Rome

Alitalia antitrust ruling 'could bring down prices 30%'

Consumer group applauds the opening of slots on Rome-Milan route

Alitalia antitrust ruling 'could bring down prices 30%'

Rome, October 25 - A ruling by Italy's antitrust authority that flagship carrier Alitalia must give up its exclusive on the Rome-Milan route could bring ticket prices down by as much as 30%, consumer group Federconsumatori said on Friday. The ruling to open seven slots on the Rome Fiumicino-Milan Linate route to competitor airline EasyJet was announced on Thursday and overturns an ad hoc legislative decree that amended the suspended antitrust laws in 2008. "This is an important decision for numerous passengers who, up until yesterday, were unjustly forced into paying higher-than-necessary prices," Federconsumatori said. The 2008 legislative decree allowed Alitalia to keep its position in an attempt to salvage its leading position in the Italian market and repay a government bridge loan of 300 million euros to the then almost insolvent carrier. The airline said last April that it lost 2 million passengers and 50% of its earnings in the space of three years as a result of high-speed rail companies like the Frecciarossa. The slots apply especially to "peak transit hours in the morning and evening," the antitrust authority said.

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