Milan Malpensa Airport (IATA: MXP, ICAO: LIMC) is the largest international airport in the Milan metropolitan area in northern Italy. It serves 15 million inhabitants in Lombardy, Piedmont and Liguria and as well in Ticino (Switzerland). The airport is located 49 km northwest of central Milan. The site of today's Malpensa Airport has seen aviation activities for more than 100 years. The first began on 27 May 1910, when the Caproni brothers flew their "flying machine". During the 1920s and 1930s, the airfield hosted two squadrons of the Regia Aeronautica Italiana (Italian Air Force). This airport was then opened for civil operation in 1948 during the war reconstruction period, in order to serve the northern area of Milan. Until 2008, Malpensa Airport was a major hub for flag carrier Alitalia. Today, Malpensa Airport was the 26th busiest airport in Europe in terms of passengers and 2nd busiest airport in Italy in terms of passengers and the busiest for freight and cargo.