Lufthansa spreads its wings to bid for struggling Italian airline

Lufthansa spreads its wings to bid for struggling Italian airline

Lufthansa agreed a €210m (£190m) deal for parts of Air Berlin last week, with EasyJet also in talks to buy parts of the failed carrier.

EasyJet said it had submitted an expression of interest but also only wanted "certain assets of a restructured Alitalia".

The Lufthansa Group has submitted an offer letter today, expressing its interest in establishing a "NewAlitalia".

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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.

A takeover by Lufthansa would make Alitalia part of Europe's largest airline, but would also reduce Alitalia to a regional carrier that fed into the Lufthansa system via its hub in Frankfurt.

Last week, the Italian government postponed the deadline for making a final decision on Alitalia's sale from 4 November to April next year. But the bidding process allows for the possibility to isolate either the aviation or handling businesses.

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"The offer includes a concept for a newly structured Alitalia with a focused business model which could develop long-term economic prospects", a statement explained.

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 report said the plan calls for cutting 6,000 jobs and reducing the airline's short- and medium-haul routes, which have suffered under the pressure from low-priced airlines.

A spokesperson of the German airline company, however, declined to comment details of such information.

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