For the future of Alitalia, the next will be the umpteenth decisive days. But this time the money in the coffers of the extraordinary administration is almost exhausted, the patience of the 10,500 employees as well and the negotiations with the EU Antitrust on the launch of the newco Italia Trasporti Aereo are back almost to the starting point, as they explain to the Courier service of the Evening European and ministerial sources. In all this there is little time left if you want to take advantage of the mini-recovery of the sector planned for the summer and prevent the Italian market (domestic and international) from being divided by low cost.
The EU reaction
To date, the technicians of the Directorate-General for Competition consider the Italian proposal unsatisfactory because it would not guarantee the discontinuity between Alitalia and the newco, a necessary condition also to protect ITA from the negative repercussions on the double Community investigation for state aid. The real knots have never been solved and Rome presents itself every time with solutions that circumvent our requests, explain sources from Brussels who do not hide even a little surprise for those who judge an outcry by Italy during the negotiations.
The Italian front
From the three departments involved (Economy, Economic Development, Infrastructure and sustainable mobility), on the other hand, they filter a certain impatience for those who consider the oppressive requirements of the offices of Commissioner Margrethe Vestager – such as having to give up up to half of the slots at Linate -, above all compared to the negligible sacrifices of Lufthansa, Air France and KLM in exchange for billionaire aid to tackle the pandemic. This is why no one hesitates to talk about two weights and two measures.
The node on requests
According to ministerial sources, if the Italian government accepted all European requests (no trademark, MilleMiglia fidelity program, handling and maintenance, less slots at Linate) the newco would already be bankrupt. For this reason, in the next few days we will try to find a mediation in stages, starting with the sale of the aviation branch – through rent or direct sale – at least to get ITA off the ground, but without giving up on some elements deemed crucial. This week there is no (virtual) meeting between Commissioner Vestager and ministers Daniele Franco (Economy), Giancarlo Giorgetti (Economic development) and Enrico Giovannini (Infrastructure and sustainable mobility).
To unblock the dossier in the next 2-3 weeks – the sources continue – it may even be necessary to make a phone call between Prime Minister Mario Draghi and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. After all, the stalemate at this point does not appear only technical, but also political. Then there is another question to be addressed, but this time within the newco: at the end of April, the president of Italia Transport Aereo Francesco Caio should leave his position to become CEO of Saipem.