Assessing the possible solutions to keep Alitalia (AZ, Rome Fiumicino) afloat, Italy’s new government led by economist Mario Draghi is considering taking control of the bankrupt flag carrier as part of a plan that would include a capital raise from Lufthansa (LH, Frankfurt Int'l), the newspaper La Repubblica has reported.

“Alitalia is moving towards a sale of its assets first to the state and then to Lufthansa,” the report claimed.

Previous efforts to find partners for the administrator-led airline, which filed for bankruptcy in 2017, included Lufthansa, but these came to nothing. Rome re-nationalised Alitalia in May.

Another newspaper, La Stampa, reported last week that Giuseppe Leogrande, Alitalia’s chief commissioner, had asked the government for a further EUR150 million euros (USD181 million) to pay salaries for February and keep the airline going.

According to La Repubblica, the operation that the new government is reportedly considering would take place in three stages: first to place Alitalia under the control of its low-cost subsidiary Alitalia CityLiner (CT, Rome Fiumicino), then for Italy’s economy ministry to take control of CityLiner - retaining a total of 70 aircraft and about 5,500 employees - and finally for Lufthansa to enter the company via a capital increase.

State loans to Alitalia, which as previously reported have come under scrutiny at the European Commission, would be returned through CityLiner, thereby satisfying Brussels’ demands.

At some point, Alitalia would exit the Skyteam alliance, which includes the now-struggling Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines, and possibly apply to join Lufthansa’s Star Alliance.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Alitalia currently operates a total of 104 aircraft, including CityLiner’s fleet of ten ERJ 170-200LRs and five ERJ 190-100LR. The company has a workforce numbering almost 11,000 employees.

Alitalia was not immediately available for comment, while Lufthansa told ch-aviation that it does not comment on any speculations.