26 December 2007

In case you missed it... AZ Board Recommends AF/KL; Approves Slot Sell-off

This is a wonderful case of DUH!

The Alitalia Board (who have proved themselves to be both largely incompetent and ineffectual) has recommended Air-France KLM Group as the recommended bidder from the remaining 3 duly qualified combatants. (A/KL, AirOne Consortia and an independent financial team from Italy).

They held off announcing their decision. Government sources told the Financial Times earlier this week that Air France-KLM was the preferred option but that threats of protest action by unions over Christmas had led to a postponement of a formal decision. Please note that it is not the board who will make the decision but the Government in who will win the bidding for the 49.9% Government share.

Over the Christmas Holiday, the ailing Italian airline also sold off 3 slot pairs at LHR for a record price. One slot pair each went to US Airways and Continental for $60 Million each. A minor slot pair went (as reported in the FT) for $20 million to BA. With Ryanair now the largest carrier from Italy to the UK - the AZ Slot pairs at LHR are no longer as meaningful. This will bolster the airline's balance sheet.

Once the smoke clears a little more we will write another posting on the latest of the slot pair trading that is still on-going at LHR.


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