On the same day that the European Commission approved another EUR12.84 million euros (USD15.5 million) in Italian state aid for Alitalia (AZA, Rome Fiumicino), compensating the bankrupt flag carrier for coronavirus-related losses sustained during January, reports emerged that Rome was considering a new cash injection worth EUR100 million (USD121 million).

The fourth authorisation for subsidies to Alitalia that the commission has approved since the start of the pandemic takes the total amount of “damage compensation aid” in favour of the airline in the Covid era to more than EUR310 million (USD375 million), with earlier tranches covering 2020, namely from March 1 to mid-June, mid-June to the end of October, and November to the end of December.

“This measure aims at compensating the airline for the damages suffered on certain routes due to the coronavirus outbreak during the month of January 2021,” the EU executive declared in a statement on May 12.

It once again reiterated: “The commission considers that the coronavirus outbreak qualifies as such an exceptional occurrence, as it is an extraordinary, unforeseeable event having significant economic impact. As a result, exceptional interventions by the member state to compensate for the damages linked to the outbreak are justified.”

With talks between Brussels and Rome over Alitalia successor ITA - Italia Trasporto Aereo (Milan Linate) still deadlocked, Italy’s government has already allocated EUR52.8 million (USD63.9 million) to pay for the carrier’s April salaries, but sources told the Corriere della Sera newspaper that a further slab of public money worth around EUR100 million will be needed to keep the company afloat until mid-June 2021.

Meanwhile, as previously reported, EU investigations are ongoing into two support measures that Italy granted to Alitalia in 2017 (loans of EUR900 million (USD1.1 billion)), and 2019 (an additional loan of EUR400 million (USD484 million)).