Bankrupt French low-cost Aigle Azur receives 14 takeover offers, 13,000 people remain stranded

Bankrupt French low-cost Aigle Azur receives 14 takeover offers, 13,000 people remain stranded
Copyright REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo
Copyright REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo
By Cristina Abellan Matamoros with Euronews
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Crash-strapped French low-cost airline Aigle Azur has received 14 takeover offers. Meanwhile, about 13,000 people remain stranded.

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At least 13,000 Aigle Azur passengers remain stranded after the low-cost French airline filed for bankruptcy last week.

The vast majority — 11,000 people — are stranded in Algeria, France's secretary of state for transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari told Le Parisien newspaper. Other countries where people are stranded include Mali, Lebanon, Russia, and Senegal.

The airline filed for bankruptcy last week and cancelled all its flights on Friday night.

As of September 7, 2019, Aigle Azur flights are cancelled. For further information, please visit our website: https://www.aigle-azur.com

Publiée par Aigle Azur sur Jeudi 5 septembre 2019

Air France sent flights on Saturday and on Sunday to help passengers booked on Algeria flights.

Djebbari told Le Parisien that the worst of the crisis would end before the end of the week when at least "half the passengers will have been repatriated."

On his official Twitter account, Djebbari reiterated that the government will make sure that the companies' employees will not lose their jobs, and that every stranded passenger is flown back home.

The airline has not fallen short of bidders interested in acquiring the company - it has received 14 takeover bids, including from companies such as Air France-KLM and Air Caraibes, reported Reuters.

Low-cost companies EasyJet and Vueling have also expressed interest, according to Reuters.

An Air France spokeswoman said the company would hire about 70% of the carrier's flight crew and cabin staff through a selection process open to all employees.

The offers will be reviewed on Friday in an extraordinary meeting. But the final decision will be taken by the trade court who will make a ruling next Monday, reported French media.

"There needs to be a serious buyer who is capable of offering guarantees for a maximum number of employees. The good news is that many [potential buyers] have expressed interest," said the secretary of state to French broadcaster BFMTV.

The largest shareholder in Aigle Azur is the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, which owns Hainan Airlines.

David Neeleman, an American airline entrepreneur whose companies include JetBlue and TAP Air Portugal, owns 32%, while French businessman Gérard Houa owns 19%.

A rise in fuel prices and more competition among low-costs have led to a wave of bankruptcies among smaller European airlines in recent years, including Air Berlin, Germania, Britain's Monarch, and Swiss SkyWork.

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