EU Commission approves Italy's airport support scheme

FILE PHOTO: A passenger walks outside Fiumicino airport after the Italian government announced flights to and from the UK will be resumed following an order by the Health Ministry, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Rome, Italy, December 24, 2020. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission on Monday approved Italy’s 800 million euro state aid scheme to compensate airports and ground-handling operators following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel.

The compensation, in the form of direct grants, covers the period of March 1 to July 14, 2020.

“Airports are among the companies that have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus outbreak,” the Commission’s Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

“This 800 million euro scheme will enable Italy to compensate them for the damage suffered,” she said.

The Commission, the EU competition enforcer, has enabled more government aid since March 2020 to make it easier for companies hit by the COVID-19 pandemic to receive support.

Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Giles Elgood