The airline Ita, although just born, has a very long experience of fog in the Po Valley – and God forbid, since it has inherited the pilots and aircraft from the veteran Alitalia. Yet in this period a little fog is enough to put Ita in crisis and prevent its planes from landing in the airports where all the other companies land, as the passengers of eight unfortunate Ita flights had to discover. The problem is a certification for the landing in the fog that Ita had to redo from scratch, as if the experience of its former Alitalia pilots did not count for anything, certification that can still take many days and that ENAC (the control body of civil aviation) is trying to deliver as quickly as possible, but that is not there for now.
La Stampa had already reported the case of an Ita plane arriving from Fiumicino which on Friday morning had been hijacked from Linate to Genoa, but then it turned out that a similar fate happened in the same morning to seven other Italian airplanes, with a only difference: instead of towards distant Genoa, these seven additional aircraft were redirected to Malpensa, after having circled around Linate for a while, in the vain hope that the sky would clear up quickly.
The disconcerting thing is that this emergency for the fog on Linate was only for Ita on Friday, while the planes of all the other companies landed and took off as if nothing had happened.
Why? It was not a technical problem, and the safety of Ita passengers was not compromised; this must be clear, none of them took any risks. But the inconveniences were heavy: lost time and the need for additional movements on the ground.
The problem arises from the fact that between the old Alitalia and the new Ita there was the famous corporate “discontinuity”, imposed by the EU to authorize yet another injection of public funds, so Ita is formally a start-up, despite the fact that the planes and pilots are the same as those of Alitalia. And according to a regulation by ICAO (the world civil aviation body), Ita as a new airline cannot land if the visibility is not optimal, i.e. above 550 meters (at take off 400 meters).
There are three categories of airports, depending on the equipment, which can range from simple lights along the runway to ground radar and the ILS instrument landing system, and Linate is in category 3, ie at the top; therefore you can land even with a visibility of just 75 meters, but you must be certified; and Ita still isn’t.
This situation will last until the technical formalities between Ita and Enac have been completed. It can be a matter of days or weeks. Unfortunately we are in autumn and a bit of fog over Northern Italy is possible every day. –
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