 CAGLIARI 810.0 12.5% 3%
12 PALERMO 764.0 11.8% 2%
13 DUBAI 660.8 12.5% 2%
14 OLBIA 647.9 4.9% 2%
15 BRUSSELS 644.4 31.0% 2%
  Others 15,549.9 10.6% 49%
  Total 31,540.3 9.0% 100%

London: Heathrow, Gatwick, City, Luton and Stansted; Paris: Charles de Gaulle, Orly; Rome: Fiumicino, Ciampino; New York: New York and Newark

Major destinations by number of passengers served by the Milan airport system (thousands)

In 2017 London remained the number-one destination in Europe, with over 2.4 million passengers served. Paris (Charles de Gaulle and Orly) was in second place, followed by Amsterdam and Madrid.  New York and Dubai remained the top two intercontinental destinations. At the domestic level, Catania pulled ahead of Rome, which continued to account for a declining share of traffic, to become the top destination served from Milan, while Naples remained number-three.

Main airlines by passengers served by the Milan airport system (thousands)

  Year 2017Year % 2016% of totale
1 Easyjet 7,869.3 6.4% 25%
2 Alitalia 6,054.1 -2.9% 19%
3 Lufthansa 1,519.6 9.1% 5%
4 Ryanair 1,477.7 122.2% 5%
5 Meridiana Fly 1,224.2 3.9% 4%
6 Emirates 918.2 8.6% 3%
7 British Airways 815.0 17.3% 3%
8 Vueling Airlines S,A, 806.9 20.9% 3%
9 Neos 604.8 18.6% 2%
10 Air France 559.7 9.7% 2%
11 Iberia 437.4 2.2% 1%
12 Turkish Airlines 427.9 6.6% 1%
13 Blue Panorama 422.8 37.1% 1%
14 Klm 415.0 7.7% 1%
15 Aeroflot 373.5 19.8% 1%
  Others 7,614.3 8.5% 24%
  Total 31,540.3 9.0% 100%

easyJet remained the number-one carrier in terms of traffic volume served at the Milan airports (Linate and Malpensa), with market share of 24.9% of total passengers served (compared with 25.5% in 2016). Alitalia, the number-two carrier, had market share of 19.2% (down from 21.5% in the previous year). Lufthansa remained in third place, followed by Ryanair in fourth place, with 1.5 million passengers served at Malpensa only (up from eighth place in 2016).


In 2017, Malpensa served more than 22 million passengers, an increase of 14.1%.



Domestic traffic increased by 17.5%, due almost entirely to Ryanair, which in November 2017 added services to Palermo and Lamezia Terme, in addition to Comiso (December 2015) and Catania (November 2016). Air Italy (formerly Meridiana Fly) increased by 58%, contributing 51 thousand passengers, making it the number-two carrier by number of passengers served, with increases in service to Cagliari and Olbia.

European traffic increased by 17.4%. In addition to consolidating services to previous destinations, Ryanair expanded its network in November 2017, adding flights to Valencia, Liverpool, Alicante and Katowice. European traffic growth was significantly influenced by the transfer from Linate to Malpensa of flights to Amsterdam and Paris Charles de Gaulle operated by KLM and Air France. EasyJet introduced services to six new destinations – Stockholm, Granada, Santiago de Compostela, Zadar, Lublino and Fuerteventura – recording a significant increase in European traffic of 5.7%, due to the increase in the average size of the aircraft and a higher load factor, as the number of flights remained unchanged.

Vueling increased the number of flights to Barcelona and enhanced service to Paris Orly and Amsterdam.

In 2017 a total of 5.8 million passengers travelled to intercontinental destinations, an increase of 5.7% or 311 thousand more passengers than in 2016.

Long-haul traffic (North Africa not included) stood at 5.1 million passengers served, +4.3% on the previous year. A breakdown of passengers by geographical area is provided below:

