Ryanair to Invest $1.2 billion to Expand Service in Milan

Europe's largest low-cost airline Ryanair said Thursday it plans to invest $1.2 billion to expand service to Milan.

Ryanair said it plans to open routes at Milan's main international airport, Malpensa, and expand its presence at the low-cost hub Orio al Serio. The company will discuss its offer in a meeting with Malpensa officials on Friday.

Ryanair said it was reacting to reports that Alitalia plans to cut up to 140 flights to Malpensa as part of a plan to rescue the struggling carrier.

The Dublin-based carrier's plans calls for a $840 million investment in Malpensa where it will base 12 aircraft by 2010. At Orio al Serio, Ryan Air would invest $420 million to add six aircraft by 2012 to its current four aircraft serving 39 routes.

"Ryanair's offer provides the potential for real growth," spokesman Peter Sherrard said in a statement.