The Tuscan airport system is working towards a goal of 11-12 million passengers a year within the year 2030, achievable combining Pisa international tourism vocation and Florence’s business customers one.

These targets were set in the national airport plan drafted by the Ministry of Transportation and elaborated by ENAC (Italy’s National Aviation Agency) which aims at making the two hubs, together with the Bologna terminal, the backbone of Central-Northern Italy’s air transport system and at increasing the already developed international propensity of the region.

According to 2009 data from ISTAT (Italy’s National Statistical State agency), Tuscany’s contribution to national export amounts to 8 percent of the total; the region has trade relations with countries outside the EU (European Union) and ranks third in foreign tourists arrivals, after Veneto and Lazio.

Yet, despite this scenario, the air transport system numbers are still limited and show great potential for growth. In 2011, according to available ISTAT and ENAC data, the two reference hubs – Pisa-San Giusto and Florence-Peretola – moved about 6.4 million passengers.

The first, Pisa’s Galileo Galilei, reached 4.5 million passengers, and mostly developed in the wake of low-cost offers towards international destinations that are more peripheral, compared to the big cities.

The second, Florence’s Amerigo Vespucci, has a clientele of less than two million units, offers connections with the main European capitals and serves mostly a business-like customer base who travels towards the most important economic hubs of the Old Continent. So far, however, it has been slowed down in its expansion by a few climatic and orographic limits, which will have to be overcome with new interventions.

The national plan estimates that Central Italy’s air transport system (Bologna, Florence, Pisa, Forli’ Rimini, Parma) could jump from the current 13 million yearly passengers to somewhere between 20 and 30 million by 2030. It forecasts a 6-8 million customer base for Pisa, at the end of the period, and one between 3 and 4 for Florence. A more coordinated management between the two Tuscan hubs, and their increasing specialization, are the key factors on which to work to reach the 2030 objectives.

The further development of the airports is, after all, fundamental for its positive impacts on the regional economic system as a whole. An analysis by IRPET (Tuscan Institute for Regional Economic Planning) dated July 2013, shows that an improvement (even a small one) of “air accessibility” in Tuscany – in terms of increase of passengers, destinations or number of flights, or all of the above, would cause, between 2020 and 2030, a 1 percent growth of the regional GDP, a 0.6 percent expansion of exports and a consequent 0.4 percent increase in employment.

Sources: ENAC National Airport Plan, 2012; “Economic Impact of the consolidation of air traffic offer in Tuscany”, IRPET, 2013