Ryanair intends to make a firm bid to acquire Alitalia’s fleet of jets, Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary has indicated.
Speaking at a press conference in London today, O’Leary said he intended to make a bid for some 90 Alitalia jets by the first week of October, which brings the next phase of the Italian carrier’s sale process.
“We would be willing to take on both the short-haul and the long-haul [fleet],” O’Leary says. “One of the aspects of Alitalia that is really attractive is the long-haul fleet, which has the capacity to grow very strongly.”
He says that all-Boeing operator Ryanair would not have a problem with adding Airbus aircraft and their crews and engineers, noting: “We bid previously for Aer Lingus three times – they have only Airbus jets. [When] you bid for an airline, it might have Airbus aircraft, but it also has Airbus pilots, Airbus engineers.”
O’Leary added, “We do not have the aircraft to go and replace all of Alitalia’s fleet tomorrow, or in one year, or in two years, so we would be very willing to buy Alitalia.”
Ryanair would be interested in bidding for the whole of Alitalia, which has around 120 planes, but such a deal would likely be blocked by regulators as it would leave Ryanair in control of over 50% of the Italian market, Mr O’Leary said.
“We’d be very willing to buy Alitalia. But I suspect…given we’re the number one airline in Italy we’d be blocked under EU competition rules,” he said.
Ryanair is one of around ten parties that has expressed an interest in a bid for all or part of the carrier. Mr O’Leary said Alitalia would likely be broken up whoever buys it and that any takeover would include competition remedies.
Full Content: Bloomberg
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