EasyJet, Lufthansa bid to break up Italy's Alitalia

EasyJet, Lufthansa bid to break up Italy's Alitalia

Andrew Cummings
October 17, 2017

Germany's Lufthansa was ready to make an offer of about 500 million euros ($590 million) to bankrupt Alitalia, the German flagship airline said in a statement released Monday.

Alitalia, struggling to compete with low-priced rivals, went into administration in May after staff rejected job and salary cuts as part of a 2-billion-euro rescue plan.

EasyJet said it too was interested "in certain assets of a restructured Alitalia", without providing details.

"Given the nature of the process, the content of the expression of interest is subject to confidentiality", the United Kingdom budget airline added.

Lufthansa said its Alitalia offer puts forward plans to establish a "New Alitalia", but confirmed it has not offered to buy the whole airline.

To help keep Alitalia afloat, the government also voted to loan the company 300 million euros, half the size of the loan it made in May. Instead, it is only interested in taking over parts of the global network traffic and European and domestic point-to-point business. The deadline for the repayment of the loan from May was extended from November of this year to September 2018.

The newspaper reported Lufthansa was bidding for the planes, airport runway slots and air crew and was proposing to halve Alitalia's workforce of 12,000 employees as well as reducing its short- and medium-range flights.

On Friday, the Italian government postponed the deadline for making a final decision over the Alitalia to April 2018.

Ryanair has withdrawn its interest for the Italian national carrier.

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