Linate and Malpensa airports

Linate airport

Regional placement

Linate airport is situated within the Milan urban belt, in the South-East of the province. It occupies a total area of approx. 350 hectares and almost entirely within the municipality of Peschiera Borromeo and, to a lesser extent, in the municipalities of Segrate and Milan. Forlanini Park, one of the major urban parks in Milan, and the Idroscalo Lake adjoin the airport.

Linate – Airport map, air-side

Linate - Planimetria dell’aeroporto, air-side

The airport is dedicated primarily to a frequent flyer type client, on particularly attractive domestic and international routes (these latter both within the European Union and outside). In 2014, Linate handled 6.0% of passengers, 7.9% of aircraft movements and 1.8% of cargo in Italy1

Infrastructural characteristics

The airport has two runways for take-off and landing, of which the first (length of 2,442 metres) for commercial aviation and the second (length of 601 metres) for General Aviation. The flight infrastructure contains a taxiway of approx. 2,100 meters, a system of link roads of approx. 4,000 meters and 2 aircraft aprons. There are 45 stands with a simultaneous capacity of 40 aircraft.

Linate Airport Table

Traffic Year 2014 Change 14/13ITA Rank
Passengers 8,984,285 0.0% 3rd
Movements 90,833 -0.3% 3rd
Competitive profile
Number of Airlines (with at least 10 movements per year) 21
Number of airports reachable within a day 400
% of EU GDP reachable within 4 hours 95.5%
% of ASK of the principal airline 54.6% (Alitalia)
Operating standards – 2013
Departure punctuality (delays less than 15 minutes) 90.9%
Delivery of first bag within 18 minutes 95.8%
Number of misdirected bags / 1,000 passengers 3.1
Infrastructural characteristics
Surface area 350 ha
Number or runways 2
Number of aircraft stands 45
Number of check-in desks 83
Number of departure gates 24
Terminal surface area dedicated to commercial activity 21%
Cargo warehouse surface area 16,800 m2
Cargo movements capacity 80-100 thousand t/yr.
Cogeneration station – installed electric capacity 24 MWe
Cogeneration station – installed thermal capacity 18 MWt
No. of car parks 3
Number of parking spaces reserved for passengers 3,779
Number of parking spaces reserved for airport operators 1,850
Number of taxi spaces 169

Sources: SEA, Assaeroporti (www.assaeroporti.it), ICCSAI Fact Book 2014

The passenger area extends over 3 levels for a total area of 75,000 m2 (of which approx. 33,000 open to the public), with 83 check-in counters and 24 gates, of which 5 served by loading bridges and the remaining utilised by aircraft positioned in remote parking reachable by runway shuttle buses. 21% of the airport surface open to the public is dedicated to commercial activities (sales points and catering, car hire and banking services) and 7.5% to services provided by the airlines (check-in counters and ticket counters). The cargo area utilises a cargo warehouse of approx. 16,800 m2, with a capacity to handle 80-100,000 tonnes per year. 

Traffic model

The Linate traffic model is based on the so-called traditional “Point to point” model, which is centred on serving two airports through direct flights, without the option for connecting flights to other destinations on the same ticket. The traffic model: 

  • is subject to limitations, in terms of operable destinations, established by the Bersani 1 Decree and the Bersani bis Decree;
  • in consideration of the almost total absence of transiting passengers, does not specifically dedicated infrastructure for the management of this type of passenger; 
  • considering the airport capacity limit allocated, no traffic peaks are present within the day; 
  • due to the focus on business clients, expects almost constant traffic volumes throughout the week, against a reduction in such volumes at the weekend.
(1) Source: Assaeroporti (www.assaeroporti.it).

Malpensa airport

Regional placement

Malpensa airport is located on the Lombardy plateau in the South-West of Varese province, 48 KM from Milan, with rail connections to the city (29 minutes from the city centre) and a road system, including a Motorway, which connects the airport with the major regions of Northern Italy and Switzerland.

Malpensa – Airport map, air-side

Malpensa airport map. airside

The airport covers 1,220 hectares within 7 municipalities: Somma Lombardo, Casorate Sempione, Cardano al Campo, Samarate, Ferno, Lonate Pozzolo and Vizzola Ticino. 

It is surrounded by a wooded area which thins out towards the municipalities, leaving space for planting. All airport grounds are within the Lombardy Valle del Ticino Park, the largest regional park in Italy, created in 1974 to protect the rivers and the numerous natural habitats of the Valle del Ticino from industrialisation and encroaching urbanisation and to safeguard the rich biodiversity heritage.

The Malpensa airport ranks second in Italy for overall aircraft movements and passenger numbers. In 2014, Malpensa managed 11.6% of overall movements, 12.5% of passenger traffic and 49.3% of cargo transported in Italy2.

