Italy announces plan to take over struggling Alitalia airline

The Italian government has said it plans to re-nationalise the bankrupt former national carrier Alitalia as part of its emergency economic rescue plan to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Italy announces plan to take over struggling Alitalia airline
Alitalia, which had already filed for bankruptcy, is struggling further amid the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis. Photo: AFP

The plan was outlined in a government decree published late on Monday night.

Italian media reported that it could cost taxpayers up to 600 million euros ($670 million) to re-nationalise the airline.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's government on Monday agreed a 25-billion-euro rescue package designed to help families and businesses affected by the economic fallout of an outbreak that has killed more than 2,100 people in Italy.

READ ALSO: 'I have no work': Italy's tour guides, teachers and business owners struggling with the coronavirus crisis

One of the measures provides for the creation of “a new company wholly controlled by the ministry of economy and finance, or controlled by a company with a majority public stake, including an indirect one” to take over the airline.

Italy's AGI news agency said the government was setting up an 600-million-euro fund to deal with the damage the pandemic has caused to the aviation sector.

Photo: AFP

Some of the final details of the Italian economic rescue programme are do to be finalised next month.
Alitalia has floundered in the face of fierce competition from low-cost carriers such as EasyJet and Ryanair.

But analysts warn that it is also too small – and has too many staff for the number of flights it operates – to compete with its rivals.

It flew only 22 million passengers and saw its market share in Italy slip to 14 percent in 2018.
Germany's Lufthansa and the Atlanta-based Delta Airlines each carried around 180 million passengers that year.

Alitalia's attempts to secure rescues from either the Italian state railway Ferrovie dello Stato or Lufthansa failed in January.

The company filed for bankruptcy in 2017.

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Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Italy's government will extend its proposed one-time €200 benefit to more people and introduce a €60 public transport payment, Italian media reported on Thursday.

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Seasonal workers, domestic and cleaning staff, the self-employed, the unemployed and those on Italy’s ‘citizens’ income’ will be added to the categories of people in Italy eligible for a one-off €200 payment, ministers reportedly announced on Thursday evening.

The one-time bonus, announced earlier this week as part of a package of financial measures designed to offset the rising cost of living, was initially set to be for pensioners and workers on an income of less than €35,000 only.

However the government has now agreed to extend the payment to the additional groups following pressure from Italy’s labour, families, and regional affairs ministers and representatives of the Five Star Movement, according to news agency Ansa.

Pensioners and employees will reportedly receive the €200 benefit between June and July via a direct payment into their pension slip or pay packet.

For other groups, a special fund will be created at the Labour Ministry and the procedures for claiming and distributing payments detailed in an incoming decree, according to the Corriere della Sera news daily.

One new measure introduced at the cabinet meeting on Thursday is the introduction of a one-time €60 public transport bonus for students and workers earning below €35,000. The bonus is reportedly designed to encourage greater use of public transport and will take the form of an e-voucher that can be used when purchasing a bus, train or metro season pass.

Other provisions reportedly proposed in the energy and investment decree (decreto energia e investimenti), which is still being adjusted and amended, include extending energy bill discounts, cutting petrol excise duty and rolling on the deadline to claim Italy’s popular ‘superbonus 110’.

The €14 billion aid package, intended to lessen the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, will “fight the higher cost of living” and is “a temporary situation”, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said.

The Local will report further details of the payment scheme once they become available following final approval of the decree.