  1. Middle East (45% of the total segment, +4.8% on 2016): this result was driven by an increase in the average load factor of the aircraft from 68% to 72%. The capacity available fell, in terms of both the average size of the aircraft and the number of flights. All players who serve destinations in the area (Emirates, Turkish Airways, Atlas Global, EasyJet, Elal and Oman Air) reported increases, whereas the traffic generated by Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways remained essentially unchanged and Alitalia cancelled its flight to Abu Dhabi starting in September.
  2. Far East (20% of the total segment, +9.0% on 2016): this result was driven by both an increase in capacity and the number of flights, in addition to a higher load factor. For China, Neos added three destinations in summer 2017, and Air Italy (formerly Meridiana Fly) one in August. Air China, Air India and Cathay reported positive results. Alitalia posted a decline (Tokyo Narita).
  3. North America (20% of the total segment, +1.5% on 2016): this result was shaped by the greater number of flights and seats available, while the load factor fell. Delta Airlines registered growth, moving up the launch of summer services to Atlanta by one month, as did American Airlines and Air Canada, which increased the size of the aircraft used for flights to Miami and Toronto, respectively, during the summer. United Airlines declined due to a lower load factor.
  4. Central/South America (10% of the segment total, -5.3% on 2016): passengers fell due to a decline in flights and seats available, while the load factor remained largely unchanged. TAM served fewer passengers due to a reduction in the capacity offered, with a decrease by Blue Panorama as well, whereas Neos increased passengers carried to destinations in the Caribbean.
  5. Central/South Africa (5% of the segment total, +16.8% on 2016): this result was shaped by the increase in the number flights and larger average aircraft, whereas the load factor fell. Air Italy (formerly Meridiana Fly) remained the major player in the area, primarily serving the leisure segment.

North Africa (12% of the intercontinental segment, +17% on 2016), which had suffered from geopolitical instability in the previous year, reversed the trend in 2017, with an increase of 100 thousand passengers to almost 700 thousand served. Air Italy (formerly Meridiana Fly) contributed significantly to this result, doubling the number of passengers carried to Egypt.

Malpensa Cargo

In 2017, cargo traffic through Malpensa Airport, the confirmed nerve centre for goods distribution in Italy, once again demonstrates the positive trend of recent years with an increase of 7.4%, moving 577 thousand tons of processed cargo - import growth of 9.3% and an export growth of 6.1%.

Geographical distribution showed greater traffic to Asian regions, the Middle East and Europe.

All-cargo traffic processed 421 thousand tons of goods, registering a growth of 8.8% compared to 2016, with the main contributions coming from companies such as Cargolux Group (+12.6%), Turkish Cargo (+64.7%) and Saudi Airlines Cargo (+ 54.4%).

Within the all-cargo segment, the main courier carriers (Federal Express, DHL and Aerologic) handled 72 thousand tons of goods (+2.2%), representing about 17% of processed cargo.

Belly traffic, with 155 thousand tons of transported goods, grew by 3.8%. Emirates confirmed itself as the main carrier by quantity of goods handled, while, considering the growth in absolute values the main contributions came from Qatar Airways, American Airlines, Oman Air, Air India, Air China and Etihad.



The % change refers to a comparison with the previous year


Linate airport handled 9.5 million passengers, down on the previous year (-1.4%).



Domestic traffic was substantially in line with 2016 (+0.6%). Alitalia recorded a 2.9% growth from the destinations of Cagliari, Bari, Palermo, Alghero and Pescara, making up for a fall in traffic from Reggio Calabria and Comiso.

The Linate-Fiumicino shuttle service retained substantially the same traffic as the previous year, once again achieving around 1.2 million passengers (-0.4%). The result recorded by Air Italy (formerly Meridiana Fly), down 21.1%, was mainly due to the cancellation of flights to Catania from September on.

European traffic decreased by 3.4%, mainly due to the transfer of Air France and KLM to Malpensa beginning in summer 2017 (down 440 thousand passengers, from 822 thousand passengers in 2016 to 382 thousand in 2017). The result was also affected by the winding down of Air Berlin in November.

In contrast, Alitalia saw a growth of 2.7% to Paris Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam and Brussels, slightly offset by the cancellation to flights to Berlin from November. EasyJet increased load factors on all routes served (Paris Charles de Gaulle, London Gatwick, Paris Orly and Amsterdam). British Airways increased passenger numbers on all three connections to London, mainly London City and London Stansted, which started running in April. Growth was also seen by Lufthansa to Frankfurt and Brussels Airlines to Brussels.


In the year 2017, the Commercial Aviation business generated a total operating income of Euro 670,856 thousand, up by Euro 44,986 thousand over the previous year (Euro 625,870 thousand) corresponding to +7.2%.

