ROME – EasyJet would want more slots at Milan’s Linate airport should carrier ITA team up with Germany’s Lufthansa, the chief executive of the British carrier said, indicating the airline’s commitment to Italy.
“We want to expand. If ITA goes (to Lufthansa) then Linate will increase the flights towards Frankfurt and Munich,” easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren was quoted as saying in daily Il Sole 24 Ore on Thursday.
“ITA should give up some slots and it would be an opportunity for easyJet to have more in order to increase connections from Milan to Europe’s capitals, “ he added.
EasyJet, the second largest airline in Italy by number of passengers, came through the pandemic by cutting costs, bolstering its balance sheet and switching capacity to its busiest routes.
Last week the Italian government launched the process to find a partner for ITA Airways, the state-owned successor to Alitalia which started flying in October.
Shipping company MSC and Lufthansa have expressed an interest in buying a majority stake in ITA, and asked for an exclusivity period of 90 days to iron out details.
Lundgren also told Il Sole 24 that easyJet was committed to its standalone plan after rejecting a takeover approach last year.
He expects airline traffic in Europe to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2023.
The CEO added that easyJet expected eight aircraft to be delivered in 2022, and seven next year, confirming it had 118 airplanes on order in total.