Ryanair vs. the soon-to-be Italian national carrier

by Giacomo Amati
A Ryanair plane during boarding

ITA, the NewCo that will replace Alitalia as the Italian national carrier, is almost ready to take to the skies next September. However, the Irish low-cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair is not satisfied with the first deal approved by the EU Commission and the Italian government.

Ryanair to appeal against state aid

Ryanair has announced today that it will appeal against the € 3.65 billion the Italian government plans to inject into the NewCo ITA when it starts operations next September. According to Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson, such funds represent illegal state support.

Moreover, Wilson does not understand why the EU Commission should approve such money to be transferred to the soon-to-be Italian national carrier. Indeed, he thinks this new airline will not be different from the Alitalia we all know. In an interview with the Italian daily “La Repubblica”, he stated:

I have the impression that 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

Ryanair planes at stand. Photo by Sangga Rima Roman Selia

Ryanair longs for Alitalia’s slots

Last week, Ryanair turned to the EU and asked that the NewCo ITA bid competitively for Alitalia’s slots. Indeed, Ryanair appealed to the concept of discontinuity between the NewCo and Alitalia. If this condition has to be respected, then ITA should not inherit Alitalia’s slots. Conversely, all airlines should be given a chance to be assigned those rights to land and take-off.

The EU and Alitalia’s past state aids

In the meantime, the EU competition watchdog is still investigating the past state aids favouring Alitalia. A final decision is expected to come in the coming days. For sure, for the NewCo to be granted the € 3 billion state support to start its operations in September, it is mandatory to reach economic discontinuity between the two Italian airlines.

Do you think Ryanair is right when it defines ITA state aid as “illegal”? Let us know in the comment below! 

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