Air France-KLM rescue plan for Aigle Azur?

According to Reuters, shares in Air France-KLM have fallen sharply today after the French Minister named the airline group as a likely bidder for the bankrupt low-cost carrier Aigle Azur, which left 19,000 passengers stranded after abruptly halting operations.

Air France-KLM said it had no immediate comment on whether it has submitted an offer for all or part of Aigle Azur, as a midday court deadline passed.

Junior transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari earlier told Le Parisien that Air France-KLM “appear to want to make me an offer” – also mentioning a likely a likely bid from Lionel Guerin, former head of French carrier’s Hop! short-haul business.

Higher fuel costs and stiffer low-cost competition have led to a wave of bankruptcies among small regional carriers.

Aigle Azur’s issues were compounded by the privately held carrier’s over-expansion from medium-haul services focused on Algeria into long-haul destinations such as Brazil.

The French state, keen to save Aigle Azur’s 1,200 jobs, has also mentioned easyJet and Air Caraibes as potential bidders.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Marie said on Friday that a “principal offer” for Aigle Azur was being considered. The bankrupt carrier’s works council was due to meet on the 9 September to consider any bids received.

Air France has added extra flights to its schedule in order to help repatriate the 13,000 Aigle Azur passengers still stranded by the collapse.

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