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French court postpones decision on AOM/Air Liberté

The French carrier's future is still unsure


The future of the bankrupt French airline, AOM/Air Liberté, remains in the balance after a commercial tribunal in Paris granted administrators more time to examine rescue packages submitted for the company. A decision is now expected next week.

AOM/Air Liberté filed for bankruptcy last month after its shareholders, Swissair and Marine Wendel, said they wouldn't give it any more money to stay afloat. It lost SFr690 million ($400 million) last year and is still losing SFr3 million a day.

The Paris tribunal must decide whether one of the 16 plans submitted to save the carrier is viable or whether to close the company altogether. Swissair, which has a 49 per cent stake, is keen to minimise its exposure.

It's thought that administrators requested a delay to take a closer look at a last minute proposal from the company's managing director, Marc Rochet. His plan would see the company capitalised at SFr200 million, half in loans from Swissair.

Unions reacted angrily to Rochet's plan, which envisages massive lay-offs.

The recommended offer from workers' representatives is from Holco, a group led by former Air France pilot Jean-Claude Corbet, with financial backing from financial backing from Canada's CIBC Markets. The Holco package aims to save 3,500 jobs out of the 5,000 strong workforce.

The French real estate company, Fidei, is also among the bidders.

Besides Rochet's plan, all the proposals involve Swissair contributing SFr459 million. Swissair had previously offered to take over two thirds of the costs of a SFr688 million restructuring package provided Marine Wendel coughed up for the remaining third. But Marine Wendel has refused to put up any more money.

swissinfo with agencies


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