EU regulators, Italy clear key hurdle for Alitalia's successor

Alitalia planes are seen on the tarmac at Fiumicino International Airport as talks between Italy and the European Commission over the revamp of Alitalia are due to enter a key phase, in Rome, Italy, April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Remo Casilli/File Photo

BRUSSELS, July 1 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Thursday it has reached a deal with Italy on the parameters for separating loss-making carrier Alitalia from its successor, a step key to securing EU approval for the new airline and to write off Alitalia's subsidies.

Brussels and Rome have been in lengthy talks over Alitalia's fate and its successor Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA), demanding that ITA should be independent from the former so that it will not be liable for Alitalia's billions of euros in state aid received in recent years.

Commission Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager met Italy's economy and industry ministers late on Wednesday.

"Following intense and constructive discussions at all levels, the Commission and the Italian authorities have reached a common understanding on the key parameters to ensure economic discontinuity between ITA and Alitalia," a Commission spokesperson said.

The two sides had previously disagreed over ITA ceding half of Alitalia's slots at Milan Linate airport, the old brand and the loyalty programme.

The Commission declined to comment on Rome's plan to extend to December the maturity of a 400-million-euro ($473.9 million)bridge loan granted Alitalia, according to a draft decree seen by Reuters.

"It is for member states to assess whether a measure involves state aid that needs to be notified to the Commission under EU rules," the spokesperson said.

($1 = 0.8441 euros)

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Jason Neely and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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