has today welcomed the European Commission’s decision to launch a formal investigation into the Italian authorities’ restructuring and capitalisation plan for Alitalia.easyJet is calling on the European Commission to carry out a thorough investigation in order to guarantee that Alitalia does not receive any illegal state aid given its precarious financial position. The European Commission must also ensure that Alitalia’s commercial practices do not fall foul of EU competition rules.
Alitalia is already due to benefit from a €400 million bail-out of Italian taxpayers money and must not be allowed to default on the conditions attached to this loan. The European Commission must not hesitate to enforce the letter of the law if Alitalia is going to truly compete on a par with its competitors. In light of Alitalia financial position, easyJet also continues to question how a company which is unable to operate its existing routes profitably and has requested approval by the European Commission of substantial injections of state aid, could deliver the suggested efficiencies of its planned alliance with Air France.
Ray Webster, easyJet Chief Executive, said: “Cash injections and a blind eye will not come as a favour to consumers, not least the Italian taxpayer. It is high time that airlines are left to compete with each other on equal terms and with no exceptions to the rule. easyJet looks forward to the outcome of the European Commission’s investigation and will continue to denounce any indiscriminate bail-outs for Europe’s ailing airlines.”