Italy's competition authority has fined Alitalia for using unfair tactics in its fight against two new national airlines Air One (formerly Aliadriatica) and Meridiana, which have been attempting to make inroads into the Italian domestic market.

The L415 million ($280,000) fine was less than expected because of Alitalia's critical financial position. The authority found that Alitalia "systematically" time-tabled its own flights to conflict with the new competitors, blocked their request for airport slots and attempted to use its influence with travel agents to hamper the issue of Air One tickets.

In response, the Italian transport ministry has now relieved Alitalia from slot-allocation responsibilities, which will be given to an independent agency. Alitalia's anti- competitive actions, says the authority, were a key factor in the decision of the domestics to withdraw from several routes being operated in direct competition.

See Business, P24.

Source: Flight International