Italy minister wants airlines to explain “unjustified” fare hikes

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Italy’s Industry Minister Adolfo Urso has lamented that airlines benefiting from the country’s tourist boom have hiked their prices too much, and demanded an explanation.

Urso instructed the government-appointed inflation watchdog to summon the main airlines operating on Italian routes for meetings on Tuesday because current fares “are not justified even by inflation.”

The meetings will be held remotely, one-to-one, with Ryanair, Wizz Air, EasyJet, AeroItalia, ITA Airways and NEOS, Urso’s spokesman said, confirming the minister’s comments which were made to Italian news agency AdnKronos.

In recent months Urso has convened similar talks over the price of pasta and baby products.

It remains to be seen whether the panel of public bodies and consumer associations which was set up to monitor unusual price movements can affect producers’ and retailers’ actions, but Urso said it would exert its “moral suasion”.

Italy’s tourist association Assoturismo forecasts arrivals this summer to top their bumper pre-COVID levels of 2019, and airlines have raised prices in response to the demand.

In December, Italy’s antitrust regulator opened an inquiry into possible price-fixing for flights in and out of the island of Sicily by airlines including Ryanair RYA.I, Wizz Air WIZZ.L and easyJet EZJ.L.

On Monday the civil aviation authority Enac said it had held a meeting with airlines to make sure they were prepared to ensure “safety and efficiency” ahead of the increase in traffic expected over the peak summer months of July and August.

Italian inflation, which surged to a peak of 12.6% in November, has trended downwards since then, and stood at 6.7% in June. Prices in the transport sector, which includes airline fares, were down 0.2% year-on-year.

via Reuters

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