Air Liberte president Marc Rochet, has confirmed that the airline has submitted a "statement of interest" with its major shareholders, British Airways and the Bolloré group, for the purchase of French independent carrier AOM.

"We're not saying we'll end up buying it-but we're certainly interested to find out more about the conditions of sale and whether it makes sense," he said on 7 October, at the relaunch of Air Liberté. Sporting a new livery and with a new series of marketing measures, Air Liberté is mounting a major attack on the French business class market.

The French carrier was one of several European airlines to show interest in AOM, following an invitation from its owner, Credit Lyonnais, for preliminary offers. Air France, Corsair, Iberia, Lufthansa and the SAir Group are also known to have replied.

The British Airways group and SAir, both of which have substantial cash reserves and a desire to expand their existing interests in the French air transport market, are likely to be the main contenders. SAir already has a code-share deal with AOM and has recently bought a 44% shareholding in Air Littoral.

Rochet says the three-year recovery plan for Air Liberté is "on track", with break-even expected next year.

Source: Flight International