The financial year 2017 includes non-recurring revenues for a total of Euro 2,837 thousand, mainly due to the partial reimbursement of the fine imposed by the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) relating to proceedings initiated following the acquisition of SEA Prime amounting to Euro 2,337 thousand. Moreover, a penalty of Euro 500 thousand was enforced in the year under review for late delivery by a supplier. Net of these items, revenue growth compared to the previous year was Euro 42,148 thousand (+6.7%). This growth mainly results from:

  • Aviation activities for Euro 32,910 thousand (from Euro 408,970 thousand in 2016 to Euro 441,880 thousand in 2017). Higher traffic volumes of Euro 30,300 thousand primarily contributed to this increase (+7.4%) (including higher revenues from de-icing services), together with the increase in airport tariffs of Euro 2,524 thousand and higher revenues from regulated spaces for Euro 95 thousand.
  • Non-Aviation activities for Euro 9,239 thousand (from Euro 216,900 thousand in 2016 to Euro 226,139 thousand in 2017). This performance was mainly due to good results in the Retail divisions (Shops, Food & Beverage, Car Rentals and Banks) for Euro 5,042 thousand (+5.6%) and Parking for Euro 3,832 thousand (+6.4%). Revenues were in line with the previous year, +Euro 158 thousand as regards the Premium Services division (VIP lounges and Fast Track) and Advertising, while the Real Estate business decreased over 2016 by Euro 727 thousand. This was mainly due to the re-negotiation of some contracts with State Bodies. Revenues from the Cargo division amounted to Euro 15,295 thousand, an increase of Euro 2,606 thousand compared to 2016 (+20.5%) due to the entry into service of the new FedEx and DHL warehouses. On the other hand, revenues from services fell by Euro 1,672 thousand over 2016, due to the closure of ticketing services and the end of the agreement with "Puerta del Sur" airport.

In the Retail division, revenues from Shops registered growth of Euro 2,440 thousand (+5.2%). The improvement of the commercial offer in Terminal 1, through the optimised positioning of shops and the opening of new sales outlets, contributed to this result. Revenues from the Food & Beverage segment grew by Euro 1,013 thousand (+5.3%). In particular, good performances were returned by "Ferrari Spazio Bollicine" and the adjacent Panino Giusto. The excellent general catering performance at Malpensa Terminal 1 is worth noting. This was further strengthened by the reconversion of an area of approximately 1,000 sq. m in the Schengen boarding area. Revenues from the Car Rental division returned growth of Euro 1,618 thousand over 2016 (+11.0%), mainly due to the good performance of Malpensa operators through the creation of new parking spaces and the opening of new spaces inside Terminal 2’s railway station, thus making the entry of new operators possible. Revenues from Banking Services grew Euro 233 thousand over the previous year (+2.5%), mainly attributable to favourable Tax Refunds and bureaux de change activities. In general, Linate and Malpensa recorded an increase in revenues from commercial activities to the B2B and B2C markets despite the impact of subway line 4’s construction site on Linate. The performance of parking management at the Bergamo Orio al Serio airport was also strong, driven by the increase in online sales.

Operating costs

Operating costs for the Commercial Aviation business rose from Euro 403,303 thousand in 2016 to Euro 439,696 thousand in 2017, an increase of Euro 36,393 thousand (+9.0%).

Net of non-recurring cost items amounting to Euro 23,912 thousand in 2017 and Euro 5,459 thousand in 2016, operating costs increased by Euro 17,940 thousand (+4.5%).

Personnel costs, excluding non-recurring items (Euro 23,716 thousand in 2017 and Euro 4,019 thousand in 2016 related to staff mobility incentives), were up Euro 8,629 thousand (+4.9%), due to the recognition of a reward contribution linked to the achievement of company performance objectives. It also included the relative allocation for the National Collective Labour Agreement’s renewal signed in 2014 and which expired at the end of 2016.

Operating and material costs, net of non-recurring items, increased overall by Euro 9,311 thousand. This was caused by the reduction in methane costs due to lower unit prices compared to the previous year (-Euro 5,720 thousand) and the decrease in operating costs of Euro 1,756 thousand (and, in particular, maintenance and entertainment costs). These were partially offset by higher costs of Euro 470 thousand related to security activities, Euro 1,103 thousand in chemical products for the de-icing service and snow management services and Euro 714 thousand in costs to public bodies.

Costs directly linked to revenues and traffic, amounting to Euro 14,500 thousand, rose on the previous year.


As a result of the trends outlined above, EBITDA was Euro 233,435 thousand (Euro 226,076 in 2016) and registered an increase of Euro 7,359 thousand over the previous year, equivalent to 3.3%.

Net of non-recurring items, the 2017 EBITDA stood at Euro 254,510 thousand (Euro 231,535 thousand in 2016), up Euro 22,975 thousand over 2016 (+9.9%).

Amortisation and depreciation, and net provisions for recovery, risks and charges and doubtful debt, are higher than the previous year by Euro 30,432 thousand, mainly as a result of the provisions related to the past loan (prior to May 2, 2017) to Alitalia SAI in Extraordinary Administration, for an amount of Euro 25,252 thousand. There is currently no guarantee on its collection.

