Delta interested in commercial ties with ITA, not an investment, CEO says

LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines DAL.N wants to deepen its commercial ties with ITA Airways but does not want to take an equity stake in the successor to Alitalia, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

La Repubblica said last week that Delta and Air France-KLM had teamed up with an unidentified fund to express an interest in a majority stake in ITA, but Delta's Ed Bastian told a news conference in London that it would not be providing equity.

"From a Delta standpoint, they have been long-term partners of ours, we're interested in continuing to be partners," he said.

"Air France-KLM is in the lead in terms of actually making a potential investment. Delta's not involved on the investment side."

Air France-KLM and Delta both have codeshare partnerships with ITA, the state-owned slimmed down successor to Alitalia which started operations last October.

Reporting by Kate Holton, Editing by Paul Sandle

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