Italy gets another gift.

Covid-19 problems is the reason given by the European Commission for the €39.7m in further assistance now given by the Italian Government.

The measure is said to compensate for losses sustained on certain routes due to the impact of the pandemic on travel restrictions and air travel demand between 1 March and 30 April.

It follows the Commission’s earlier approval of cash to compensate the bankrupt airline for losses during January.  But the latest nod is the fifth authorisation for subsidies to Alitalia that Brussels has approved since the start of the pandemic, taking the total so far to around €350m.

Founded in 1946 the airline has a long history of bankruptcies and buyouts over the decades and is now owned by the Italian Government.

“The restrictions put in place in Italy and other countries to limit the spread of a second and third wave of the coronavirus pandemic have heavily affected Alitalia’s operations. As a result, Alitalia incurred significant operating losses until at least April 30, 2021,” the European Commission explained in a statement on 2 July.

European Union rules allow member states to compensate specific companies or sectors for damages directly caused by exceptional occurrences.