The German national carrier Lufthansa expressed on Thursday an interest in buying a stake in Alitalia, Reuters and Italy’s Il Messaggero reported on Thursday.
Lufthansa favours a solution that will give private shareholders majority ownership but the size of its commitment is not yet known. For the moment, the company that is most committed to investing in Alitalia is the state-owned railway company Ferrovie dello Stato.
There is also an interest from the infrastructure group Atlantia and the U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines to join the consortium. Lufthansa’s entry in the consortium would be mutually exclusive to Delta.
Alitalia has been run by special administrators since May 2017. Since the Italian state has been seeking a viable consortium. To give Alitalia more time to negotiate a rescue deal, Rome postponed yet again an Oct. 15 deadline for Ferrovie to present a binding bid for Alitalia.
Alitalia’s cash reserves stood at €310 million in September and the company needs a cash infusion to prepare for next year’s peak summer season. This autumn a number of airlines have failed to secure credit and have closed down, including Thomas Cook, Adria, Aigle Azur, XL and, earlier this year, WOW, Germania, and Flybmi. This, in turn, leads to a consolidation of the European aviation sector.