Ryanair boss says he would be "happy" to swoop on Air Berlin

 
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Michael O'Leary is keen to play a part in the consolidation of the industry (Source: Getty)

The colourful boss of Ryanair said today that he would be "happy" to make a bid for insolvent airline Air Berlin, pending further information on the company's financial situation.

Speaking to Reuters, chief executive Michael O'Leary said: "We would be very happy to bid for the whole of Air Berlin, which is generally a short-haul, domestic, intra-EU carrier.

"But we don't know how much restructuring it will take, how much money is it losing, why is it losing so much money in a market where we make money."

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Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy earlier this month after major shareholder Etihad Airways withdrew funding. The carrier is now in talks with a number of aviation firms over its future.

But a German officials has said that it is unlikely a direct takeover by one bidder, Lufthansa will be possible, as it would make many domestic German routes uncompetitive.

O'Leary yesterday echoed this view, asking "What's going to be left by the time Lufthansa completes the discussions?"

Ryanair announced after Air Berlin filed for insolvency that it had lodged complaints with German officials and the European Commission, branding the possible Lufthansa takeover an "obvious conspiracy" between the German airlines and their government.

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He added that he saw Ryanair as being at the centre of the next wave of takeovers. "We are clearly going to play a role in the consolidation of the European airline industry, given that we're the biggest airline in Europe," he said.

He added that he would be interested in buying Alitalia, another struggling airline, if it could be restructured.

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