Irish airline Ryanair confirmed today it has made a non-binding offer for Italian airline Alitalia, which went into administration in May.
In a statement, the airline said: "We have made a non-binding offer for Alitalia. As the largest airline in Italy, it’s important we are involved in the process."
Italian media reported on Friday that the Italian airline had received around 10 non-binding offers for either total or partial take-over, including from United Arab Emirates' flag carrier Etihad Airways. Those interested in making binding offers have until October to do so.
In June, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary said if his carrier decided to invest in the loss-making Italian airline it would seek a majority stake.
Alitalia went into administration in May after the Italian government approved a €600m bridging loan to allow the airline to continue operating for around six months. It had faced increasing competition from low-cost rivals like Ryanair.
It came after workers rejected the latest rescue plan aimed at unlocking financing for the group. The plan, to be financed to the tune of €2bn (£1.7bn) by shareholders, would have involved job cuts and salary reductions.
If no buyer can be found for Alitalia, the administrators would have to organise the winding up of the airline.
Earlier today, Ryanair announced results for the first quarter of the year with profits up 55 per cent, though the airline warned of a potential fares war over the summer and reiterated Brexit concerns.
O'Leary said if certainty isn't given about the legal basis for operating flights between the UK and the EU by autumn 2018, the airline may be forced to cancel flights and "move some, or all of our UK aircraft to continental Europe" from April 2019.