Delta still eyeing 10% of Alitalia after LATAM stake buy: CEO

FILE PHOTO: Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines, speaks during a keynote address at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines is ready to invest in the rescue of Italian flagship carrier Alitalia but still believes that a 10% stake is the right level of investment, Chief Executive Ed Bastian told Reuters on Thursday.

Bastian's comments follow Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's call last week for Delta to consider increasing its planned investment as talks to relaunch Alitalia drag on, and news on Thursday that Delta is buying 20% of Chile's LATAM Airlines Group LTM.SN.

Asked whether the LATAM investment changes its Alitalia plans, Bastian said: “We are in discussions with the consortium and the government and there are no changes in our position. We are ready to invest in Alitalia but 10% is still what we believe to be the right level of investment.”

Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Dan Grebler