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According to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, the German airline Lufthansa has offered €500 million (US$590) for the ailing Italian flag-carrying airline, Alitalia.
It is understood that the offer is for the planes, airport runway slots, and air crew. However, it is believed that Lufthansa’s intention will be to reduce the 12,000-strong workforce by half, as well as reduce the number of short- and medium-range flights.
The newspaper was confident in indicating that the offer is unlikely to be accepted, principally on the grounds that it does not include ground service activities. The state commissioners are keen for Alitalia to be sold as a whole and not be split up. While binding bids were to be submitted by this evening (Monday October 16), last Friday the government extended the deadline to improve bids to April 30, 2018.
In addition, on Friday the Italian government approved an emergency decree to provide an additional €300 million (US$354 million) to the original €600 million (US$708 million) loan granted in May this year. To assist the sale, the government has also extended the deadline for repayment of these loans to September 30, 2018.
easyJet has also submitted an expression of interest for the airline, though it has made it clear it is only interested in “certain assets of a restructured Alitalia.”
The Italian airline was founded in March 1999 and currently serves 94 destinations with a predominantly Airbus-based fleet of 102 jets. There are two major shareholders in the airline, CAI (Compagnia Aerea Italiana) which holds a 51% stake and Etihad Airways with 49%, which it acquired in June 2014.