Lufthansa’s bid for Alitalia has emerged as the frontrunner as its fate still remains unclear after nearly a year since the Italian flag carrier filed for bankruptcy.

Industry minister Carlo Calenda told Italian newspaper La Repubblica that Lufthansa’s bid for the airline was the “most promising.” Lufthansa has previously said it would only be interested in investing in a restructured Alitalia. Other bidders are UK LCC easyJet and Cerberus Capital Management.

Alitalia filed for insolvency in May 2017 after employees voted against a labor agreement that would have unlocked the funding for a major restructuring plan aimed at allowing the airline to better compete against the low-cost carriers that have dramatically increased their market share in recent years.

The Italian government has been funding the airline’s continued operations since then, but the process of finding an investor is taking longer than planned, and the inconclusive Italian general election in early March is likely to hold it up further.

On April 10, UK budget carrier easyJet said it had revised its expression of interest for a restructured Alitalia, saying it was now part of a consortium.

Helen Massy-Beresford,