German flag carrier Lufthansa has confirmed it wants to buy parts of stricken Italian airline Alitalia. But the offer would entail drastic job losses. Too drastic for the government in Rome to even consider?
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.
Lufthansa's bid would concern only the global network traffic and European domestic point-to-point business of the Italian carrier, rather than the entire airline, the statement also said.
According to a report by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, the Lufthansa bid would entail a 50-percent cut of the Italian carrier's roughly 12,000 employees. The government in Rome, however, considered the offer "too brutal in terms of job losses," the newspaper added.
Ryanair out of the running
Lufthansa's offer came hours before a Monday evening deadline for interested parties to make binding offers. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr expressed an interest "in a newly positioned Alitalia," describing the company in its current state as not economically viable.
Alitalia, struggling to compete with low-cost rivals, went into administration in May after staff rejected job and salary cuts as part of a 2-billion-euro rescue plan.
Irish no-frills carrier Ryanair had expressed early interest in Alitalia, but said two weeks ago it was dropping the idea as it struggled with the fallout from thousands of cancellations of its own flights owing to a shortage of pilots.
The Italian government announced the deadline for the procedure of "ceding assets belonging to Alitalia" had been extended to April 30, 2018.
Low-cost airline easyJet has also joined the biddding for Alitalia, saying on Monday it had submitted an expression of interest. The British budget carrier is focussing on "certain assets of a restructured Alitalia," adding however that the process was confidential and there was no certainty that any transaction would proceed.
uhe/jd (dpa, Reuters, AFP)