Air France-KLM chosen to bid for Czech Airlines


PRAGUE – Air France-KLM and the Czech consortium Unimex-Travel Service were picked by Czech government Monday as candidates to take over state-owned Czech airlines, officials said.

The Czech state aims to sell its 91.5% stake in the national carrier, also called CSA, in a two-round public tender this year.

There was a total of four bidders who applied for the deal in the first round, including Russian carrier Aeroflot.

“The government decided to invite only the two (above mentioned) companies,” Finance minister Miroslav Kalousek said, declining requests to elaborate on reasons for the decision.

Closing the first round of the tender in March, Czech Premier Mirek Topolanek said strategic and security interests would be decisive.

According to the government plan, bids are expected by the end of June and the financial amount offered will be the only criterion for a decision.

The decision will be made by the caretaker government of Jan Fischer, expected to replace the current cabinet on May 9, Kalousek said.

Topolanek’s cabinet was toppled by a no-confidence vote in parliament on March 24.

Air France-KLM said earlier that the Czech airline’s network is “highly complementary” to its own and would strengthen its position in central and eastern Europe.

Czech Airlines is a member of the SkyTeam Alliance that includes Air France-KLM.