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CLARA MOSCHINI

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Anticipation of 250 million in favor of Alitalia ...

... and 50 millions for Neos, Air Dolomiti, Blue Panorama

The new measures for air transport contained in Legislative Decree no. 104/2020, so-called August

With article 79 of Decree no. 18/2020, the so-called Cura Italia, Italy introduced specific compensation measures for Alitalia in AS, which at that date was the only company holding an air passenger transport license issued by ENAC (Italian Civil Aviation Authority) that carried out public service obligations. And in fact, both in March this year and still today the only public service obligations in force in Italy are those relating to the routes to Sardinia carried out by Alitalia and those for connections with the islands of Lampedusa and Pantelleria assigned to the Danish carrier DAT, specifically excluded from the subjective scope of application of the standard.

In compliance with the state aid legislation, it is dutifully provided that the effectiveness of this compensation measure is subject to the authorization of the European Commission, while the methods of calculating the damage suffered and applying the compensation measures are left to a future decree of the Minister of Economy and Finance in agreement with the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport not yet issued.

As part of the so-called Relaunch Decree, article 202 then provided for an allocation of 350 million euros for 2020 alone for this compensation measure.

The Government, as part of the so-called Relaunch Decree, has also set up a compensation fund of 130 million in favor of the other 3 carriers holding passenger air transport licenses issued by ENAC (Blue Panorama Airlines, Neos and Air Dolomiti) which are not included as part of the aforementioned compensation measure established by art. 79 of the DL so-called Cura Italia. The effectiveness of this provision was also subject to the authorization of the Commission, just as the methods of application were deferred to a specific decree to be issued.

In consideration of the protracted state of emergency connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to ensure the efficiency, safety and continuity of scheduled air passenger transport by Alitalia and the other three aforementioned carriers and to avoid serious harm and irreparable pending completion of the two specific authorization procedures was respectively provided for by article 85 of the Legislative Decree so-called August which, following a specific request from the companies concerned:

a) the MISE can immediately disburse to Alitalia in as an advance payment with respect to the 350 million allocated for the compensation measure pursuant to art. 79 of the Legislative Decree so-called Cura Italia, an amount not exceeding 250 million, including interest, which must be returned by 15 December 2020 if the authorization from the European Commission is not received;

b) MIT may also disburse Blue Panorama Airlines, Neos and Air Dolomiti, upon their request, a total amount not exceeding 50 million, including interest, from the 130 million Fund introduced with the decree of the so-called Relaunch, which must always be returned by 15 December 2020 if the authorization from the European Commission is not received.

The measure is reasonable but the fact that the competent Ministers have not yet adopted the decrees which should establish the methods of application of the two distinct forms of compensation and which represent the sine qua non for being able to submit the application for authorization to the Commission, leaves somewhat perplexed.

Finally, the introduced advance in favor of Alitalia in AS leaves the suspicion of a new repeated liquidity crisis on the part of the air carrier, which may have already exhausted the third loan of 400 million granted by the State in December 2019. certainly the measure of compensation for public service obligations vis-à-vis Alitalia alone discriminates against the Community carrier DAT which carries out the so-called corporate routes in Italy to and from the airports of Lampedusa and Pantelleria. The European Commission could very well take this into account, requesting further clarifications on the scope and effective purposes of art. 79 of the Legislative Decree so-called Cura Italia which appears to be structured more as a new blanket financing measure for Alitalia in as a rather than as a compensation measure in line with the provisions of the Temporary Framework of 20 March 2020 and with the legislation on state aid.

Attachment at the bottom of this AVIONEWS article 85 of the August decree

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency
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