...but will this mean inprovements in service and/or radical changes ?
PARIS (AFP) - The French government is to decide by the end of the year whether Air France should be privatised or form an alliance with the Dutch airline KLM, junior Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau said.
Bussereau, speaking Tuesday on BFM
radio, said: "In any case, it will be before the end of the year that things will happen."
He added that Air France is in talks with other companies and with French Finance Minister Francis Mer, Transport Minister Gilles de Robien and himself.
The French government holds 54.4 percent of Air France and is seeking to bring its stake down to below 20 percent.
Mer said last month Air France was fully prepared for privatisation but that it would not make financial sense to privatise immediately.
Air France has been looking for new commercial allies in Europe to beef up the Skyteam alliance, which includes the French carrier.
KLM has long been looking for a merger partner, but advanced talks in the past with British Airways and Alitalia fell through.
"KLM is a company that has had problems but which remains nonetheless an important figure in air transport," Bussereau said, noting the airline's hub at Schipol, near Amsterdam, has high-speed rail links to Charles de Gaulle airport, Air France's hub north of Paris.
"So a link between these two companies doesn't seem absurd to me," he added.
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