Infrastructural characteristics

The airport utilises two parallel runways, with 808 metres between them, measuring 3,920 metres each and capable of handling all aircraft in service. The runways do not permit parallel independent approaches. The taxiing and connection roadways cover approx. 19.4 km in total (28.5 km if considering also the stand taxiways). The 203 stands for aircraft – of which 111 at Malpensa 1, 43 at Malpensa 2 and 49 at Malpensa Cargo – allow a maximum capacity of 155 aircrafts.

Malpensa Airport Table

Traffic Year 2014 Change 14/13 ITA Rank
Passengers 18,669,740 5% 2nd
Cargo (tonnes/year) 459,696 9.1% 1st
Movements 162,953 1.4% 2nd
Competitive profile
Number of Airlines (with at least 10 movements per year) 125
Number of airports reachable within a day 403
% of EU GDP reachable within 4 hours 99.9%
% of ASK of the principal airline 14.3% (easyJet)
Global connectivity rank 26th
European connectivity rank 19th
Operating standards – 2013
Departing punctuality 84.5%
Delivery of first bag within 27 minutes
Malpensa 1 96.6%
Malpensa 2 94.0%
Number of misdirected bags / 1,000 passengers 1.7
Infrastructural characteristics
Surface area 1,220 ha
Number or runways 2
Number of aircraft stands 203
Number of check-in desks:
•  Malpensa 1 286
•  Malpensa 2 57
Number of departure gates
•  Malpensa 1 76
•  Malpensa 2 27
Terminal surface area dedicated to commercial activity
•  Malpensa 1 16.0% of the surface area open to the public
•  Malpensa 2 17.8% of the surface area open to the public
Baggage Handling System Malpensa 1 10,650 bags/hour
Baggage Handling System Malpensa 2 4,800 bags/hour
Number of baggage delivery carousels
•  Malpensa 1 10
•  Malpensa 2 5
Cargo movements capacity 500-560.000 ton/yr.
Cogeneration station – installed electric capacity 70 MWe
Cogeneration station – installed thermal capacity 62 MWt
No. of car parks
•  Malpensa 1 4
•  Malpensa 2 1
Number of parking spaces reserved for passenger
•  Malpensa 1 7,457
•  Malpensa 2 1,490
Number of parking spaces reserved for airport operators
•  Malpensa 1 2,563
•  Malpensa 2 1,160
•  Interim area Malpensa 1-Malpensa 2 1,609
•  Malpensa Cargo 1,159
Number of taxi spaces
•  Malpensa 1 280
•  Malpensa 2 20

Sources: SEA, Assaeroporti (www.assaeroporti.it), ICCSAI Fact Book 2014

There are 2 airports for passengers. Malpensa 1, operative since 1998, was constructed according to a modular plan and comprises a core structure (comprising 6 floors) and three satellite structures with airport stands, to which the passenger piers are connected. The third satellite (north) was opened to traffic in January 2013.

The three satellites are connected to the core building by a double tunnel for arriving and departing passengers and a covered corridor for the movement of bags. 

It has 286 check-in counters and 76 gates, of which 30 served by 41 loading bridges and with the remaining for aircraft positioned in parking, reachable with shuttle runway bus. 

Approx. 16% of the surface area open to the public is dedicated to commercial activities (sales points and catering, car hire and banking services). 

Malpensa 2 has 57 check-in counters and 27 gates for parked aircraft reachable by runway buses. Approx. 17.8% of the surface area open to the public is dedicated to commercial activities. 

Malpensa Cargo utilises warehouses with a surface area of 50,000 m2 and has a capacity of between 500,000 and 560,000 tonnes of cargo annually. 

The airport also has a hanger for the recovery and maintenance of aircraft and office space. 

Traffic model

The traffic model developed and managed by Malpensa airport is categorised as “Big Point”, i.e. a hybrid traffic model which combines “Point to point” services (which is centred on serving two airports through direct flights, without the option for connecting flights to other destinations on the same ticket) with the feeder system derived from the hub model which directs passengers toward long haul final destinations. This hybrid system may be developed in the presence of a large user base, so as to guarantee passenger traffic volumes which attract airlines capable of offering a wide range of flight connections. Under this model the airport both connects short range destinations and feeds transiting passengers to long haul destinations.

The traffic model developed and managed by Malpensa airport in the passenger sector features a large number of airlines. The user base in fact can generate significant volumes of passenger traffic on routes independent of the operating airlines, allowing the differentiation of the flight offer among more airlines and facilitating any replacements required.

In the cargo segment, Malpensa airport operates within a user base with a high demand for air cargo transport, which is not entirely satisfied by the offer of air cargo flights by the airlines within this area. Part of the cargo generated in this basin is transported by road to airports within other European countries (the so called “cargo exodus“).

(2) Source: Assaeroporti (www.assaeroporti.it).