Pluna in play

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Uruguay’s Pluna is down-playing claims of its imminent sale to Venezuela’s state-owned Conviasa. Venezuelan officials had even predicted a signed deal when President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela visited Montevideo in August. Conviasa wants to share codes, crews, maintenance and aircraft with Pluna; it also proposes to buy Varig’s stake in the carrier.

Uruguay’s new government has cancelled Varig’s management contract and plans to arrange a sale of Varig’s 49% stake in Pluna, but officials say they do not need to make a decision before year-end.

Pluna’s president Carlos Bouzas says his airline is still considering bids, one of which comes from an investment group in the Canary Islands. Bouzas does not rule out a possible joint deal with Conviasa and the Canary Islands group.