Irish giant Ryanair will bid for bankrupt Italian carrier Alitalia and intends to operate its full fleet of jet aircraft if it succeeds in a takeover, including long-haul flights.

However, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said he expects the bid to be blocked and hopes instead to benefit from any remedies regulatory authorities impose on the successful bidders.

O’Leary said: “We will be making an offer [when] the next round of offers is due in the first week of November.

“We would be very willing to buy Alitalia. We’ll submit an offer for Alitalia’s 90 [Airbus] jet aircraft with their crew and engineers.”

O’Leary insisted: “We’re willing to take both short haul and long-haul aircraft.

“One of the attractions of Alitalia is the long-haul fleet. You just have to look at the Italian population in America, and Alitalia would be free to have a lot more routes to the US [in future].”

He conceded: “We don’t have much interest in long haul, but it was the same with Aer Lingus when we were interested in buying that.”

O’Leary also confirmed: “We would operate it as Alitalia. It’s a very good brand.”

However, O’Leary said: “I’m fairly sure we will be blocked from taking over Alitalia. We have a 35% share of the Italian market already. But I think we’ll get something.

“It is likely it will be broken up and likely there will be some remedies, and we want to position ourselves to take these up.”


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