Alitalia says it is charged higher fees by airports than foreign rivals

FILE PHOTO: An Alitalia airplane is seen before take off from the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy, June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

MILAN (Reuters) - Alitalia [CAITLA.UL] said on Friday it was being charged higher fees by airports in Italy than its foreign competitors, and the practice was hampering its recovery as the sector emerges from the coronavirus crisis.

Citing the example of Trieste airport in northern Italy, Alitalia said it was being charged to resume services from that facility at more than double the rate applied to its competitors.

The airline, which is in the process of being re-nationalised after years of difficult private management and failed restructuring attempts, said it had sent evidence of what it described as “economic discrimination” to the relevant authorities, adding this was a trend seen at the majority of Italy’s airports.

“Alitalia’s efforts to become more efficient require an end to the competitive asymmetry existing with foreign companies that receive equal service,” the company said in a statement.

Alitalia added that being able to resume its flight connections depended on how quickly demand recovers from the impact of the coronavirus and on “obtaining from airports economic conditions for the restart of flights in line with those offered to other airlines”.

Trieste airport could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Giles Elgood