Ryanair's interest in an Alitalia takeover has taken off, with the airline saying today it is in the process of finalising a binding offer for the Italian flag carrier.
The Irish carrier's chief executive Michael O'Leary told Reuters: "We would have to order new planes, whether Boeing or Airbus."
He added that Ryanair preferred to own its fleet, as opposed to lease planes like Alitalia, and that he hoped his airline would maintain jobs for pilot and crew, but said they would have to be on new terms in line with Ryanair's cost base.
A Ryanair spokesperson confirmed to City A.M. that Ryanair is involved in the process and intends to make a binding offer.
Alitalia was put up for sale earlier this year, after the Italian government approved its collapse into administration in May, following a vote by employees to reject a rescue plan.
O'Leary also said Ryanair was not interested in a bid for Air Berlin, which filed for insolvency last month, as the process was not transparent, having previously complained it was set up to bolster Germany's largest airline Lufthansa.
He said he anticipated European Union competition authorities would demand substantial remedies if Lufthansa bought Air Berlin, with the airline likely to have to relinquish slots on German routes to preserve competition.