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Viterbo gets Rome's third airport.

Viterbo, about 50 kms north of Rome, and within easy access to the tourist regions of Umbria and Tuscany, has officially been designated as Rome’s third airport by Italy’s ministry of transport. The north Lazio town will absorb much of the excess traffic now flying into Ciampino, Rome’s second airport.

The existing aircraft facilities at Viterbo, which at present is used by military and private planes, should be ready for commercial flights in about four years, according to the plans outlined by the ministry of transport.

Viterbo has been chosen over two other sites to the south of Rome, Frosinone and Latina, largely because air traffic to the north of the capital is much less congested than to the south.

However the existing transport network from Viterbo to the capital will need upgrading and the Viterbo site is close to an important Etruscan archeological zone.

A third airport for Rome has become urgent since protests at Ciampino last summer over noise and air pollution have led to cutbacks in air traffic there, although low-cost airline Ryanair, which has the virtual monopoly of slots at Ciampino, is still contesting reductions.

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