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Airline executives hope to keep Qualiflyer alliance alive

The partners in the Qualiflyer Group hope to strengthen their commercial ties

(Keystone Archive)

The presidents of the airlines belonging to the Qualiflyer alliance, led by Switzerland's SAirGroup, have come out in support of maintaining their partnership.

The announcement comes as SAirGroup faces tough decisions over its relationships with its partner airlines worldwide.

Following a meeting in Zurich on Friday, executives from the Qualiflyer member airlines, said they "recognised the group's value for their clients, as well as for the carriers themselves".

The group also announced that its members plan to "reinforce their collaboration in commercial sectors" as well as "study possible cooperation with other carrier alliances".

They added that they were expressing their willingness to keep the alliance alive "despite the fact that SAirGroup is currently re-examining its airline partnerships".

Earlier in the week, it emerged that British Airways was in talks with Swissair over the possibility of the Swiss carrier joining its "oneworld" alliance.

Swissair's parent company, SAirGroup, refused to comment, saying only that it has already made it clear that it is looking at a number of alternatives to its existing Qualiflyer Group.

The alliance includes SAirGroup's Swissair and Crossair, Belgium's loss-making airline, Sabena, and France's AOM/Air Liberté and Air Littoral.

Poland's LOT airline, Portugal's TAP Air and Portugalia and Italy's Volare Group are also members of the alliance.

On Tuesday, SAirGroup announced that it was abandoning plans to merge its three French subsidiary airlines, AOM, Air Liberté and Air Littoral.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Sabena's two shareholders, SAirGroup and the Belgian government, decided to postpone a decision on a re-capitalisation plan to save the airline from bankruptcy until February 23.

SAirGroup also recently ruled out participation in the Polish TAP airline and Turkish Airlines.

The shake up at SAirGroup comes following a recent announcement that it was calling a halt to all new investments and acquisitions, following mounting losses among its partner airlines.

swissinfo with agencies


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