ND051 - Lufthansa offers 500 million euro for troubled Alitalia
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Lufthansa offers 500 million euro for troubled Alitalia

EasyJet also interested in taking over Italian carrier

Lufthansa has offered 500 million euro ($590 million) to Italy’s troubled national carrier, Alitalia, for acquiring the planes, aircrew and airport runway slots. However, the German airline might encounter some competition from EasyJet.

Lufthansa wants to establish a new Alitalia

Citing three anonymous sources, Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera said Lufthansa also proposed to make drastic changes in Alitalia’s workforce and schedules. Cutbacks would see half of the 12,000 employees lose their jobs as well as reduction of short- and medium-range flights. The paper said the offer was likely to be rejected by the state commissioners who are managing the carrier while it is being sold.

Lufthansa hopes to establish ‘NewAlitalia’, but it is only interested in parts of the existing business. “The offer includes a concept for a newly structured Alitalia with a focused business model which could develop long-term economic prospects,” a statement explained.

The initial deadline for interested parties to submit bids for Alitalia closed on Monday. However, the Italian government postponed the deadline for making a final bid to April 2018.

EasyJet said it had submitted an expression of interest but only wanted “certain assets of a restructured Alitalia”. Both airlines are keen to exploit the competition in European aviation, which has seen both Monarch and airberlin collapse in recent weeks.

Alitalia has been in financial difficulties for almost a decade, and in May 2017 it filed for bankruptcy. The Italian administrators want to sell the whole of Alitalia in one package and avoid a split of its aviation and ground service activities.

Early October, the government loaned another 300 million euro ($352 million), adding to the loan of 600 million euro ($705 million) it made to the loss-making carrier in May. It also extended the deadline for the repayment of the loan, which was due in November this year, to the end of September 2018.

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