AF-KLM pulls out of CSA buy out

AIR France-KLM has pulled out of talks to take over Czech Airlines (CSA). The ailing state-owned carrier is up for privatisation and AF-KLM’s withdrawal from talks leaves only one bidder – a consortium made up of Travel Service and Unimex.

AF-KLM said: “The current economic environment has significantly impacted the airline business. Under such circumstances, Air France-KLM believes that CSA might focus on developing and implementing a stand-alone recovery plan aimed at restoring its profitability.”

In response, a spokeswoman for CSA, Hana Hejsková, said: “Czech Airlines understands and respects the reasons underlying Air France-KLM’s decision. For [us] – as for other airlines – the only priority for 2009 is to flexibly respond to the market crisis. [We] share the opinion of Air France-KLM that Czech Airlines can restore its profitability without outside assistance.”

CSA lost K?1.32 billion (US$71.4 million) in the first quarter, down from the K? 844 million ($47 million) loss the year before. The airline has vowed to make a profit in 2010.

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