Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary told the press yesterday (September 14) that the company is in the process of finalising an offer for Alitalia.
O’Leary hinted that long-haul flights would be kept under the Alitalia brand but short-haul routes would be changed to Ryanair. The Italian airline was put up for sale earlier this year when the government approved it to fall into administration after giving it nearly £6 billion to stay afloat over the course of a decade.
“We would have to order new planes, whether Boeing or Airbus,” O'Leary said. Alitalia preferred to lease its aircraft, but Ryanair prefers to use its own fleet. He commented that he hopes to strike a deal to keep existing crew and staff, although their employment terms would be changed in order to be kept in line with Ryanair’s low-cost base.
Despite the airline announcing three new planes based at Frankfurt, O’Leary said he has no interest in bidding for Air Berlin.
Bids from shortlisted companies – including Easyjet, Aer Lingus owner IAG, Delta and Air France – are due on October 2. If Ryanair’s bid is accepted, it will be the carrier’s first successful take-over since it purchased Buzz from KLM in 2003.