The six-year-old boy whose parents died in an Italian cable car crash flew from Israel to Italy today after a drawn-out battle for custody, a family spokesman said.

Fourteen people died last May when a cable car linking Italy's Lake Maggiore with a nearby mountain plunged to the ground.

"After 84 days since he was illegally removed from his home, Eitan will now return to his routine life... to his friends in the neighbourhood and to school, to the community where he grew up and to his beloved cat Oliver," the family spokesman Eitay Har-Or told AFP.

The child's departure to Italy comes after a months-long struggle between his maternal grandfather Shmulik Peleg, based in Israel, and his paternal aunt who lives in northern Italy, following the accident in which Eitan's parents and brother were killed.

In October, Shmulik Peleg drove his grandson from Italy to Switzerland and then flew with him to Israel on a private jet, prompting an Italian kidnapping probe and questioning by Israeli police.

On 25 October, an Israeli family court ruled that the boy be returned to his family in Italy, and his grandfather lost an appeal against the decision on 12 November.

Israel's supreme court upheld the ruling on Monday.