Ryanair drops its bid to buy ailing Alitalia

Irish no-frills airline Ryanair said on Wednesday it was dropping its bid to buy Italian carrier Alitalia, as it struggles with a shortage of pilots that has forced it to cancel thousands of flights.

Ryanair drops its bid to buy ailing Alitalia
A Ryanair plane takes off from Dublin Airport. Photo: Paul Faith/AFP

“In order to focus on repairing this rostering problem this winter, Ryanair will eliminate all management distractions starting with its interest in Alitalia,” it said in a statement.

“We have notified the Alitalia bankruptcy Commissioners that we will not be pursuing our interest in Alitalia or submitting any further offers for the airline.”

The Dublin-based carrier had announced a non-binding offer in July for Alitalia.

Alitalia, which has struggled to compete with low-cost rivals including Ryanair, went into administration at the start of May, moving the flagship airline a step closer to liquidation as efforts continue to find a buyer.

About 18 companies expressing an interest in a potential purchase had reportedly been given access to the company's figures, including also Delta Airlines, British Airways and Lufthansa.

Italy's government in May said it would provide a bridging loan to keep Alitalia planes flying for around six months.

Those interested in making binding offers have until October. If no buyer can be found, the administrators will have to organize Alitalia's winding-up.

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Photo: poppet with a camera/Flickr