Czech PM for sale of Czech Airlines to strategic partner

PRAGUE Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:09am EST

PRAGUE Dec 18 (Reuters) - Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas will recommend to the government next year that it looks to sell state carrier Czech Airlines (CSA) to a strategic partner, he said on Sunday.

"I would welcome (privatisation of CSA) and I will recommend this to the government next year," he said on a Sunday talk show on Czech Television, Czech news agency reported.

"I am convinced that the only reasonable way to help CSA is a sale to a strategic partner."

Necas also said he would not be for a sale of Prague Airport because in current conditions it would not fetch the price it deserved.

CSA has been struggling to recover from an ill-fated expansion which stretched its finances since the mid of the last decade. A privatisation attempt two years ago failed.

The airline, part of the Skyteam alliance that includes Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM, had an operating loss of 632 million crowns ($32.52 million) last year and was selling parts of this business to improve its cash flow.

Earlier this month, it said it would cut a third of its 300 pilots in a restructuring. ($1 = 19.4370 Czech crowns) (Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

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