Philadelphia International Airport just earned a new distinction: the only hub in North America to fly directly to Bologna, a popular and wealthy European destination. American Airlines has added nonstop flights from PHL to the capital of Emilia-Romagna, in Italy. Starting June 6th through September 28th, flights will travel daily from PHL to Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport, or BLQ.
Zabeth Teelucksingh, executive director of the Global Philadelphia Association, explained to the Philadelphia Business Journal how important this flight is, as a way of connecting Philadelphia with an important trade partner:
“The service will provide direct access to no less than three World Heritage Cities: Ferrara, Modena and Ravena, and many more world heritage sites,” Teelucksingh said. “It is a wonderful opportunity for our residents and our region to access airlift to the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and to benefit from the regions culinary and cultural offerings.”
Annually, almost 21,000 visitors from Italy come to Philadelphia each year. Three-quarters of these travelers come for leisure purposes, but the business travel sector is growing. These visitors account for over 36,000 hotel room nights sold, and $15.6 million in spending. The average Italian visitor spends over $700 in Philadelphia, and the care of these travelers support 218 full-time jobs. Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport had about 8.5 million passengers in 2018, up nearly 4 percent over 2017. In the last ten years, the airport has been burgeoning a compounded 6.6 percent. It’s believed that the airport and the region’s tourism will continue to grow, and the flights from Pennsylvania will facilitate and nurture that growth.
Bologna is a gateway to the rest of Italy’s most popular destinations, being well connected to other parts of Italy by way of its high-speed Frecciarossa trains. From Bologna, it takes 35 minutes to get to Florence, an hour to Milan, two hours to Rome and one-and-a-half hours to Venice.