Korean Air tempted by Czech carrier

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Korean Air tempted by Czech carrier

Korean Air Lines, Korea’s top air carrier, is considering a bid for Czech Airlines as part of efforts to strengthen its network in Europe, a company official said yesterday.

Korean Air plans to decide whether to participate in a bid to buy a 44 percent stake in Czech Airlines after completing due diligence on the Czech Republic’s flagship carrier later this month, the Korean Air official said on condition of anonymity.

However, the proposed deal will not include managerial control of Czech Airlines, a subsidiary of Czech Aeroholding controlled by the Czech Republic, he said, adding that Czech Aeroholding will retain its position as Czech Airlines’ largest shareholder.

The deal, if successful, will help “Korean Air to strengthen its network in Europe by taking advantage of Czech Airlines’ network in Eastern Europe,” the Korean Air official said.

Currently, Korean Air flies to 12 destinations in Europe and Russia.

Qatar Airways, the state-owned flag carrier of Qatar, also has expressed an interest in buying Czech Airlines, the official said.

Korean Air’s move comes nearly two months after it suddenly pulled out its bid for Korea Aerospace Industries, Korea’s sole aircraft maker, saying the price was overvalued.

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