Delta and Air France-KLM consider majority stake in ITA Airways – paper

Delta Airlines planes are loaded and unloaded as travel has been curtailed due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) concerns, at Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA , April 14, 2020. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart/Files

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MILAN, March 10 (Reuters) – Delta Airlines and Air France-KLM have teamed up with an unidentified fund to show interest in a majority stake in ITA Airways, the daily La Repubblica said on Thursday, paving the way for a potential battle of offers for the successor of Alitalia.

The expression of interest was presented to the Italian government in a letter, the newspaper said, citing a government source.

A new expression of interest came from another international fund that is already invested in low-cost carriers, the newspaper added.

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A Delta spokesperson (DAL.N) said the US airline was in regular contact with ITA management but did not comment directly on the report.

“Delta has a long history with the former Alitalia and has created a partnership with ITA Airways which Delta is committed to strengthening,” the spokesperson said.

Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) also declined to comment on the report, reiterating its commitment to deepen cooperation with ITA. He was often considered a potential partner for Alitalia, but no speculation ever came to fruition.

The Italian government had no immediate comment.

Both Air France-KLM and Delta have codeshare partnerships with ITA, the lightweight successor to Alitalia which started operations last October.

Shipping group MSC announced in January that it had teamed up with German airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) to express interest in ITA as the Italian government seeks to reduce its stake. Read more

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Reporting by Maria Pia Quaglia and Agnieszka Flak in Milan and Juliette Jabkhiro in Paris Editing by Keith Weir and Mark Potter

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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