Pisa/Plymouth – Italian city’s airport creates 1k jobs for every 1m passengers

By WILLIAM TELFORD, Business Editor/Plymouth Herald



Pisa’s famous leaning tower

 PISA is putting much of its economic strength down to its airport – saying it creates thousands of jobs.

The Galileo Galilei Airport, named after the famous astronomer who lived in the city, is situated right on the edge of Pisa.

And it is credited as having a huge impact on the city’s economy and tourism – and that of the Tuscan region and wider Italy.

With the larger city of Florence, just an hour away by car or train, also having an airstrip, both cities have fought moves to close one down.

And it is not hard to see why. Pisa’s Camera di Commercio (Chamber of Commerce) said nearly five million passengers came through the airport in 2014, a year-on-year increase of 4.56 per cent.

“The airport is very important,” said Paolo Ghezzi, the city’s Vicesindeco, or deputy mayor, with responsibility for tourism. “For every million passengers it creates about 1,000 jobs in the area.

“Tourism is more developed because of the airport, especially because we now have international flights, including to New York.

“And the airport is IN the city, five minutes from the centre,” he added.

“We are now looking to create a tram connection to link the airport to the centre of Pisa.”

Pisa’s airport is widely recognised as having the second best runway system in central Italy, after Fiumicino.

Because of this, and its high-quality infrastructure, Pisa has been chosen by many intercontinental airlines as an alternative stop to Rome.

It is also the only airport in mid-Italy to connect the region to the European air transport network, flying to key European cities.

Fabrizio Quochi, from the Camera’s promotion and internationalisation department, said: “Tourism has grown in the past 15 years because of the development of Pisa airport as a hub for Ryanair.”

He said the low-cost airline’s arrival in Pisa, in 2000, was one of the key moments for the city. Ryanair services come in from London’s Stanstead and its arrival was followed by services from other operators including easyJet, which flies from Bristol.

“In 2000 there were no low-cost flights,” Mr Quochi said. “Then there was a boom in passengers flying to Pisa, specifically from the UK where there are now seven airports flying to Pisa.

“And growing the airport was important for the area. Pisa’s strategic position is very important, and it is the third largest airport for rental cars after Rome and Milan.

“So people fly here, rent a car and visit the region.”

Pisa is connected regionally via its motorway linking it to the neighbouring cities of Florence and Livorno.

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