Flying high, Eurofly to expand U.S. service, add business flights

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Cabin Key: Eurofly

Addresses: Via E. Bugatti 15, Milan 20142, Italy; or JFK International Airport, Terminal 4, Room 275.194, B Concourse, Jamaica, N.Y. 11430 USA

Reservations: (800) 459-0581

Phone: (011) 39-091 500-7704; (718) 751-4499

Fax: (011) 39-091 500-7703; (718) 751-4498

E-mail:[email protected]

Web:www.euroflyusa.com; www.eurofly.it

Fares: Roundtrip economy fares for 2005 from New York start at $649 to Naples or Bologna and $749 to Palermo, Sicily.

Commission: Negotiated

Aircraft: One business-class Airbus A319; three two-class Airbus A330s; eight Airbus A320s

Review: Two recent Eurofly flights in economy class on new, widebody Airbus A330s proved comfortable and relatively stylish. Industry-standard seats, in 2-4-2 configuration, come equipped with seatback audio/video offering five current films, eight music channels, cartoons and games. Onboard meals consisted of a boxed lunch or dinner, a snack or breakfast one hour before landing and three beverage services. Bilingual crew was efficient, courteous and neat. Departures and arrivals in New York, Naples and Bologna were timely. -- K.K.

NAPLES, Italy -- Alitalia spin-off and onetime short-haul charter airline Eurofly next year will expand service between New York and three Italian cities.

Eurofly this summer launched seasonal, five-times weekly service. It will extend its operating season and introducing all-business-class flights to Milan.

Eurofly, which flew June 1 to Sept. 18 this summer, next year plans to again offer leisure flights from New York to Bologna, Naples and Palermo, Sicily, from May 11 to Nov. 11.

The airline will also add a second weekly flight to Palermo in the summer.

Rosario Mariani, director of Italy product development at Bloomfield, N.J.-based Club ABC Tours, which represents the airline in the U.S., said that Euroflys leisure fares will remain frozen at 2005 levels for bookings made at least through years end.

Although fuel costs have gone up, Ill do my best so that the early bird who books by Jan. 1 can get 2005 fares, he said.

This years introductory economy-class fares started at $649, roundtrip, to Naples and Bologna and $749 to Palermo.

All-business bandwagon

By February, Eurofly will begin an all-business-class service on specially configured Airbus A319 single-aisle jets flying between New York and Milans Linate Airport daily, except Saturdays.

The carrier this year offered 26-seat business-class cabins on the 282-passenger A330 widebodies it flies on transatlantic routes.

Seats on the business flights to Milan will be sold exclusively to members of the carriers new MiMa (Milan-to-Manhattan) Club, which Mariani called a private club sold through general distribution.

Membership will be required to fly the Milan route and will entitle customers to special options and services, based on number of trips taken a year, he said, adding that special membership schemes will be devised for individuals, corporations and travel agencies acting as referral agencies.

We will pay a referral fee, rather than a commission to travel agents, said Mariani. The more passengers agencies refer, the higher the fee they will get.

Fares for all-business flights were not available at press time.

Eurofly also may start similar all-business flights to Rome.

Naples, Palermo a hit

Mariani said Eurofly is considering expanding its transatlantic leisure service to additional Italian cities, although no further U.S. gateways are planned, and flying to New York year-round, thanks to a successful inaugural year.

We were almost 30% over budget and enjoyed nearly 80% load factors, he said, largely due to heavily ethnic traffic on the Naples and Palermo routes.

But with the expansion of service into shoulder season, well focus more on the agency and operators more so than the friends-and-family market we did this year.

The closest thing to a disappointment was the route to Bologna, which Eurofly promoted as a gateway to Venice and Tuscany.

We have to work a little harder, changing peoples thinking by re-educating the public, Mariani said.

To contact Destinations editor Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].

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