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IAG calls for EU to intervene in Italy's 'illegal' Alitalia rescue

An Alitalia worker walks in front of the headquarter at Fiumicino international airport in Rome October 14, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi
An Alitalia worker walks in front of the headquarter at Fiumicino international airport in Rome October 14, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi

LONDON (Reuters) - International Airlines Group said Italy's rescue of near-bankrupt airline Alitalia was "illegal" on Monday and urged the European Commission to intervene.

"We have always been opposed to state aid. It's protectionist, undermines competition and favors failing airlines that have not got to grips with economic reality," said a spokeswoman for IAG, Europe's third biggest airline by market value.

"We would urge and expect the EU Commission to take interim measures to suspend this manifestly illegal aid."

IAG owns Spanish carrier Iberia and British Airways.

A spokesman for the European Commission said last week the Commission would examine Alitalia's emergency plan once it had been notified. The spokesman said that in principle Alitalia could receive state aid if the EU's rules in regards to restructuring were respected.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh, additional reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Paul Sandle)

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