A write-down of Euro 3,476 thousand was recognised in order to adjust the assets related to Airport Handling.

As a result, EBIT for the Commercial Aviation business amounts to Euro 121,800 thousand, down by Euro 23,073 thousand (-15.9%) over the previous year and equivalent to Euro 144,873 thousand.

Not considering non-recurring items which at the EBIT level in 2017, in addition to the items mentioned above, also include Euro 25,252 thousand related to Alitalia doubtful debt provisions, the 2017 EBIT stands at Euro 171,605 thousand, up Euro 21,273 thousand or 14.2%, while in 2016 amounting to Euro 150,332 thousand.

Other information

Investments/Aviation Spaces Development

The trend in the demand for premises at the airport that began in recent years continued in 2017, with a decline in demand for spaces zoned for office use, as forecast in the budget.

A summary of major events relating to the development of airport premises in 2017 is provided below:

  • in July 2017, premises located in the Malpensa T1 Schengen boarding area were handed over to Lufthansa to build a new lounge, which will replace the current facility;
  • new premises were acquired by Ernest for use as offices and ticketing desks and by Neos for use as a new Crew Briefing Centre.

Retail development

Retail traffic development benefited from the increase in passenger traffic. The most noteworthy event in 2017 from a commercial standpoint was the gradual transformation of the passenger foot traffic layout and retail stores in the Malpensa Terminal 1 Schengen boarding areas, a project that represented the culmination of the restructuring process that had begun in 2013.

The retail profile of Terminal 1 was completely redesigned to suit the various segments of demand created by the shared use of the same passenger boarding areas by low-cost airlines and legacy short, medium and long-haul carriers, for example by increasing food and beverage offerings rather than shops, similar to recent trends in travel retail and shopping centres, in pursuit of increasingly varied, diversified, modern and international offerings.

The construction work focused on the Schengen boarding area, where the commercial plaza was fully renovated in the second half of the year, installing new furnishings and changing the foot traffic layout. In 2017 some stores such as Moleskine, Mandarina Duck, Venchi, Unieuro and Coccinelle moved to bigger new locations, whereas Boggi completely restyled its shop.

The completion of the restyling project also brought in new brands such as Blue Spirit/Morellato, Benetton, Bottega Verde, Nau Ottica, Daniel Wellington and, most recently, Carpisa Go.

In the non-Schengen boarding area, an agreement was reached late in the year with Loro Piana, a part of the LVMH Group, which will open a shop in early 2018, and in November DoDo – a Kering Group brand – opened a kiosk. In addition, the Gucci brand watch and jewellery kiosk doubled its floor space and updated its image in October.

New store openings at Linate included DoDo in February and the Tumi/Samsonite store in September, in the airside area.

Self-service Bag Drop

All airlines operating at the airports have been presented with various options for adopting the technology at the Linate and Malpensa airports, with the aim of obtaining feedback as to their preferences in the matter, on the basis of which SEA will design a project to introduce a self-service bag drop that is as suited to the airlines' needs as possible.

Ground travel connections

Various ground transport initiatives are currently being analysed and developed with the aim of broadening the airport's catchment area and improving customer service.  The main such initiatives include collaboration with various airlines and other road and rail transport providers and the distribution of connecting flights on the various sales channels. Another such initiative is the project involving Busitalia, a company owned by Ferrovie dello Stato that in February 2018 began to offer bus services on the routes Liguria-Malpensa and Trieste-Malpensa-Turin.

Destination management and co-marketing activity

Collaborative efforts with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, Ministry for Economic Development, Federturismo, Assolombarda, the Chamber of Commerce, the Municipality of Milan and the Region of Lombardy continued in 2017 with the aim of increasing the international visibility of Milan's airports and the local area. The initiatives related to Citi2City projects, candidacy for international events, planning and circulation of the Destination Newsletter (B2C and B2B) to promote Milan and Lombardy and organisation of events at Malpensa to introduce new airlines.

Bilateral Agreements

In May negotiations were conducted with Russian aviation authorities, resulting in the signing of a new agreement that calls for greater frequency of service to Moscow and trans-Siberian routes, in addition to an increase in destinations.

In June the bilateral agreement with Australia was revised to include the new option of operating all-cargo flights and the partial deregulation of the capacity of flights operated in codesharing via third countries and with the Russian authorities for the increase of flights on various routes from Moscow and the expansion of destinations.

In December twelve new bilateral agreements were signed, some with countries with which there was no prior aviation agreement, others involving an increase in flights and destinations.