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Alitalia's state-owned successor will only start flying in September - report

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: Alitalia planes are seen on the tarmac at Fiumicino International Airport in Rome

MILAN (Reuters) - The state-owned Italian airline that will replace bankrupt Alitalia will only start flying in September - missing the peak summer holiday season, daily Corriere della Sera reported on Saturday, citing government sources.

Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA) was initially expected to launch flights in April, but its chief executive said last month that services would begin in July because talks with the European Commission over state aid had reached a stalemate.

CEO Fabio Lazzerini said he wanted flights to start in time for the busy summer season as low-cost rivals including Ireland's Ryanair expanded their services.

But Saturday's Corriere della Sera said the planned start date had now been pushed forward to September because of a lack of progress in the talks between Rome and Brussels.

ITA could, however, reach a deal with Alitalia that would allow it to start selling tickets for the old carrier while it waits for the EU go-ahead to buy the rest of the Alitalia's assets, the newspaper said.

No one at ITA could immediately be reached to comment.

Industry Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti, who is currently responsible for Alitalia's management, is due to meet EU Competition Head Margrethe Vestager in Brussels on Wednesday.

The fate of Alitalia, which employees 11,000 people in Italy, has been a political headache since May 2017, when the carrier was put under emergency administration.

(Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Helen Popper)