Swissair celebrates split from AOM/Air Liberté
The future of the bankrupt French airline, AOM/Air Liberté, has been decided by a commercial tribunal in Paris. The court plumped for the rescue package drawn up by Holco, a group led by former Air France pilot Jean-Claude Corbet, with financial backing from the Canadian banking group, CIBC.
Mario Corti, chief executive of the Swissair Group, which owns a 49.5 per cent stake in the carrier, said he was "delighted that a solution had been found for AOM/Air Liberté".
Corti added that the tribunal's decision marked the end of the group's strategy to divest itself of its interests in France.
However the conclusion of the long-running saga comes at a price. Under the terms of the rescue package, the Swissair Group will have to pay SFr299 million ($173 million) towards the restructuring of AOM/Air Liberté.
In addition, Swissair will also have to renegotiate the loan of four Airbus A340 aircraft to the struggling carrier. Christian Rousselin, chairman of the tribunal, said this would cost the group a further SFr122 million.
Finally, the Swissair Group will also have to foot the bill for the SFr46 million in claims arising from flight cancellations. The company said it had made provisions to cover all the costs in December last year.
AOM/Air Liberté filed for bankruptcy last month after its shareholders, Swissair and France's Marine Wendel, refused to pump any more cash into the ailing company. AOM/Air Liberté lost SFr690 million last year and is still losing SFr3 million a day.
The commercial tribunal in Paris placed the carrier under protection from creditors for three months from June 19, after Swissair and Marine Wendel pulled their financial backing.
The Holco package, which was endorsed by workers' representatives, aims to safeguard 2,706 jobs out of a total workforce of 4,559.
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