The European Commission has approved a further €73.02m in Italian state support for Alitalia declaring it to be in line with EU state aid rules.

The funding, which takes the form of a direct grant, is aimed at compensating the carrier for damages suffered “according to a route-by-route quantitative analysis of 19 eligible routes submitted by Italy” due to the coronavirus pandemic between 16 June and 31 October, it said in a statement dated 29 December.

The restrictions in place in Italy and other countries have heavily affected Alitalia's operations, especially regarding international and intercontinental flights, the EU watchdog said, and as a result the airline “incurred significant operating losses” at least until the end of October.

As with other state aid provided to airlines by various European countries, the Commission said it considered that the outbreak qualified as an exceptional occurrence, as it is an unforeseeable event having a significant economic impact.

However, the commission’s investigations into past support measures to Alitalia are still ongoing, it warned.