View Full Version : Easyjet to buy some / all of AOM AIr LIberte?

15th Jun 2001, 17:51
Just heard that Easyjet are interested in acquiring some of the assets of AOM Air Liberte. What do you all think? I think that they would just want the slots at ORY. The French labour laws would make it very difficult for them to integrate the operation into their current business, and to buy and then not integrate would dilute their business model. I hope there is a resolution soon to this sorry state of affairs.

15th Jun 2001, 18:35
From where did you hear this particular gem?

15th Jun 2001, 19:23
Bye Bye Geneva, Hello Orly?

EasyJet eyes AOM/Air Liberte assets

Last updated: 15-06-01, 14:55

Europe's second-biggest discount airline EasyJet said today it was interested in buying parts of struggling French carrier AOM/Air Liberte to boost its presence at Paris Orly airport.

AOM/Air Liberte owners Swissair Group and Marine Wendel are seeking a buyer for the loss-making airline, but potential bidders have so far been deterred by management's failure to agree a restructuring plan with staff.

British-based EasyJet said it was keen to establish Orly as a major European operating base and bring low-cost flights to the French market, and was seeking takeoff and landing slots as well as staff.

EasyJet has today approached Swissair and the French government to express an interest in acquiring some of the assets of AOM/Air Liberte, it said in a statement.

EasyJet spokesman Mr Toby Nicol said the company wanted to buy AOL/Air Liberte's 30 flight slots at Orly, as well as staff ranging from pilots to check-in-staff and equipment such as boarding gear.

A deal could safeguard hundreds of jobs, the statement said.

The spokesman declined to say how much EasyJet would be prepared to pay for the assets.

[This message has been edited by MarkD (edited 15 June 2001).]

Few Cloudy
15th Jun 2001, 19:35
Well! they are a lot braver than I thought. Those outfits will take a lot of sorting out - unless they come with a dowry from Swissair, which has almost gone bust supporting them.

[This message has been edited by Few Cloudy (edited 15 June 2001).]

Red Snake
15th Jun 2001, 19:38
How to make a small fortune in aviation:

Start with a large fortune.

15th Jun 2001, 19:39
From the mouth (web?) of Stelios:

15 June 2001
easyJet pledges to bring low-cost domestic flights to Paris

easyJet has today approached Swissair and the French Government to express an interest in acquiring some of the assets of the troubled French airline AOM/Air Liberté. This is part of the airline's strategy to establish Orly as a major European operating base which will bring domestic and intra-European low-cost airline travel to French consumers.

AOM/Air Liberté forms part of Swissair Group's debt-ridden group of domestic French airlines, which have experienced serious financial difficulty in the last few months.

easyJet, the fast-growing low-cost point-to-point airline, is interested in acquiring some of the assets of the French airline to establish the Paris airport as a major operating base. easyJet already has base airports at Amsterdam (second-biggest user), Geneva, Liverpool and London Luton and believes that French consumers should not be denied access to the airline's low-cost flights for domestic and intra-European services.

easyJet is a name already recognised within France - during summer 2001 it will operate up to 13 flights each day into Nice. Within the UK, easyJet operates high-frequency services from London to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast and believes the same approach can be replicated between Orly and a number of major French cities - such as Nice.

An operation of this nature would need experienced airline workers at Orly, which could safeguard hundreds of jobs in Paris, as well as representing France's first low-cost airline. For easyJet to maximise the opportunity at Orly, slots would need to be made available to provide a meaningful degree of competition to the incumbent airlines.

As a result, easyJet has today written to Dr Mario Corti, Chief Executive of Swissair; Jean-Claude Gayssot, the French Transport Minister; AOM/Air Liberté; Marine Wendel (which owns 51% of AOM/Air Liberté) and the CGT trade union to explain the proposal.

easyJet currently operates a fleet of 22 Boeing 737 aircraft operating on 35 routes from four main bases across Europe. The airline's fleet will double in size to 44 Boeing 737 aircraft by mid-2004 and has a current market capitalisation of the same size as Swissair.

Ray Webster, easyJet Chief Executive, said:

"The French population have been denied access to domestic low-cost airline services for too long. The success of other "easy" companies in Paris - easyRentacar and easyEverything - has proved that French consumers are as attracted by the idea of value-for-money services as anywhere else in Europe.

"We have identified a number of domestic and intra-European routes from Paris, which could support easyJet's high-frequency strategy - and would need large numbers of skilled workers to get the Paris Orly base up and running.

"In time, there is no reason why Paris Orly couldn't have the same number of easyJet flights as our principal base at London Luton - about 100 per day. Slots are currently a problem, but we're sure we'll be able to come to an agreement which will enable us to bring the benefits to French travellers, the current employees of AOM/Air Liberté and easyJet."

dallas dude
15th Jun 2001, 19:57
As Air France is a state owned airline, I can only imagine the behind the scenes phone calls being made right now (orange will put Air France out of business if they're allowed a foothold in Paris!).

