“The bridging loan is illegal.” But Ita can take off, albeit with limited resources that cannot exceed 1.35 billion in the next three years. After almost four years and the numerous rumors of recent days, Brussels dictates the line on Ita and Alitalia officially condemning the latter and defining illegal the 900 million aid in 2017 with which the Gentiloni government saved the airline for the umpteenth time in difficulty. The Commission’s investigation revealed that Italy did not act as a private investor would have done, as it did not assess in advance the likelihood of repayment of the loans, plus interest. In this regard, the assessment of Alitalia’s financial statements carried out at the time by the Commission found that ‘it was unlikely that Alitalia would be able to generate sufficient liquidity to repay the state loans within the prescribed deadlines and that it would not have been able to sell the its activities to raise sufficient liquidity to repay the debt ». Defining the 900 million state aid, Brussels also establishes that Alitalia will have to repay the loan including interest (at a rate of 9.5%, around 1.3 billion in total), but in fact this possibility will not be realized given that Alitalia is substantially a bad company and will have to repay the privileged creditors, including the State, with the sale of assets that have not ended up in Ita (the newco): brand, handling and maintenance.
“This is really little money compared to what the taxpayer would be entitled to”, explains the transport expert Andrea Giuricin considering “the intervention of Brussels very late”. The brand, for example, is worth 150 million. In fact, if the EU vice president Margrethe Vestager on the one hand condemns Italy, on the other she has decided to save Ita. But under specific conditions. The European Commission has in fact established that this money will not have to be returned by the new company that is leaving, that is Ita, but also that Rome will undertake not to use more than 1.35 billion for the newco. “Italy has shown that there is a clear discontinuity between Alitalia and the new airline Ita,” Vestager said, giving the green light for its take-off in mid-October. The new company will therefore be born with an injection of public capital equal to 1.35 billion. This raises the final bill that has been weighing on the public coffers for years: “For Alitalia we spent 7 billion – commented yesterday the president of Confindustria, Carlo Bonomi – NASA with less than 3 billion went to Mars”. And if this age-old game seems closed, the chapter with the unions regarding the staff who remain outside the new company has yet to be written. After the tension of recent weeks and political appeals, the government has decided to open two tables next week: one with the Minister of Labor Andrea Orlando on the subject of active policies and social safety nets for Alitalia employees. And the other with Ita that will again convene the unions, on the basis of the texts distributed, to continue the discussions regarding the hiring of new staff. «We have two fixed points on Alitalia. On the one hand, guaranteeing the start-up of the new company, in compliance with the commitments made with the European Commission, and on the other guaranteeing all Alitalia employees a path of active policies, aimed at reintegrating these professionals into the labor market. In this direction there is my commitment and that of the Ministry of Economy “, said the Deputy Minister of Economy, Laura Castelli