Alitalia restarts business with €1bn state support

Photo: EPA

The Italian flag carrier Alitalia comes back to life due to a state aid package which totals €1 billion, Reuters reported quoting an article in LaRepublica. The package is less than half of initial estimates but is still seen as good enough to secure a fresh restart of operations. Alitalia will start with 45 planes and will employ some 4,500 workers.

The newly-elected Prime Minister Mario Draghi met with the transport, economy, industry and labour ministers and pushed for a fast resolution but not at all costs, the paper said. Under Draghi’s predecessor, Giuseppe Conte, Rome had earmarked 3 billion euros for a new airline, dubbed ITA, to replace Alitalia, which has been run by state-appointed administrators since it was declared bankrupt in 2017.

According to La Repubblica, ITA will acquire all of the airline’s aviation business, including aircraft and employees, and would start before the end of April to take advantage of the upcoming summer season. Il Sole 24 Ore said the plan was to get the revamped airline flying from June 1. Daily Il Giornale said the new Alitalia might start with 43-45 planes and 2,500-3,000 employees and could get between 1-2 billion euros in state aid.

A state-supported flag carrier, however, requires approval from the European Commission, which has asked for an open tender of Alitalia assets and is pressing for the new airline to forsake the old brand and some of its airport slots. The government, which last week said it wanted to press ahead with nationalisation of the carrier, is due to meet with officials in Brussels.

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