ROME, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- German airline Lufthansa said it is still interested in acquiring a stake in beleaguered Italian rival Alitalia, but only after Alitalia finishes its ambitious restructuring process.
On Tuesday, the airline's leadership met with Italian Minister of Economic Development Stefano Patuanelli and trade union leaders to discuss the new development, according to a press statement from the ministry.
Alitalia has been on the ropes for years, and is still running in part thanks to a 400-million-euro (442-million-U.S.-dollar) loan from the Italian government aimed at keeping the struggling carrier in the air.
A deal that would have seen United States air carrier Delta take over Alitalia in conjunction with Italian state rail operator Ferrovie dello Stato and highway and road operator Atlantia fell through after both Delta and Atlantia had second thoughts. And a similar potential deal with Lufthansa also failed to gain traction.
On Tuesday, officials from Lufthansa told Italian journalists they remain interested in the Italian company once it cuts its losses, reduce its workforce, and increase efficiencies.
"It is important that the two companies have a common future," Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "To survive Alitalia needs the right partner and the right restructuring process."