The European Commission supports Italia Trasporto Aereo to the detriment of Alitalia
The European Commission is supporting Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA) to the detriment of Alitalia. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has voiced support for the Italian government's plans to replace Alitalia with the launch of a new national airline - Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA).
Vestager had no doubts about Italy's ability to find a "viable solution", but stressed that investments in ITA must comply with European market regulations, as well as provide a return that meets the expectations of private investors.
The commissioner stressed that the Italian government's plan to create a new airline that could replace Alitalia could only be successful if the new airline were fully independent of the old one. "I still believe we can find a viable solution. ITA must be a real company, there must be discontinuity, otherwise ITA would be responsible for Alitalia ", Vestager said during a press conference.
The European Commission is supporting Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA) to the detriment of Alitalia.
The EU Commission has not yet approved the business plan for Italy's new flag carrier, which expects the ITA to start flying 45 aircraft, with a major focus on short- and medium-term operations. Speaking about the new airline's business plan, Vestager also stressed that investments in ITA "must be in line with the market", as well as ensuring "a return that satisfies private investors".
The new Italian airline operations were originally scheduled to start in April 2021, in order to catch the wave of travelers returning in the summer season, but due to prolonged negotiations between the local government and the EU Commission, the plan was delayed by three months, with the new launch date being 1 July 2021.
The Italian government signed an air transport decree to set up a new airline in October 2020.
The latest disagreement between the government and the EU Commission due to which the launch date was postponed was related to the allocation of slots at Milan Linate Airport (LIN), where the ITA considered taking over half of the Alitalia slots. The Commission has demanded that the new airline inherit significantly fewer slots from the old air carrier.
The new airline is expected to focus on profitable Alitalia routes, from Rome Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) and Milan Linate Airport (LIN). ITA intends to operate flights to Europe and North America, with a view to expanding the network to destinations in Japan and South America, as well as gradually developing the aircraft fleet.