Emirates' Milan-New York route declared illegal by Italian court

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Emirates could be forced to axe its daily Milan Malpensa-New York service after an Italian court ruled the route was incompatible with European law.

Following a legal challenge from Alitalia and Italian airline trade body Assaereo, Lazio’s regional administrative court TAR ruled that the fifth-freedom rights required to operate international routes from Italy were reserved for European-based carriers.

The Dubai-based carrier began daily services between the two cities with a Boeing 777-300ER on 1 October, as an extension of a Dubai-Milan route, and it represents Emirates’ only service from a European point direct to the USA.

Assaereo welcomed the decision, saying it brought Italy into line with other European countries respecting international air service agreements.

Emirates says: “We are aware of the ruling by the Lazio regional administrative court (TAR) and are reviewing our next steps. The TAR ruled against the applications by Alitalia and Assoereo back in July and the Consiglio di Stato [council of state] confirmed that ruling on appeal in September.

“We are now considering whether to bring this matter before the supreme administrative court through an urgent appeal.”