Air Berlin is switching three of its Milan routes from Malpensa airport to Linate, which is much nearer the city centre.
The routes in question, which will move at the start of the winter timetable later this month, are those departing Dusseldorf, Berlin Tegel and Vienna (operated by Air Berlin subsidiary Niki).
These flights and more will be codeshared with Alitalia, so connecting flights will be easier to book. Air Berlin and Alitalia will also link their frequent flyer programmes.
The move to Linate means that Air Berlin, which is partially owned by Etihad, will be able to better compete with Lufthansa (which already uses Linate) and Germanwings (which, at the time of writing, continues to use Malpensa).
Overall, it's good news for both passengers and Air Berlin. The former will find Linate far more convenient for visiting central Milan (it's akin to arriving at Luton or Stansted compared to London City airport). The latter benefits because airlines using Linate can command higher prices for their tickets.
The switch gets underway on October 26, when the winter timetable begins.
It is not easy for foreign airlines to operate out of Milan Linate. Any carrier would need to have the right connections with the Italian authorities.
This move has come about through the stronger ties now in place between Alitalia and Etihad.
German regulators last week blocked Air Berlin and Etihad Airways from operating 34 codeshare routes this winter (see news, October 13).