July 20, 2018 / 6:01 AM / a year ago

EasyJet still keen on parts of Alitalia: CEO to paper

FILE PHOTO: Alitalia's logo is seen at the top of the headquarters at Fiumicino international airport in Rome October 14, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi

MILAN (Reuters) - EasyJet (EZJ.L) is still keen on parts of Alitalia after an Italian minister said this week the government wants the majority of the carrier under state control, the chief executive of the British low cost airline told daily Corriere della Sera.

Italy’s new transport minister, Danilo Toninelli, said earlier this week there was a need for 51 percent of Alitalia to be kept in Italian hands “but with a strong investor next to it who has a mission to fly planes, because (Alitalia) needs to return to being a true flag carrier”.

Asked about the minister’s comments at the Farnborough air show, EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren reiterated the company’s interest for parts of Alitalia, but has to speak with Italy’s new government, which came into power in June, to “understand what they are thinking,” he added.

Earlier this year, EasyJet, Lufthansa (LHAG.DE), and budget carrier Wizz Air (WIZZ.L) submitted expressions of interest in at least parts of Alitalia, but the lengthy formation of a new anti-establishment government in Italy delayed the process.

Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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