Published on Thursday, December 6, 2007

Air France KLM bids for Alitalia

Air France KLM has made an offer for Alitalia and other airlines and investment groups are expected to follow suit.

In October, the Italian carrier identified six potential private bidders to buy the 49% share currently owned by the country's government.

According to BCC reports, other possible bidders include Lufthansa, Aeroflot, Air One, private equity firm Texas Pacific, and a financial consortium.

Making the bid today, Air France KLM chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta said: "This major step in European consolidation would not only be beneficial for passengers but would also meet the requirements for the group's economic and financial stability."

The airline said a large number of European and intercontinental destinations would be proposed to and from Rome-Fiumicino Airport, which would become a hub.

Many medium and long-haul direct services would operate to and from Milan, with enhanced service and more early morning departures and evening return flights to better meet the needs of business customers.

Alitalia has been hit recently by increased costs, tighter competition and a series of strikes.

Its board is due to meet later today to discuss the bid.

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