In the midst of the storm triggered by the 5% debit memo, that British apply to corporate card payments from agencies, IAG CEO Willie Walsh shifts the focus to Alitalia. Ignoring appeals and requests made by Italian associations, the Anglo-Spanish aviation group quickly joins the critical voices (Lufthansa and Ryanair) against the bridge loan granted to the former Italian flag carrier, and attacks the choice of new currencies.
The daily Il Sole 24 Ore, in fact, reports that the holding company that owns British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus, is in the group of European competitors, that makes a claim in Brussels against Alitalia over the loan of 900 million euros.
“We are not interested in buying Alitalia – said Willie Walsh during the IATA Annual General Meeting – We are opposed to state aid. Help is admitted under certain conditions; the Italian company has received subsidies many times, this time it has not been restructured. ”
But the “protest” by Willie Walsh does not stop at the bridge loan granted to Alitalia. There is also something for new uniforms, which the “Made in Italy” carrier will present in Milan on June 15th. «I was shocked when I read that Alitalia changes the personnel uniforms again after only two years – added the CEO of the Anglo-Spanish holding – It is an important expense. When I read it, I was thinking – it’s madness! ”
Furthermore, Matteo Salvini, vice-president of the Council and Minister of the Interior, intervened in the Alitalia affair: “The only thing that should not be done is to sell it in small pieces: tourism is the oil of Italy and you have to have a flag carrier strong”.
The confirmation that the Italian government will become a shareholder of Alitalia with 25% means that Alitalia’s return slowly to its role as a national carrier is materializing. This will cost the Italians millions of euros in taxes annually.