Air France - KLM seeks a share of the in consolidation pie through minority stakes in Austrian, Alitalia

Air France - KLM plans to launch a non-binding bid for the Austrian government's share of Austrian Airlines. This was revealed by deputy CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon while he was talking to airline news agency ATWOnline.

Gourgeon  said that Air France - KLM is also keen on picking up a stake ranging "anywhere between zero and 49 per cent" in the troubled Italian flag carrier Alitalia.

He was speaking at the inauguration of Air France's new 2G Terminal at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, Gourgeon confirmed that Air France - KLM had been approached by investor group CAI, and that it had indicated its preference for a minority stake in the relaunch of Alitalia, taking on a role of "one of the investors". He said no negotiations were on at the present time. 

Air France - KLM, Lufthansa, Air China, Turkish Airlines and S7 Airlines have envisaged interest in the initial "request for interest" in purchasing Austrian Industry Administration Österreichische Industrieverwaltungs-GmbH's (OIAG) 39.7 per cent stake in Austrian. Gourgeon conceded that a Lufthansa - Austrian entity would be a better fit culturally and in terms of language, though he expressed doubts about it being the "best option" for Austrian. 
Gourgeon  also confirmed that Air France - KLM is in negotiations with Airbus about the compensation due to it because of the second delay in the schedule of A380 deliveries. Air France would be the first airline in Europe to operate the A380, once it gets its first deliveries in August 2009.