Andrew Doyle/MUNICH

SAirGroup is setting aside SFr500 million ($335 million) for its planned acquisition of equity stakes in THY Turkish Airlines and TAP Air Portugal next year. It is also close to finalising its new US airline alliance strategy.

The Swiss company plans to bid for a 20% equity stake in state-owned THY as part of the airline's privatisation. The carrier is already part of the Swissair-led Qualiflyer Group, but Ankara has prevented it from integrating operations with other members until a strategic partner is selected. The policy is aimed at ensuring the sale attracts bids from other alliance groupings and, with SAir's own alliance strategy in disarray, it may face a fight to keep THY on board.

SAir's agreed acquisition of a 20% stake in TAP has been delayed due to a wrangle over the purchase price following a deal awarding pilots hefty pay increases.

Swissair, meanwhile, expects to announce details of its new US airline alliance strategy by the end of this month and is widely expected to opt for a closer tie-up with new codeshare partner American Airlines. It says that an alliance with the US carrier would not signal any commitment to joining oneworld.

The Atlantic Excellence alliance is being dissolved after Delta Air Lines decided to link with Air France, while Austrian Airlines is joining the rival Star Alliance.

Source: Flight International