Keywords: regions, air transport, start-up aids, public service obligations, regional airports
The aim of the paper is to evaluate the increa sing role of the Italian regions in the air transport sector. The more recent Italian laws delegate the governance of the main transport infrastructures in accordance to the Central Ministries of Transport and Infrastructures, while the policies concerning the start up aids for new air connections are decided at regional level in cooperation with the European Commissions. Sardinia and Pulia, two of the main region in Southern Italy, decided to intervene in the air transport sector with two completely differents approaches. Sardinia used the instrument of public services obligations in order to try to stimulate the air transport demand of the inhabitants, while Pulia used a rich regional fund for start-up aids, especially dedicated to the promotion of new low cost routes. Both the policies partially failed to reach their goals because they introduced too strict rules for a competitive market without ta king care of the economies of network that are the basis of air transport market. The complete absence of a coordination policy at central level produces not efficient use of regional funds and efforts.