The CEO of Germany’s Lufthansa has said the company would be interested in buying Italy's troubled flagship carrier if an opportunity arose to “to create a new Alitalia”.
His comments come just days before an October 16th deadline for the submission of bids.
Ryanair pulled out of the running earlier this month as it deals with a shortage of pilots that forced it to cancel thousands of flights.
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr told German media on Thursday: “Alitalia as it exists today is not up for debate. But if there was a chance of creating a new Alitalia, then as Europe's No1 [carrier] Lufthansa would certainly be interested in the talks. Italy is an important market for us.”
Alitalia, which has struggled to compete with low-cost rivals including Ryanair, went into administration at the start of May, moving the airline a step closer to liquidation amid efforts to find a buyer.
At the time, the government said it would provide a bridging loan to keep Alitalia planes flying for around six months.
Lufthansa, which on Thursday signed a deal to buy more than half of Air Berlin, is reported to have been among around 18 companies that were given access to Alitalia’s figures.