Defunct Austrian regional carrier Air Alps looks set to be sold to external investors, with two potential buyers from Russia and western Europe bidding for the planned takeover.
The majority shareholder of the Innsbruck-based airline - charter operator Welcome Air - has approached all other stakeholders to take over full ownership before the planned sale to one of the two investors.
Welcome Air - which is also based in Innsbruck - owns 76% of Air Alps, with the remainder being held by the autonomous regions of Bolzano-Bolzen (8%) and South Tyrol-Tentino (8%) in northern Italy, BZS Holding Company (7%) and other investors (1%).
Welcome Air is negotiating with Russian investor group Russian European Finance & Consulting Agency (REFCA) and an unnamed, alternative bidder from western Europe about the takeover of Air Alps.
But Günther Gast, Air Alps' chief executive, says that the talks with REFCA have progressed further. He expects a sale "not before June".
He adds that REFCA is preparing to gain a Russian air operator's certificate as Air Alps will not be able to use its European licence under their ownership.
Air Alps ceased operations after it was unable to continue its services between Bozen and Rome in early 2012. Austrian Airlines sub-contracted the carrier for its route between Vienna and Linz in April 2012, but these flights appear to have stopped too.
Gast says that Air Alps is currently not operating any flights.
The airline has three Fairchild Dornier 328 turboprops and around 40 staff members.