The new Alitalia, possibly April flights with a fleet of 45 aircraft.
After months of talks, Alitalia could start flying in just a few weeks. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi met with senior figures from the Departments of Transport and the Economy to finalize a plan for the airline in difficulty.
Reuters reports that a new airline, known as ITA, will take over all Alitalia assets. This will include planes, slots and employees. The new ITA airline will then start operations, perhaps even at the end of April, with only 45 aircraft and about 4.500 employees.
However, as the final details have not yet been confirmed, other market sources report that the ITA will be even smaller, with only 43 aircraft and 2.500 employees. Currently, the airline has a fleet of about 90 aircraft: Boeing 777 and Airbus A320, A321 and A330.
The European Commission will object to any additional state aid to Alitalia.
The initial plan was to give the company a green light in June. However, the return will be two months earlier, at the end of April, to take full advantage of the reduction of travel restrictions and the growing demand in the summer season.
The European Commission (EC) has already said it will object to any additional state aid for the national carrier in difficulty. The new plan would require another 1-2 billion euros in funding.
Alitalia slots are wanted by other low-cost carriers, which means that the new Italian airline will have to face serious competition. The EC will also show an interest in the new airline if Lufthansa decides to invest, due to strict competition rules.
Lufthansa plans to invest in the new Italian airline.
A recent offer was made by the German airline Lufthansa, which would like to invest in the Italian airline in the future. Lufthansa said changes should be made, but a small airline could receive support from Germany.
Lufthansa already has several subsidiary airlines in Europe, including Eurowings, SWISS, Austrian, Brussels Airlines and many more. Investing in another carrier can be seen as exceeding European competition rules.
Ryanair has previously started a legal battle, claiming that state aid to airlines such as Lufthansa could offer an unfair advantage. If Lufthansa is financially stable enough to buy another airline after one of the hardest years in aviation history, Ryanair could be right, after all.