KLM has acquired complete control of Air UK in a deal in which the Dutch airline has bought the 55% shareholding from British Air Transport Holdings.

The deal, for which no purchase price has been disclosed, will give KLM 100% control of the largest provider of feed traffic to its Amsterdam Schiphol base.

From London Stansted and 13 other domestic destinations, Air UK carried 1.4 million passengers to Schiphol in 1996 - 50% of which were fed into the KLM system. With an increase in frequencies and new routes coming on line, the UK airline expects to raise passenger numbers to Schiphol this year to 2 million.

The airline also operates to a wide range of international destinations such as Brussels, Hamburg, Paris and Zurich. It denies suggestions that the take-over will result in it moving into Europe to operate services for KLM. Overall, Air UK carried 3.6 million passengers and recorded passenger-traffic turnover of £284 million ($465.5 million) in 1996.

KLM acquired 14.9% of Air UK in 1987 and tightened its grip in 1996, when it increased its stake to 45%. The acquisition still needs European Commission approval.

Source: Flight International