Lufthansa, 6 others bidding for Alitalia

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The Italian government further extended the deadline for the sale of struggling flagship air carrier Alitalia, even as reports surfaced that Germany's Lufthansa offered to pay 500 million euros (600 million USA dollars) as part of a plan to take control of the Rome- and Milan-based airline.

EasyJet on Monday presented an offer to buy "some assets" of a restructured Alitalia, the British low-priced carrier said in a statement.

Easyjet said it had submitted an expression of interest "in certain assets of a restructured Alitalia".

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Europe's airline industry is fiercely competitive, with Monarch and Air Berlin failing in recent weeks.

The country's flag carrier said the commissioners managing its extraordinary administration had received seven envelopes and will evaluate the bids.

Ongoing competition from budget airlines, terror attacks in popular holiday destinations, and rising fuel prices have made it hard for some airlines to keep going.

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The government also announced a further €300 million in loans to keep the carrier flying.

If successful, Lufthansa would add Alitalia assets to those it is acquiring from Air Berlin, both of which were controlled by Etihad airlines until the Gulf carrier cut financing.

Rome has already provided €600m in funds since May, but has now extended the repayment deadline to 30 September 2018, following the decision to delay completion of the sale. "Lufthansa has decided not to make an offer for the whole company but has shown interest only for some parts" of the airline's global traffic and its domestic and European point-to-point activities, the statement said.

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The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported earlier Monday that Lufthansa was preparing a 500 million-euro ($590 million) bid for large parts of Alitalia, including planes, pilots, air crew and air slots.

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