Italian leisure airline Neos has filed an application with the US Department of Transportation (DOT) for flying rights to the states. The filing, lodged on March 5th, gives no details of the flights planned, although the airline is eager for a rapid response. Its fleet of Dreamliners could well pick up some of the slack from Air Italy and, to some extent, the exit of Norwegian from the transatlantic market.
Neos sets its sight on the USA
The filing with the US DOT, spotted by One Mile At A Time, seeks permission for the airline to begin flying to the States from Italy. It is looking for permission to transport persons, property and mail under the existing agreement between the US and the EU.
Neos does already fly to the US occasionally, but only under charter status. The amendment to its application would allow it to launch scheduled services to the States, a new venture for the Italian carrier.
Currently, the airline flies to mainly leisure destinations in many countries around the world. As well as maintaining a relatively robust domestic schedule, it also flies to the Bahamas, Cape Verde, Cuba, China, Greece, Mexico, and many more. It operates out of several Italian airports, with most of its activity concentrated out of Milan.
No further details on the leisure airline’s plans for the US have been released yet, so we’ll have to wait to see which destinations it plans to offer. Nevertheless, it seems keen to get a decision from the DOT, saying it wants to start marketing the flights as soon as permission is received.
What will Neos fly to the USA?
Neos flies a relatively small fleet of just 12 aircraft, split evenly between the Boeing 737-800 and the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Three additional 737s are incoming, of the MAX 8 variety, although there is no confirmation regarding when these will arrive.
The huge range of the 787-9 puts all of the USA within easy reach of the airline’s base at Milan Malpensa. With six of the type at its disposal, it could easily set up a daily service to a key US destination, maybe even a couple, if it wasn’t too disruptive to the airline’s other activities.
The 737 MAX 8 doesn’t have the range for the US, but it could pick up some of the airline’s other destinations closer to home. Routes presently served by the Dreamliner such as Egypt and Oman could be replaced by the MAX, freeing up the widebodies for US focussed service.
The Dreamliner configuration has no business class onboard, but it does have a two cabin offering. Economy is in a 3-3-3 layout with around 32” of pitch. The upgrade is a premium economy cabin, which boasts a 2-3-2 layout for wider seats and a generous 42” pitch. All seats have seatback entertainment, and the airline offers free sponsored WiFi from VIASAT at an average of 12 Mbps.
Where will it fly?
For Neos, there are a couple of destinations that stand out as being potentially lucrative. The relatively recent demise of Air Italy, along with the news that Norwegian has quit long-haul ops, opens up some markets that are woefully underserved from the Italian market.
Air Italy used to fly to LA, Miami, New York, JFK, and San Francisco. Los Angeles and San Francisco were seasonal, while Miami and New York were year-round. Norwegian flew a plethora of routes to the States, which included all four of the Air Italy routes.
While Neos might struggle to get a slot at JFK, it could potentially look to other New York airports to launch service there. New York has the largest population of Italian Americans, at 3.1 million people, so could be a great ‘visiting friends and relatives’ (VFR) service.
In the other direction, Miami is almost a shoo-in for the airline, connecting lockdown-weary Italians with the pleasures of Florida. South Florida, too, has a large Italian diaspora, which could ensure success for the airline on this route.
For now, we’ll await an official announcement from Neos regarding its plans for the US. Where do you think it should fly? Let us know in the comments.