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NEWS Last modified on September 21, 2015

Investors unveil ambitious plans for a new €15 billion airport in Italy

Sīxiăng Holding is spearheading a consortium of private investors intent on building a new €15 billion airport in northern Italy.

Provisionally called Europe 1, it wants the new airport to be located along the high-speed rail line currently under construction between Brescia and Verona in northern Italy and is slated to be operational in 2020.

It is also talking about the airport having a potential capacity of up to 100 million passengers per annum, which would make it a major new European hub that could help the continent overcome the predicted shortfall in airport capacity over the next 20 to 30 years.

Initially occupying a 38 square kilometre site with an additional 17 square kilometres available for future expansion, Europe 1 hopes to open with four runways and eventually boast up to six.

In addition to Domestic and Intercontinental terminals, it is being designed to have dedicated first-class and private jet terminals.

A spokesperson for Europe 1 told Airport World that Europe 1 will also feature a spaceport for suborbital flights.

Indeed, part of Europe 1, including the spaceport, is being designed by Luis Vidal + Architects, one of the firms retained to develop the Colorado Front Range Spaceport.

Sīxiăng Holding has a 10% stake in Europe 1 and leads the investor consortium, which recently announced that it is seeking an airport operator for the initial three-year start-up phase of airport operations.

The projected €15 billion in funding is fully provided by the private investor pool.

Most of the investors are large institutions based in Europe, Asia and the North America, as well as important airport and infrastructure operators.

It is hoped that the airport will be part of an aerotropolis development that focuses on world-class business and entertainment offerings that will make Europe 1 a destination in its own right.

A conference centre, casino, hotels, museum, theatre, cinema, fitness and sports facilities, office complex, wellness centre and exclusive retail gallerias are among the attractions being planned.

Sīxiăng Holding points out that the aerotropolis is based on a revolutionary passenger-driven, as opposed to an airline-driven, model.

"In the future, air routes will be influenced by passenger preferences to a greater degree," predicts Michele Raucci, chairman of Sīxiăng Holding and founder of Europe 1.

"Passengers will increasingly choose their flight itineraries based on the departure, arrival and connecting airports and Europe 1 will allow the region to capitalise on this trend.

“Europe 1's prime location in the midst of such a culturally, economically and topographically attractive area in Europe will make the airport a natural choice for international travellers coming to or through the region."

Raucci likens the hub experience to a holiday.

"Passengers in transit will have a vacation within a vacation at Europe 1," he says.

"Even the international terminals will be like a cruise ship where travellers have quick and easy access to food, entertainment and wellness all in one place."

You can read more about Europe 1 in Airport World later this year.



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Joe Bates

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