The near-term privatisation of Austrian Airlines appears in jeopardy following a re-assessment of its forecast for the current financial year, which now projects increased losses. As a result, none of the airline's potential suitors had formally submitted a bid for the 41.8% stake on offer by the 21 October deadline.

Air France-KLM is said to have asked for more information before making a commitment, and Lufthansa and Russia's S7 are understood to have requested a two-month delay to re-evaluate their positions.

On 16 October, Austrian stated that its guidance for the 2008 annual results was no longer sustainable due to the economic downturn. The statement went on to say that "the current economic downturn has already led to a decline in bookings as of the start of the fourth quarter...Based on the already observed, as well as expected decline in bookings, Austrian Airlines has calculated new forecasts. The new revenue forecast through the end of the fiscal year produced on this basis indicates that the previous guidance can no longer be upheld. The expected sales-related revenue losses are higher than the relief in the area of fuel costs, representing a net loss of €100-€125 million [$129-161 million]".

Austria's investment and privatisation agency, OIAG, said on 22 October that for the time being the privatisation timetable remained on course.

Source: Airline Business