Italy - Country Commercial Guide
Airport and Ground Support Equipment

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-10-29


In 2020 approximately 52 million passengers, a 72.5% decrease with respect to 2019, transited through Italian airports. Data for the first four months of 2021 also exhibit reduced passenger traffic. Rome Fiumicino registered 1.5 million passengers and Milan Malpensa and Milan Linate registered about 956,000 and 588,000 passengers respectively. Historically, Italian airports with the greatest passenger movement include Rome Fiumicino (43.5 million/2019), Milan Malpensa (28.8 million/2019), Bergamo (13.9 million/2019), Venice (11.6 million/2019), Naples (10.9 million/2019) and Catania (10.2 million/2019). In early June 2021, Italy partially lifted travel restrictions to and from the 26 other members of the European Union, Schengen Area members, and the U.K.


The cargo sector recorded a smaller contraction. In 2020, at 804 thousand tons of cargo, cargo handling registered a 24.2% decrease from 2019. Milan Malpensa handled about 516 thousand tons, recording a contraction of 7.5%. Historically, Italian airports with significant freight traffic include Milan Malpensa (558,481 tons/2019), Rome Fiumicino (194,526 tons/2019) and Bergamo (118,964 tons/2019). FedEx and Amazon established European logistics hubs in Italy (Malpensa Cargo City and in the province of Bergamo), validating the significance of Italian airport networks.


The Italian airline market is fragmented, featuring both full service and low-cost carriers. Moreover, 2021 marks the closure of Italy’s flagship carrier Alitalia (Alitalia SAI S.p.A.) and replacement (on October 15, 2021) by a new, smaller company called Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA) operating with an initial fleet less than half the size of Alitalia’s. ITA’s reported plan is to focus initially on international routes rather than the fiercely competitive European short-haul market. Other Italian-owned charter airlines and low-cost carriers include Mistral Air, Blue Panorama, Easy Jet, Ryanair, Air Dolomiti, Air Italy (formerly Meridiana), and TUIfly.  

EU Regulation n. 1087 (, published in October, 2011, established the mandatory upgrade of hold baggage screening equipment to standard 3 explosive detection systems (EDS) by September 1, 2020. However, a number of Italian airports are still not compliant, including Turin, Venice, Genoa, Bologna, Verona, Ancona, as well as several airports in Southern Italy and on the islands of Sardinia and Sicily. Other equipment with market potential includes anti-intrusion systems, automated baggage handling systems (BHS), approach surveillance radars, and a broad range of services related to airport and ground handling operations. For passengers and hand luggage, airports are adopting the latest technologies in hand and window metal detectors (HMD and WMD), explosives trace detectors (ETD), and liquid explosive detection (LAG) systems. Other prospects include primary explosive detection systems (PEDT) and EDS for cargo luggage, as well as multi-level systems with threat image projection software for mail and parcels. U.S. industry is recognized for its technological leadership in advanced products and quality standards and is expected to maintain a competitive edge.

Private and public medium-term and long-term investments are anticipated for airport expansion, upgrading existing structures, and purchasing of new equipment and systems. Italian airports’ Master Plans can be found on the Italian Civil Aviation website

The Italian government does not typically purchase goods and services abroad unless they cannot be procured locally through domestic sources, which includes subsidiaries, branches, and agents of U.S. companies. To be considered as a source for Italian government purchases, it is recommended that U.S. firms be established locally or represented by an agent/distributor. Invitations to bid are published in the individual airport management company websites and in European and Italian official gazettes. 

U.S. Commercial Service Contact:
Maria Calabria, Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Embassy Rome
Tel: +39 06 4674-2427