Alitalia funding questioned by Ryanair

Ryanair to appeal against funding for Alitalia’s replacement

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Ryanair will appeal against funds made available to the government-owned Italian airline that will replace Alitalia. Ryanair considers the funding to be illegal state support, the chief executive of the Irish carrier said on Saturday.

Under the relaunch, the Italian government plans to inject €3 billion ($3.65 billion) into ITA. The new company would take over the assets of the old Alitalia.

“As soon as they inject this money in the new company we will take the (due) steps,” CEO Eddie Wilson told Italian newspaper la Repubblica.

“We are waiting to see, but it is clear that it is illegal aid and we will defend our interest by appealing against this umpteenth loan,” he added.

Under EU state aid rules, there needs to be economic discontinuity between ITA and Alitalia. With this clear, Brussels will allow Rome to inject the funds into the new carrier.

Italy close to a deal with European Commission

Italy and the European Commission have almost agreed on a deal to launch Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA). The airline was due to start flying in April.

“I have the impression there’s nothing new, ITA will just be the extension of Alitalia […] with the same problems seen for decades, money being drained from public resources into an airline that today, like yesterday, will lose money,” Wilson said.

Ryanair urged the EU to require competitive bidding by ITA for Alitalia’s airport slots. The Irish carrier has made no secret of its desire for those slots.

The European Union competition watchdog is reviewing past and present Italian state aid to Alitalia. A decision should be forthcoming in a few weeks. Meanwhile, Ryanair waits for the outcome.

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