Ciampino has gone through a major change in the past few years.
Before the advent of low cost carriers (first GO then Ryanair, then all the others) , CIA
was just a destination for charters, small package freighters, military or govt stopovers.
opened in 1960, CIA
was the main airport for Rome and Alitalia main base and it reached 2 million pax. For most of the '70s and early '80s it kept on having a good traffic. Then it fell down to 500/700 thousand pax a year.
In recent years Ryanair, Easyjet, Air Berlin, Hapag Lloyd Express, Helvetic, Smart Wings, Wizz Air and many other low cost airlines have chosen Ciampino as their main base in Rome.
in particular has just launched many more destinations and has elected CIA
as its main base in Italy, with CIA
one its best performing route in all its huge network, and one of the main bases in all over Europe.
In 2003 CIA
handled some 1,8 million pax. In 2004 this total is destined to reach at least 2,4 and next year it will break the 3 million marks.
Of course this huge increase in traffic in just few years has put the facilities in trouble. The Terminal is old and insufficient for all those people. So the baggage handling system, the immigration gates and the car parking cannot cope with the traffic. ADR, the Company that owns both CIA
has foreseen a growth that will bring CIA
to 7 million pax by 2008 and they have planned many intervention in order to upgrade and improve the airport capabilities.
There are also rumors that the Italian Air Forces Wing based there (31st) will be transferred to another base to free up parking spaces and facilities for more aircrafts to be permanently based there.