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Sabena saved from imminent bankruptcy

Sabena takes step away from insolvency, but grey skies still lie ahead

(Keystone)

Switzerland's SAirGroup and the Belgian government are to pump 250 million euros (SFr380 million) into Belgium's ailing national airline, Sabena, to save the carrier from bankruptcy.

The airline's two shareholders approved the re-capitalisation plan on Monday, after Sabena's management and pilots agreed to wear cost-cutting measures worth 52 million euros, including the loss of 700 jobs.

Sabena had said that without the cash injection it would have run out of money by the end of February.

A final decision on the future of the airline will not be made until Friday, at an extraordinary meeting in Brussels of Sabena's shareholders.

This meeting is now thought to be a formality, since the trade unions have already agreed to the cost-cutting package.

SAirGroup, Swissair's parent company, said it will continue its alliance with Sabena on condition that the relationship be re-evaluated within the next few months.

Sabena's improved prospects are in marked contrast to those of SAirGroup's three French regional airlines - AOM, Air Liberté and Air Littoral. On Monday, the president of the three carriers, Marc Rochet, said he doubted whether they had a future.

swissinfo with agencies


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