EU Regulators And Italy Clear Key Hurdle For Alitalia's Successor
The European Commission has said that it has reached a deal with Italy on the parameters for separating loss-making carrier Alitalia from its successor, which is a step key towards securing EU approval for the new airline and to write off Alitalia's subsidies.
Brussels and Rome have been in lengthy talks over Alitalia's fate and its successor Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA), demanding that ITA should be independent from the former so that it will not be liable for Alitalia's billions of euros in state aid received in recent years.
Commission Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager met Italy's economy and industry ministers late on Wednesday June 30.
"Following intense and constructive discussions at all levels, the Commission and the Italian authorities have reached a common understanding on the key parameters to ensure economic discontinuity between ITA and Alitalia," a Commission spokesperson said.
The two sides had previously disagreed over ITA ceding half of Alitalia's slots at Milan Linate airport, the old brand and the loyalty programme.
Extension Of Maturity Of €400m Bridge Loan
The above news comes with news that a draft decree seen by Reuters showed that the Italian government will extend to December the maturity of a €400-million bridge loan it granted Alitalia amid delays in launching a new state-owned carrier to replace the bankrupt airline.
Rome will also create a fund worth €100 million to reimburse passengers for tickets and vouchers issued by Alitalia during the pandemic and not used before the new state-owned carrier starts operations, according to the draft.
The governing coalition set up a plan last year for a new carrier called Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA), which was supposed to start operating in early April in place of Alitalia.
However lengthy negotiations with the European Commission have delayed the launch by several months, likely until after the busy summer period, allowing rival carriers including Ryanair and Wizz Air to snap up domestic routes in Italy.
The decree also says that administrators running Alitalia will start private negotiations to sell the airline's assets to ITA.
The European Commission declined to comment on Rome's plan to extend to December the maturity of the €400-million bridge loan.
"It is for member states to assess whether a measure involves state aid that needs to be notified to the Commission under EU rules," the Commission spokesperson said.