European Commission approves € 40 million aid for Alitalia
Ailing Italian airline Alitalia is set to receive further financial aid after European Commission approval. EU state rules have ruled that such support is appropriate, given the impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on the SkyTeam member’s network, operations and finances. Let’s take a look at the details of the deal.
Compensation of 40 million euros
Earlier this week, the European Commission announced that it had approved a proposed Italian aid measure to support the country’s national airline, Alitalia. The carrier is now expected to receive financial support worth € 39.7 million ($ 47.1 million) as a result. This particular package concerns losses suffered in March and April of this year.
Financial support has recovered fairly quickly. Indeed, the Italian government notified the Commission for the first time of its intention to compensate its national company in the amount of 39.7 million euros last week, on 25 June. This figure would be an estimate of the damage suffered by Alitalia in March and April. The Commission explained that:
“Restrictions put in place in Italy and other countries to limit the spread of a second and third wave of the coronavirus pandemic have severely affected Alitalia’s operations. As a result, Alitalia suffered significant operating losses until at least April 30, 2021. “
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Not Alitalia’s first financial support agreement
Even before the global health crisis brought the airline industry to a halt in 2020, Alitalia had already been in financial trouble for years. As such, he needed several injections of financial support to help him survive the pandemic.
Prior to this week’s announcement, its last injection was approved in May (worth € 12.8m / $ 15.5m). Overall, the Commission has now granted five rounds of financial aid to the struggling Italian national carrier since it first did so in September 2020.
The airline was also forced to plan major restructuring measures due to the health crisis. Indeed, Simple Flying announced last December that the restructured national airline would only have half of the airline’s pre-COVID planes and employees.
Brighter days to come?
However, despite Alitalia’s obvious difficulties, could better days be ahead for the airline now that additional financial support has been approved? Right now, there are some hopeful signs that could suggest the carrier may be doing some sort of summer recovery.
For example, the Italian national airline announced in May that, as part of its summer program, it would implement COVID-tested flights on its Rome-Tokyo route. This is the result of a successful trial of such services between Rome and New York, and may help increase passenger numbers and confidence. Elsewhere, its maintenance branch took care of and recently performed a C-check on an Air Senegal Airbus A330neo.
What do you think of the European Commission’s decision to grant additional aid to Alitalia? have you flown with the Italian flag bearer since the start of the pandemic? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.