Business World

Sunday 22 April 2018

Air France chief hoping for a swift CityJet sale

Alexandre de Juniac: Air France chief executive
Alexandre de Juniac: Air France chief executive
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The chief executive of Air France-KLM, Alexandre de Juniac, has said he hopes to complete a sale of Dublin-based airline CityJet "as soon as possible".

Mr de Juniac was speaking on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) World Passenger Symposium in Dublin.

Asked by the Irish Independent if he hoped a sale could be inked by the end of the year, Mr de Juniac refused to be drawn, saying the sales process was "ongoing". Air France-KLM has had its loss-making CityJet subsidiary up for sale for over a year.

"We hope, and [will] try to have it resolved as soon as possible for the good of the company," he said.

Germany-based Intro Aviation has been a frontrunner in the sales process. However, it was reported last month that it no longer had exclusive bidder status. Despite that, it's believed that Intro Aviation remains interested in acquiring CityJet.

TIMING

"For a transaction, we need two: the seller and the buyer," said Mr de Juniac about the possible timing of a sale. Air France-KLM has had CityJet up for sale as part of a strategic realignment of its group business. Dublin-based airline group ASL Aviation is also understood to have previously expressed an interest in buying CityJet.

ASL is owned by Belgium's Compagnie Maritime Belge and by Air Freighters, which is based in Dublin. It owns cargo operation Air Contractors, which has a fleet of more than 30 aircraft, and Europe Airpost, which operates charter flights from Ireland.

Mr de Juniac also refused to comment in detail on the continuing saga of struggling Italian carrier Alitalia. Air France-KLM owns 25pc of Alitalia, which is just about managing to stay afloat. At an EGM earlier this month, investors agreed in principle to inject €300m into Alitalia. Investors have until November 16 to decide whether to exercise their option to take up the new shares.

Mr de Juniac said the talks were "classical negotiation".

Irish Independent

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