Low-cost Irish airline Ryanair is to appeal the injection of state funds into a new Italian carrier currently referred to as ‘newco’ but which will be named Italia Trasporto Aero (ITA).
The objection is being made on the grounds that, to all intents and purposes, the new carrier is simply a rebranding of the now defunct flag-carrying airline Alitalia. ITA will be a state-owned airline and will be taking over all the assets of Alitalia, while also injecting €3 billion (US$3.65 billion) in capital.
“As soon as this money will be injected in the newco we will take the (due) steps,” CEO Eddie Wilson told Italian daily la Repubblica in an interview, adding: “We are waiting to see, but it is clear that it is illegal aid and we will defend our interest by appealing against this umpteenth loan.”
Under EU state aid rules, there needs to be an economic discontinuity between ITA and Alitalia for Brussels to allow Rome to inject the funds into the new carrier. “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,” Wilson said.