After operating for 74 years, the Italian airline Alitalia will no longer offer its services as it has been permanently closed after deep financial problems, especially due to the COVID-19 situation.
Alitalia’s flight from the Italian capital to Cagliari was the last flight for this national carrier, while from now on it will be replaced by Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA), TheSchengen.com reports.
“We were born as a new Italian brand, and we chose to work with Italian companies only,” confirmed ITA’s president, Alfredo Altavilla, as reported by CNN.
Over the past 20 years, Alitalia has cost the country nearly 13 billion euros. The spread of the Corona virus and its new strains provoked a devastating situation for the company.
Due to the difficult situation caused by the virus, the ITA will only employ 2,800 of its employees, while a large number of people are facing unemployment.
Authorities in Italy have confirmed that the ITA will be owned by the country’s government. The airline plans to start with 52 aircraft, while the number of aircraft will increase to 105 by the end of 2025.
Initially, the ITA will offer its services to 44 destinations, which will increase to 75 by 2025.
Alitalia has recently been experiencing a deep financial crisis, especially after the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Earlier this year, the European Union Commission approved a total of 73.02 million euros in aid for Alitalia to help the airline recover from COVID-19 damage, after ensuring that such a decision complies with EU state aid rules.
Last month, TheSchengen.com reported that, based on European Commission findings, 900 million euros in loans granted to Alitalia in 2017 were considered illegal under EU state aid rules.
At the time, the EU Commission stressed that the loans were given to the airline “at an unfair economic advantage”.
In this regard, the Executive Vice President and the authority responsible for competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, noted that the loans to Alitalia were illegal and give the airline an advantage over other airlines in Italy.
“After our in-depth investigation, we came to the conclusion that two general loans of 900 million euros granted by Italy to Alitalia gave the company an unfair advantage over its competitors, in violation of EU state aid rules. Italy must now take it back from Alitalia to help restore a level playing field. in the European aviation industry.
However, Italia Trasporto Aereo has reached an agreement with the European Commission, and it will be economically independent. The same will not be held responsible for any illegal government assistance Alitalia has received in recent years.