Many Sardinians who wanted to book a flight home over the Christmas holidays have had to give up: there are very few flights to Sardinia and ticket prices are very high. The situation is not much different for Sardinians who wish to reach mainland Italy. The subsidy system of the so-called “territorial continuity” must guarantee adequate prices for those who live on the island, but even then the places are not enough to meet the high demand. Indeed, Sardinia is less closely associated with Italy than it was in the past: it is a problem that is deeply felt as it affects the lives of thousands of people for whom the only alternative is to spend holidays away from family.
In recent weeks, several Sardinian newspapers have published testimonials of people who have searched in vain for affordable excursions. Many complaints have also been posted on social networks. Now, a month before Christmas, the prices offered by airline websites are high: 600 euros for the return flight from Linate to Cagliari with Volotea, and 680 euros from Fiumicino. The connection between Bergamo and Cagliari costs over 100 euros, one way. On the other hand, from Bologna, the flight to Cagliari on December 23 will cost more than 250 euros, to which additional costs for services and baggage must be added. Prices may go up in the next few days.
Newspaper New Sardinia compare Prices for flights to Sardinia and some intercontinental flights: ITA Airways, the company that replaced Alitalia, offers a flight between Alghero and Linate for 339 euros, 42 euros less than a flight between Rome and New York, with the difference that the first flight is just over An hour to get to the United States need about ten. An alternative is to get to Sardinia by ship, but the journey from Genoa, Livorno or Civitavecchia takes 9-10 hours and a ticket for one without a car costs about 50 euros.
Francesca Guerra, deputy of the Left-Verdi alliance, issued some statements in a question to Transport Minister Matteo Salvini. ITA and Volotea Airlines, He said Ghirra, “progressively reduced the frequency of routes, and at the same time raised fares for non-residents to the extent of mandating the payment of €400 for a one-way trip from Cagliari to Milan. The daily connections from Cagliari to Linate increased from 6 to 4 and those to Rome from 7 to 6.” At Olbia Airport, there are 3 connections to Rome and only 2 to Milan ».
The drop in daily flights makes the so-called regional continuity, which has been in operation since 2000, much less effective. In short, regional continuity is the set of legislative tools with which the state assists airlines so that certain categories of travelers have discounted fares for their flights to and from the region. Preferential fares are made possible by public funds awarded through tenders to one or more airlines. Sardinia has three main airports: Cagliari, Alghero and Olbia. Regional continuity concerns the flights connecting these three airports with Rome Fiumicino and Milan Linate.
Regional continuity guarantees reduced prices: 39 euros for connecting with Roma Fiumicino and 47 euros, always tax excluding, for those with Milan Linate. These rates are intended exclusively for people living in Sardinia, for people with disabilities of any nationality or place of residence, university students up to 27 years old, young people from 2 to 21 years old, senior citizens over 70 years of age, as well as in this case from any nationality or residence.
The controlled rate is calculated in a simple way: it is the actual hourly cost of the flight to which the company’s profit of between 4 and 6 percent is added. The companies are also entitled to an annual compensation guaranteed by the region of up to 46 million euros this year. From 2012 until 2021, prices were also regulated for non-residents through the so-called “single tariff”, which was later canceled with the 2021 tender. A 44% reduction and the number of available seats per day decreased by 27%, ”Guerra said. “The current situation is really unbearable.”
Last year’s advocacy of regional continuity And won From the low-cost airline Volotea thanks to a 50% discount on compensation. ITA Airways, the disqualified company, has appealed to the Administrative Tribunal of Sardinia (TAR), losing it. On March 22, Volotea, with its contract expiring, announced its intention to ensure regional continuity without any compensation, but a refund thanks to substantial ticket price increases for non-residents. At that point also ITA Airways suggest To guarantee the service without compensation e I found an agreement With Volotea to share connected routes until May 14, 2023, but at the end of summer both companies They communicated To the Sardinian region early termination of the contract. In a memo, Volotea confirmed the termination “in the face of rising inflation and the current cost of fuel.”
At the end of October the region published The new tender for territorial continuity, which provides for compensation of 52 million euros, 6 more than the previous bid. At the moment, it appears that no airline has applied: there is a time until December 27, when the bid expires. The result is that for the time being, ITA Airways and Volotea have only scheduled flights to Sardinia until the expiration of the obligation to maintain the service prescribed by law: on the websites of the two companies it is not possible to book flights to Sardinia from mid-February.
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