Italian airlines challenge Alitalia air traffic rights deal - report


London (Thomson Financial) - Several Italian airlines are challenging a deal on air traffic rights reached between Alitalia and the national civil aviation authority, allegedly to facilitate the takeover bid by Air France-KLM, the Financial Times reported.

The agreement between Enac and Alitalia, which has not been made public, reassigns traffic rights for some intercontinental routes that the carrier was planning not to use from Milan's Malpensa airport. The slots would be of interest to Air France-KLM. the newspaper quoted industry and government sources as saying.

The deal also assigns to Alitalia traffic rights that belonged to Volare, a low-cost airline it rescued from bankruptcy in 2006, despite a court ruling that the sale of Volare was irregular, the FT sources added. Air One, Blue Panorama, Eurofly, Air Italy and Neos are requesting that Enac release details of the agreement and are considering a legal challenge, arguing they should be allowed access to the rights, the FT said.

An Enac official said the agreement was completely normal and it was preparing to release the details. She said there was no political motivation involved, the newspaper added.

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