Meridiana Fly probes EasyJet Milan-Rome slot award

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Olbia-based Meridiana Fly is mulling an appeal against the recent award by Italy's competition authority of lucrative slot pairs on the Milan Linate-Rome Fiumicino route to low-cost rival EasyJet.

Alitalia had operated a monopoly on the key business route since its merger with Air One in 2009, however the regulator suspended competition rules until this year, when it offered eight slot pairs to the market. Although Meridiana had applied for the allocation, on 26 October the regulator handed the rights to Easyjet.

In its third-quarter results, Meridiana Fly says due to the potential value of the routes, it will examine the "legitimacy of the criteria and procedures" used by the competition authority to make its decision and reserves the right to bring an appeal "to protect its interests".

For the nine months to 30 September, the carrier had turnover of €529 million, down against the €691 million recorded in the same period a year earlier. However, action by the carrier to cut capacity and routes following its October 2011 acquisition of Air Italy, led to an EBIT improvement against the previous year, with losses trimmed to €47.4 million from €50.1 million.