British Airways considers Alitalia legal action

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International Airlines Group believes the Alitalia bailout amounts to protectionism. Photo: Leandro Ciuffo/Flickr
10:55 CEST+02:00
International Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways, is considering taking legal action against Alitalia for receiving "state help" as part of a recent bailout of Italy's troubled flagship carrier.

“We are thinking carefully, because it’s a deal with clear help from the state and we object,” IAG CEO Willie Walsh was quoted in Il Sole 24 Ore as saying.

Alitalia shareholders last week approved a €300 million capital increase for the airline, which includes a €75 million contribution from the state-controlled Poste Italiane, the postal services group.

The latter part of the deal prompted IAG to ask the European Commission to “take interim measures to suspend this manifestly illegal aid”, although IAG’s own lawyers may now step in to try and block the deal direclty. 

“The airlines that receive help [damage] those that behave correctly,” Walsh said yesterday.

When contacted by The Local on Wednesday, an IAG spokesperson said they had nothing further to add to Walsh's comments.

Italy has rejected claims that the Alitalia deal amounts to protectionism, although Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said that Poste Italiane’s investment was an “intermediate solution”.

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The Italian airline, which employs 14,000 people, received another bailout five years ago and risked having its fuel supply cut off earlier this month after failing to pay a €30 million bill to energy company Eni.  

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