April 30, 2019 / 6:15 PM / 19 days ago

Alitalia to respond to possible rescue plan on Thursday - source

FILE PHOTO: Alitalia airplanes pictured at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy, March 30, 2019. REUTERS/Alberto Lingria/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - State-appointed commissioners running Alitalia are expected to reply on Thursday to a request by Italy’s state railway Ferrovie dello Stato to extend a deadline for submitting a rescue plan for the airline, a source familiar with the matter said.

Alitalia has been under special administration since 2017 when workers rejected the latest in a long line of rescue plans, leaving it to the government in Rome to orchestrate a rescue and avoid mass layoffs.

Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Tuesday the Italian government was assessing new offers from potential suitors for the former flagship carrier..

Ferrovie, which has been spearheading the Alitalia rescue efforts, said on Monday it was looking for a possible delay to Tuesday’s deadline to submit the rescue plan

Both the railway group and U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines are ready to contribute to a bid worth around 1 billion euros (843.75 million pounds) but this would still leave a shortfall of around 400 million euros.

In the meantime Rome will indefinitely delay the repayment of a 900 million euro state bridging loan to Alitalia which was due on June 30, a document seen by Reuters shows.

Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, writing by Giulio Piovaccari. Editing by Jane Merriman, Giselda Vagnoni and Alexander Smith

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