Russian carrier S7 Airlines is disappointed at the decision by the Austrian state holding firm OIAG's opting to hold exclusive discussions with Lufthansa regarding the sale of its share in Austrian Airlines.

Moscow-based S7 had declared an interest in the Austrian privatisation and reiterated its position after OIAG last month delayed a decision on selecting a bidder.

It describes the choice of Lufthansa as a "lost opportunity" for the Austrian aviation industry, adding: "S7 would have protected jobs and built a stronger future both for the airline and for Vienna Airport, which would have been built up as a new hub operation for us."

S7 claims Russian and international banks had been prepared to back an offer for Austrian.

"We will continue to pursue our international growth plans and are progressing talks with other international partners," it says, adding that such partnerships will "ensure we sustain our international expansion".

Lufthansa's talks with Austrian follow the German flag-carrier's commitment to invest in Brussels Airlines and confirmation that it will become the controlling shareholder of the UK's BMI.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news