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Ryanair would not want Alitalia even for free

Ryanair would not want to take over Alitalia even if it were given away for free, the Irish low-cost carrier's chief executive said on Tuesday, describing the Italian airline as a “mess”.

“We wouldn't take a present of Alitalia, much less buy it,” Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary told a news conference. “Mind you, no one else seems to be willing to pay for it either.” The Italian government is struggling to find a buyer for its ailing national airline after a seven-month auction for the carrier collapsed when all the bidders pulled out. “Alitalia is a mess.

It's not going to be sorted out until you remove the political interference,” O'Leary said. “The only thing that's got to be done is to dispose, sell or privatize Alitalia, but it can't be privatized in the current model where everybody's jobs are guaranteed and no changes will be made.” Still Alitalia could have a bright future if it were restructured and it offered lower fares, he said. Ryanair executives have not shied away from lambasting Alitalia in the past.

The Irish airline has accused Italian authorities of trying to limit growth of low-cost carriers to protect the national carrier. Ryanair also said it had filed a complaint in an Italian court and with the European Commission against a decision by Italian aviation authorities to cut traffic in Rome's Ciampino airport, which it blamed on an effort to shield Alitalia. (reuters)