The Italian Government has approved a law creating limits on domestic flights to the country’s islands, which claims to protect customers from unexpected increases in flight prices.

To combat excessively expensive flights, airlines will be prohibited from dynamically adjusting tariffs if the adjustment occurs on national routes connecting with the islands during a peak period of demand or during a national state of emergency.

The regulation prohibits airlines from raising prices for flights between the mainland and Sicily or Sardinia by more than “200%” of the standard rate.

Due to Sicily’s and Sardinia’s poor alternative connections to the Italian mainland, both locals and visitors mostly rely on air transport, despite the excessive costs seen during peak seasons.

In a joint statement, both the Italian Board of Airlines Representatives (IBAR) and the National Association of Air Transport Carriers and Operators (Assaereo) revealed their doubts regarding the content of the decree.

The associations emphasised that they could have provided in-depth information regarding industry practices, and argued the law was passed in the absence of a prior comparison of the airline carriers.

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IBAR and Assaereo stated they would have suggested “less punitive solutions for the sector,” which has faced heavy difficulties in recent years related to Covid-19 and the Ukraine war.

The associations also accused the Rome government of breaking an EU directive, article 22 of EC Regulation 1008/2008, which protects companies holding air transport licences and allows firms “to freely set the tariffs for the transport of passengers and goods.”