Air France to reduce CityJet bidders to two
Air France intends to shortlist two preferred bidders for its Irish airline subsidiary CityJet by the end of next month. These groups would then go head to head to acquire the Swords-based regional airline.
CityJet employee representatives were told yesterday that 10 groups had expressed an interest in the airline after Air France appointed Key Capital last year to advise on potential investors for its subsidiary.
It said six of these were subsequently given access to CityJet’s future business plan, including its aircraft fleet, its network out of London City, its wet-lease operations for Air France and its charter business.
This list is now to be whittled down to two bidders by the end of next month and they will then be asked to submit final bids .
Details of the investors were not provided to staff.
The employee representatives were told that Air France was seeking new investors so as to ensure a strong, successful and profitable future for the airline, which was founded by Irishman Pat Byrne in the early 1990s.
Air France took control of the airline in 2000. The sale of CityJet is part of a major restructuring of group operations by Air France to put it on a firmer financial footing.
Latest accounts for CityJet Ltd show it made a pre-tax loss of €8.9 million on turnover of €238 million in the nine months to the end of December 2011. The airline carried 1.6 million during that period.
While headquartered in Dublin, CityJet’s main operation is based at London City Airport, where it flies 22 routes to European destinations, including Dublin. It recently announced plans to operate a weekly service Dublin to Brest in northern France for the summer months.
CityJet bought Belgian rival VLM in 2007 and has a fleet of 38 aircraft operating more than 480 flights a week.