Responding to rumours that it plans to acquire a stake in Malaysia Airlines, Air France-KLM states that it “is not a current party to the sales process” of the Kuala Lumpur-based carrier “at this stage”.

However, the Franco-Dutch airline group confirms in a statement that it “had previously been in contact with Malaysia Airlines’s shareholders”.

The Asian airline is owned by Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah, which last summer appointed Morgan Stanley to explore strategic options to turn the beleaguered flag carrier around.

A Reuters report had suggested that Air France-KLM had proposed buying 49% of Malaysia Airlines. The same report alleged that Japan Airlines (JAL) was looking to acquire a 25% stake in the airline. The Oneworld alliance partners received regulatory approval last month to begin cooperating commercially on flights between Malaysia and Japan later this year.

JAL has not stated publicly that it intends to acquire a stake in Malaysia Airlines. However, the carrier’s president Yuji Akasaka told Cirium in June 2019 that “in terms of any investment, that is still under review and there is nothing to announce at this point, but there are some discussions that we can conduct going forward”.

JAL could not be reached immediately for comment on the latest report.

While Air France-KLM appears to have discounted the possibility of buying a stake, the carrier adds in its statement that it “continues to study global investment opportunities per its strategic goal to be an active yet pragmatic participant in industry consolidation”.