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EasyJet and Lufthansa make offers for parts of Alitalia

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German airline Lufthansa and the UK’s EasyJet have both submitted offers to buy parts of Italy’s Alitalia airline.Lufthansa said it hoped to establish a “New Alitalia”, but was only interested in parts of the existing business.EasyJet said it had submitted an expression of interest but also only wanted “certain assets of a restructured Alitalia”.Europe’s airline industry is fiercely competitive, with Monarch and Air Berlin failing in recent weeks.On Monday, the last of 110,000 Monarch customers who were abroad when the airline collapsed were flown home, according to the UK aviation regulator.Ongoing competition from budget airlines, terror attacks in popular holiday destinations, and rising fuel prices have made it difficult for some airlines to keep going.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.Italian loansOn Friday, the Italian government postponed the deadline for making a final decision over the Alitalia sale from 4 November to April 2018.The government also announced a further €300m (£267m) in loans to keep the carrier flying.Rome has already provided €600m in funds since May, but has now extended the repayment deadline to 30 September 2018, following the decision to delay completion of the sale. The cut-off for submitting bids was 17:00 GMT on Monday.

Lufthansa said in a statement it was interested in “parts of the global network traffic and European and domestic point-to-point business”.Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, referring to anonymous sources, said on Monday that the Lufthansa bid was worth €500m, but was likely to be rejected as the authorities in Rome wished to sell the airline’s assets as a complete package. The newspaper reported Lufthansa was bidding for the planes, airport runway slots and air crew and was proposing to halve Alitalia’s workforce of 12,000 employees as well as reducing its short- and medium-range flights.Irish budget airline Ryanair expressed early interest in Alitalia, but two weeks ago said it was dropping the idea. At the time it was struggling to contain the fallout from a pilot shortage, which led to the cancellation of flights for about 700,000 passengers.
Source: BBC News

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