The new Italian airline ITA, due to fly on 15 October, will not be encumbered with the debts of Alitalia following a European Commission announcement that two loans granted to Alitalia by the Italian government, were illegal under State aid rules.

“With respect to the €900m loans, the in-depth investigation has shown that first, the loans amount to State aid for Alitalia, and second that they are illegal under State aid rules,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission.

How this debt is dealt with remains to be seen.

She goes on to say: “Under our rules, a new company is not liable for past aid received by the seller, if the two companies are sufficiently different from one another. In other words, if there is a clear break between them, so-called ‘economic discontinuity’.”

There is little doubt that the lawyers for easyJet and Ryanair, both with substantial Italian operations, will want an explanation of ‘economic discontinuity.’’

It would seem that despite being “off-side” (the Italians love their football) the referee (the EU) has said “play-on” or words to that effect.   See BTN 30 August Alitalia – The final, final rescue.