VolaSalerno suspends operations

On December 18, Italian tour operator Global Aviation Network (GAN) abruptly suspended the services it was operating from Salerno under the VolaSalerno brand. The interruption came abruptly, with the day’s Malpensa-bound flight already loaded and ready to depart. GAN blamed the suspension in part on the poor state of the economy and the high fuel prices that it faced during the summer, in part on local politics that hampered development of the airport, and in part on the poor performance of Orionair, who has been operating the VolaSalerno services using BAe 146-300 EC-JVO (msn E3179). Tension between GAN and Orionair had been rising for some time, with GAN upset at frequent delays and cancellations resulting from the single-aircraft operation and Orionair’s limited spares stocks. A second aircraft had been due to join EC-JVO in December, but did not appear, forcing the new route to Torino to be run as an extension of the Milano Service. Orionair, in turn, blamed GAN for non-payment for previous flights. On 18 December, it appears that it was Orionair that pulled the plug. Local politics did not help, with several local authorities opposing development of the airport and opposing needed improvements to road and bus access. The airport operator, which had been subsidizing GAN’s operations, indicated that it is seeking another operator to take over the services.

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