Italian flag-carrier Alitalia has tentatively agreed to merge with fellow Italian operators Blue Panorama and Wind Jet.

Alitalia has signed memoranda of understanding with both carriers and started processes "aimed at achieving integration" with them, it said.

Rome-based Blue Panorama, set up in 1998, specialises in scheduled and charter services on local and long-haul routes.

The carrier has several Boeing jets - including 767s, 757s and 737s - but is also notably a customer for the Russian-built Sukhoi Superjet. It has a short-haul division branded Blu-Express.

Wind Jet is an Airbus A320-family low-cost operator which began services in 2003, with a strategy intended to connect Sicily to various points in Europe. It has a fleet of a dozen aircraft, and bases in Palermo, Catania and Rimini.

Alitalia said the planned integration of Blue Panorama and Wind Jet is "consistent with the process of continuing consolidation" in the air transport sector, both domestically and internationally.

It said the carriers have "synergistic and complementary profiles" regarding their network and fleet, which could be exploited in a tie-up.

Alitalia said it transported 25 million passengers last year while Blue Panorama carried two million and Wind Jet had 2.8 million.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news