EU regulators and Italy remove major hurdle for Alitalia’s successor

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission announced on Thursday that it had reached an agreement with Italy on the parameters of separation of loss-making carrier Alitalia from its successor, a key step in securing EU approval for the new airline and to cancel Alitalia’s subsidies.

Brussels and Rome have discussed at length the fate of Alitalia and its successor Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA), demanding that the ITA be independent of the former so that it is not responsible for billions of euros in aid from State of Alitalia received in recent years.

Commission competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager met Italian economy and industry ministers on Wednesday evening.

“After intense and constructive discussions at all levels, the Commission and the Italian authorities have reached an agreement on the key parameters to ensure the economic discontinuity between ITA and Alitalia”, said a Commission spokesperson.

The two parties previously disagreed over ITA’s divestiture of half of Alitalia’s slots at Milan Linate airport, the old brand and the loyalty program.

The Commission declined to comment on Rome’s plan to extend the maturity of a € 400 million ($ 473.9 million) bridge loan to Alitalia until December, according to a draft decree consulted by Reuters.

“It is up to Member States to assess whether a measure involves state aid which must be notified to the Commission under EU rules,” the spokesperson said.

($ 1 = 0.8441 euros)

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Jason Neely and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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