Korean Air conducts due diligence on Czech Airlines

Singapore
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Korean Air Lines (KAL) is undertaking due diligence on the possible purchase of a stake in CSA Czech Airlines.

A spokesperson for KAL confirmed that it is "currently conducting due diligence" of its fellow SkyTeam carrier, but could not provide any further details about the timing of a possible share purchase or the size of the stake it is seeking to take in CSA.

Under European regulations, the maximum stake a foreign investor would be able to take in the airline would be 49%.

Last year, the Czech government, which owns 92% of the carrier, authorised parent company Czech Aeroholding to prepare a tender for the sale of a stake in the carrier. At that time, KAL and Qatar Airways had shown an interest in the stake.

Qatar chief executive Akbar Al Baker confirmed in December 2012 that the carrier had looked into the privatisation, but denied that a bid was imminent.

KAL and CSA already have a strong relationship and codeshare on each other's services between Prague, Seoul and other cities in Europe and Asia. CSA is also planning to launch long-haul services to Seoul after it receives its first Airbus A330 in June.

The Czech government aborted an attempt to privatise the airline in 2009 after negotiations with Travel Service broke down.

Flightglobal Pro data shows that CSA operates a fleet of 21 aircraft, comprising Airbus A320-family aircraft and ATR turboprops. It also has seven A320s on order.