Air France’s planned sale of its loss-making regional subsidiary CityJet appears to have stalled, as the bidder, German turnaround specialist Intro Aviation, has downplayed chances for a final agreement.
In July, CityJet chief executive Christine Ourmières said that she hoped a decision about the carrier’s future would be made by end of that month, while Intro Aviation indicated that a deal was not far off.
However, earlier this month the AFP news agency – citing an anonymous union source – reported that Air France had decided not to continue negotiations with Intro Aviation on an exclusive basis anymore.
Intro Aviation founder Hans Rudolf Wöhrl now tells Flightglobal Pro that he does not know whether Air France has approached “any new or already excluded [previous] bidders” for the sale.
The French flag carrier shortlisted six potential buyers for CityJet in February, including the Nuremberg-based consultancy, which is also the largest shareholder in Austrian regional airline InterSky.
While he does not say that negotiations with Air France have stopped altogether, Wöhrl makes clear that the talks have not progressed for some time and that Intro Aviation might eventually decide against buying CityJet.
“Fact is that the talks have already been going on for so long that more money has been lost [by CityJet] than will probably be generated through the eventual sale [of the airline],” he says.
“We have all the time in the world,” he adds. “Whether we will still be willing to close a deal in the end is another matter.”
Air France says that negotiations for CityJet’s sale are continuing, but declines to specify any bidders.