Austrian CEO Alfred Otsch has struck out at Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber’s threat to pull his new investment, labelling the move as incomprehensible and rejecting all allegations of deception.

Saudi investor Al Jaber is due to take 20% of Austrian but, through his lawyers, he is now threatening to withdraw from the agreement claiming the airline provided misleading information over its position.

Otsch says: “The exit that is now in the air and the reasons given for this are not comprehensible for us in any way. Also, I am personally deeply disappointed. Despite this development, we expect that Sheikh Al Jaber will comply with the contract.

“If this should not take place, we shall undertake appropriate steps in order to preserve our rights. I again emphatically reject the allegation of deception, it is completely unfounded.

Austrian Airlines A340 
 © Austrian

“Constructing this as a reason for exist is astonishing, as the investor still intended to increase his commitment by a further 4.9%, taking advantage of the low share price, in the knowledge of the already disclosed results of the first quarter of 2008.”

Despite the brewing rift, Otsch insists that Austrian will stick by its ownership-neutral strategy. The airline will continue to focus on its core markets in central and eastern Europe and push forward with its Middle East growth plan.

Otsch says: “Even without the investment of Al Jaber, we will find ways in the future to sustainably occupy this market successfully.

“We also have the financial strength to do this, the lion’s shares of economic losses were eliminated last year, we have a good strategic positioning and capitalise on our competitive advantages. Due to the difficult industry situation, we will undertake measures to secure profitability.”

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news

Source: Flight International