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Air France-KLM Joins SAS Investor Group, Flipping Airline to SkyTeam

As part of a larger bankruptcy reorganization, Air France-KLM will hold up to a 19.9% stake in Scandinavian Airlines, ultimately moving the airline from Star Alliance to SkyTeam in 2024.
Air France-KLM is planning to be part of an investor group to bring Scandinavian Airlines out of bankruptcy, with the goal of transitioning them to the SkyTeam airline alliance by 2024.


Both SAS and Air France-KLM Group announced the news in separate press releases on Tuesday, October 3, 2023.


Air France-KLM to Put $144.5 Million Into SAS, Granting Maximum of Nearly 20% Non-Controlling Stake


Under the agreement announced by the two airlines, Air France-KLM Group will invest a total of $144.5 million as part of a consortium investing into SAS. Other investors include the Danish State, Castlelake L.P., and Lind Invest ApS.


Of the total investment, Air France-KLM Group’s portion includes $109.5 million of common shares and $35 million in secured convertible bonds. The plan is for the French-Dutch company to own as much as 19.9% of the reorganized SAS, along with 5% of the convertible debt.


As a condition of the investment, SAS will be expected to leave Star Alliance and join SkyTeam, pending relevant and customary approvals and emerging from bankruptcy. The airline’s emergence from bankruptcy – and subsequent transition to SkyTeam – is heading towards an anticipated completion by Summer 2024.


SAS was a founding member of the alliance when it launched on May 14, 1997, and may be the first of the founding five to defect to another group. Airline leadership say the move to SkyTeam will provide customers with significant benefits for both customers and the company.


“Our move towards a partnership with SkyTeam determines a clear path forward for the company,” Anko van der Werff, president and CEO of SAS, said in a press release. “Through the completion of this process and the opportunities presented by being part of SkyTeam, we will be able to further enhance SAS’ offerings for the benefit of our colleagues, customers and communities.”


Although all parties say the new investment gives SAS an opportunity to come out stronger than ever, the airline notes: “There currently remains uncertainty in respect of satisfying such conditions and obtaining required approvals.” Among them are the approval of regulatory partners and SAS leaving Star Alliance.


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