Ryanair wants to take Alitalia routes, not buy airline

Ryanair is ready to deploy up to 30 planes in Italy to replace capacity lost if Alitalia collapses or is restructured but does not want to buy the struggling Italian carrier, chief executive Michael O’Leary has said.

Ryanair’s view mirrors the stance of rival EasyJet and Aer Lingus owner International Airlines Group.

They have both said they are interested in replacing Alitalia capacity but say they do not want to buy the airline.

Alitalia has filed for bankruptcy protection and a commissioner was appointed to review its future and determine whether it can continue under a new business model.

The commissioner, Luigi Gubitosi, has said that Alitalia’s long-haul traffic is doing well and that selling the airline in one block would be the preferred option.

Asked at a Brussels news conference whether Ryanair would be interested in buying Alitalia, O’Leary replied with an unequivocal «no».

He added that his company had submitted an expression of interest only because it wants to «participate in the process».

Ryanair is instead preparing to deploy up to 20 aircraft initially over a two-week period this summer if Alitalia cuts capacity significantly.

«We’ve written to the Italian government and we’ve said ‘look, if something untoward happens, don’t worry, we will step into the breach’,» O’Leary said.

The planes will be found by tweaking schedules and extending leases, he said, adding that the potential deployment could increase up to 30 planes over the next 12 months…

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