easyJet has welcomed the European
Commission’s decision to open a formal investigation into the Italian
PSO decree, suggesting it unlawfully imposes monopolies on the 16 most important
routes between mainland Italy and Sardinia.Moreover, easyJet is
delighted that last week the European Commission, shaken up by the
dispute concerning the Sardinian routes, proposed new legislation to
prevent this kind of attempt to prevent competition in the future.
Arnaldo Munoz, Regional Manager Southern Europe, commented on the
“We are very pleased with this decision and are confident that the
investigation will restore competition on routes to Sardinia. The
winners would be the Italian tax-payers, the flying public who will
benefit from more choice, lower fares and better service as well as the
region of Sardinia, which would benefit from a boost in tourism.
We can’t go on having the same unlawful decree being imposed every year.
The new Italian Government must respect the verdicts of the Italian
court and of the European Commission and must refrain from introducing a
new decree to impose monopolies on domestic routes.
We will continue to work closely with the European Commission to end
this blunt attempt to provide back-door state aid to a few airlines. The
fact that the Commission even proposed new legislation last week to
prevent this kind of practise from happening again just shows how
problematic this decree is.”
easyJet had announced its intentions to operate flights from Milan to
Olbia as part of its expansion at its base at Milan Malpensa. In
response to this, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) took the
unprecedented step of writing to easyJet to request that the airline
stopped selling seats on the route, as part of its plans to impose
Public Service Obligation (PSO) status on the route. easyJet submitted a
formal complaint against the Italian authorities to the European
Commission for anti-competitive behavior in March.
easyJet has been a reliable partner for the autonomous region of
Sardinia, providing services from London and Berlin that have boosted
tourism in Sardinia especially during the past winter. Since the routes
were launched in 2005, easyJet has carried over 200,000 passengers to
and from Sardinia.