Budget British airline easyJet has pulled out of plans to form a consortium to bid for bankrupt Italian carrier Alitalia.
EasyJet said that following discussions with state-controlled railway Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane and Delta Air Lines about forming a consortium to “explore options” for Alitalia, it has now withdrawn from the process.
The Italian government is conducting a sales process for Alitalia, which was placed into special administration in 2017.
Had a deal gone through, it would have given easyJet and Delta around 40% of the Italian carrier.
EasyJet added that it “remains committed to Italy”.
The Luton-based firm carries 18.5 million passengers every year in the country and employs 1,400 pilots and crew, all on local contracts.
“We continue to invest in the three bases in Milan, Naples, Venice, as we have done by basing additional aircraft in Venice and Naples last summer,” the company said.
The announcement comes just weeks after Italy’s deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said he was confident that talks with easyJet and Delta would result in a relaunch of Alitalia.
For its part, Delta said it remains interested in working with Alitalia and discussions are on-going.