Israir Group’s efforts to take control of Czech carrier Smartwings have encountered difficulties after the Israeli operator stopped negotiations with the Chinese shareholder.

Smartwings is about 49%-owned by China’s CITIC Group.

Israir had put down a deposit of €500,000 ($538,000) in favour of CITIC Group as part of the discussions, and says it had an option to purchase the shareholding with a deadline of 14 February.

But it states that on 8 February, owing to the “geopolitical situation in the Middle East”, the negotiations were “terminated”.

Israir Airbus-c-Israir

Source: Israir Group

Israir Group has spent months negotiating to acquire Czech operator Smartwings

The deposit has been paid back to the company.

Israir Group has been pursuing Smartwings – which is majority-owned by two individual investors – for well over a year.

The company has yet to clarify whether it is still interested in taking over the Czech airline.

Israir Group had been pursuing Smartwings to give the Tel Aviv-based operator a presence in Europe.