Braathens is to purchase Swedish airline Malmö Aviation for around SEK600 million ($74 million). Braathens partner KLM, which has a 30% stake in the Norwegian airline, will also "contribute" a sum believed to be about $20 million.

The deal is the latest chapter in the tussle within the region between the KLM alliance and SAS, which has seen SAS take control of Air Botnia of Finland, Cimber Air of Denmark and Wideröe of Norway.

Braathens acquired Stockholm Arlanda-based Transwede (now Braathens Sweden) in 1997, and has a co-operation agreement with Finnair, which links it to Maersk Air of Denmark. The acquisition of privately held Malmö has forestalled a planned flotation of the Swedish company.

Malmö, which was the last major non-aligned airline based in Sweden, operates 11 British Aerospace 146-200s on scheduled routes linking Stockholm's Bromma Airport, London City Airport and the Swedish cities of Malmö and Gothenburg.

Together, Malmö Aviation and Braathens Sweden control 25% of the Swedish domestic market.

Source: Flight International