The closure of Catania airport due to the fire that broke out on Sunday night and the transfer of flights to other airports in Sicily are starting to create operational difficulties in Palermo. For this reason, the top management of Falcone-Borsellino have decided to no longer accept the hijacked planes from Catania - whose main terminal will remain closed at least until July 25 - to avoid collapse. But the decision angers the president of the Region Renato Schifani. We will accept twenty flights ex Catania for Thursday 20 July and none from Friday to Sunday, says Natale Chieppa, general manager-accountable manager of Gesap, the Palermo airport management company.
The infrastructure is holding up, but for an airport like ours - which already has a 15% growth in traffic - there is a risk of compromising the quality of services, continues Chieppa, also because some airport operators are experiencing difficulties due to the huge traffic and for the incorrect procedures of some companies that sent flights to Palermo without notice. We are in continuous contact with Enav, Enac and Assoclearance, with all the companies and we have already communicated that on 20 July we will accept a maximum of twenty flights previously scheduled to Catania, while from Friday until Sunday there will be no space for any flight other than ours. Gesap's general manager recalls that his airport has landed over 45 hijacked flights from Catania, including Ita Airways' Airbus 330s with 250 people on board.
The response from the governor of Sicily was not long in coming. I can only stigmatize the attitude of the general management of Palermo airport which, without a dutiful confrontation with the control bodies, declared that it no longer accepted flights originally destined for the Catania airport, thus generating a state of alarmism and social tension in those who have chosen to find in Sicily, a symbol of hospitality, an ideal place for holidays, commented Schifani. Who calls everyone to a sense of common responsibility and warns: I will be vigilant of unilateral attitudes and decisions far from the spirit of social cooperation which could cause serious harm to overcoming the inconveniences of these days.