Ryanair – currently the largest European airline by number of passengers flown – has recently repeated its interest to buy the trouble-ridden Italian airline. However, the Irish have several important conditions that need to be fulfilled first – Alitalia must be restructured and Ryanair must possess the majority stake in the end.
Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s charismatic and outspoken CEO, told ANSA major Italian news agency) that his company would be interested only if it got a pie slice larger than 50%, making sure to note that Etihad holding 49% of the shares since 2014 is already “out of the game”.
Among the changes O’Leary deems necessary are a renegotiation of the deal with Italy’s airport company ADR regarding airport fees, the cancellation of the agreement with Air France (which prevent the company from developing long-haul routes), and last but not least – staff cuts.
“Last year Alitalia carried 24 million customers and had 14,000 staff. We carried 120 million with 12,000 staff,” O’Leady said, commenting on the last condition. “The unions have to face up to reality.”
Ryanair is not the sole contender for this loss-making prize, as Alitalia had reported 32 companies being interested in the beginning of June. The enthusiasm was soon curbed by reports in Italy’s media outlets saying that the majority of the potential owners were aiming at smaller stakes of the company. Reports quote such major carriers as British Airways and Lufthansa among those expressing interest in Alitalia.
Alitalia, currently under special administration, will wait until July 21 for non-binding offers from interested buyers. The deadline for submitting binding offers is October. If the company fails to attract a buyer by that time, the carrier will be dissolved leading to 20,000 people within the airline and its suppliers losing their jobs.
Source – AeroTime