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SAirGroup considers seeking partners for Swissair

SAirGroup could seek an alternative to the Qualiflyer Group

(Keystone Archive)

The Swiss airline holding company, SAirGroup, is considering selling part of Swissair. But the chairman and interim chief executive, Eric Honegger, stressed that the company would never cede control of the flagship carrier.

Speaking in Basel on Monday, Honegger said that joining a big global airline alliance could be an alternative to the Swissair-led 11- member Qualiflyer alliance.

"A sale of Swissair is not a matter of discussion. It is imaginable that we will open up for partners, but we do not want to lose control over Swissair," he explained.

His comments came after shares in SAirGroup continued to decline on Monday, dropping 5.1 per cent over the day amid uncertainty about the company's future.

Last week the group announced it would make no new investments in the airline sector and said Belgium's Sabena - in which it holds a minority stake - would only remain part of its core airline strategy if Belgian unions accepted a cost savings programme.

Honegger, who took over as interim chief executive following the resignation of Philippe Bruggisser last week, said that his predecessor's strategy of expanding in airline related activities such as catering, maintenance and hotels had been a good move.

Around half the group's sales and two thirds of its operating income now come from these related airline activities. "I don't want to imagine where we would be now if the group had concentrated on flying only," he explained.

He also assured the Basel audience that SAirGroup would not sell its airline related activities to finance its airlines -he stressed that these must become profitable on their own.

swissinfo with agencies


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