The Italian government hopes to avoid the breakup of Alitalia, now in bankruptcy protection, through ensuring a takeover of the entire airline.

Alitalia went into “extraordinary administration” in May after employees rejected a €2 billion rescue tied to substantial redundancies and cuts in pay.

Ryanair, easyJet and Etihad, which held 49% of Alitalia until May, are among up to 10 airlines and private equity groups to have submitted bids for the Italian carrier.

The conditions for tabling bids set out by state-appointed administrators this week note preference will be given to offers for all of Alitalia, in an effort to prevent the cherry-picking of routes and assets.

They specify that in considering two offers, preference will go to an offer for the whole airline.

Ryanair is known to be interested in taking over only Alitalia’s short-haul operations.

Alitalia continues to operate its schedule after the Italian government made €600 million available to keep it afloat. The government aims to sell the airline by the end of this year.

In a statement, administrators Luigi Gubitosi said: “Alitalia has great untapped potential. This potential is even greater if the company remains whole.”

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary confirmed this week that he has made a non-binding offer for the carrier.

Formal offers are expected in October. The carrier looks certain to cease flying without a takeover.


Ryanair seeks majority stake in Alitalia

Comment: Arrivederci Alitalia