Stavros (sic) and his chums trying to offer the fares denied to French patrons at Air France's expense is gonna be interesting.

I'd be surprised if France rolls out the red carpet for Easy.


FE Hoppy
15th Jun 2001, 20:21
It will take a lot of sorting to put the mess in ORY right.
we did some ad hoc for them last year when the DC10s were grounded and evey one of us agreed that someone was trying to put them out of buisness.
5 hours to load food and pax is a record for me, it was absolute chaos with no obvious cause.
The slots are atractive but the rest is poooo.

15th Jun 2001, 20:35
"The French labour laws would make it very difficult for them to integrate the operation into their current business"

Isn't "Europe" A load of bollox!!

15th Jun 2001, 20:48
According to a friend in Paris, Reuters are reporting that AOM - Air Liberte has filed for protection from its creditors in a French court after last ditch attempts to solve its problems failed, the company said on Friday.

The loss-making airline part-owned by Swissair Group and France's Marine Wendel said it had sufficient funds to continue operations for the start of the peak holiday period at the end of June. But it said eleventh-hour meetings until Friday morning could not find a solution to keep the airline going in its current state, and it had sought protection from its creditors before a commercial court in Creteil, a Paris suburb.

15th Jun 2001, 21:56
5:33pm Friday, 15th June 2001
The operator of ailing French airlines AOM and Air Liberte has filed for bankruptcy because it could no longer carry on "in its current structure".

Groupe AOM-Air Liberte said in a statement that it had initiated bankruptcy proceedings at a trade court in Creteil, near Paris.

The statement said the group's chairman, Marc Rochet, had asked the court to appoint a receiver, who will try to come up with a restructuring plan for the companies, which serve mainly domestic routes.

The decision to file for protection from creditors does not mean the airlines' activities will cease immediately. The two carriers will continue to function while a court-appointed receiver tries to settle the financial difficulties.

"The company has, in the short-term, enough money to assure the continuation of its activity, notably for the traditional holiday departures at the end of June," the statement said.

Dry Martini
15th Jun 2001, 22:08
What happened to the (Sunday Times) rumour that Branson was considering an AOM,Air Liberte buyout. First up with the cash?

16th Jun 2001, 00:02

I can't imagine there will be any problems with French unions....EZY will be securing French jobs...

Europe is crying out for low cost flights.

Good luck to them..

Regards JB007!
[email protected]
Flight Ops,Crewing and Dispatch Moderator

16th Jun 2001, 04:17
The French? Grateful for securing their jobs? Do me a favour!

Ask M&S management how grateful French unions can be.

French companies can buy British or other countries' telephone companies (e.g. Orange) or utilities (a good chunk of water and rail is in French hands) but god forbid any European company should buy Lyonnais Des Eaux or France Telecom.

Stavros is more likely to be told by the ENA graduate elite that he's a poor little Greek boy who shouldn't be interfering in French affairs like some grubby English capitalist.

That's European Union for you.

[This message has been edited by MarkD (edited 15 June 2001).]

16th Jun 2001, 15:05
It strikes me that easyJet does best in the areas where it follows the Southwest lead (marketing, route development, expansion planning, etc), and worst where it ignores the principles which Herb relied upon (providing the best working conditions and pay to the staff, for example).

AOM Frenchlines/Air Liberte are very very different airlines from easyJet, and whilst Stelios (just) got away with the acquisition of TEA, he did get his fingers singed in the process.

I can't help feeling that this purchase is so far from easyJet's core values as to make it a huge mistake.

'Brighten my Northern Sky' Nick Drake R.I.P.

18th Jun 2001, 16:03
A second Press Release from the easyJet Website makes it pretty obvious that Stelios just wants the slots ... but is using the carrot of some jobs to entice union support.

"easyJet, the low-cost airline, has today written an exploratory letter to Swissair Chief Executive, Dr Mario Corti, which could result in easyJet operating services from Paris Orly.

Swissair part-owns the now-bankrupt French airline, AOM/Air Liberté. easyJet is not interested in buying the French airline or its business, or acquiring any of its liabilities. However, an easyJet operation in Orly, AOM/Air Liberté’s Paris base, could safeguard the jobs of some employees currently employed by AOM/Air Liberté.

Any arrangement would be conditional upon having access to take-off and landing slots.

Ray Webster, easyJet Chief Executive, said:

"An opportunity exists which could enable us to offer services from Paris Orly, where we believe strong latent demand exists for low-cost flights. It is in the interests of the company, its shareholders and prospective customers to explore it.

"However, two major caveats exist: that any operation is compatible with our low-cost structure; and an assurance that take-off and landing slots will be made available.

"Neither the underlying business strategy nor the growth plans of easyJet will change."

Maybe they read Northern Skies post first!!!

18th Jun 2001, 19:06
The Invoice is on its way!!!

:) :) :) :)

Justin Abeaver
19th Jun 2001, 03:57
Did some flying for AOM a couple of years ago and have to say that the Union problems were quite ridiculous. Aircraft were grounded for the smallest reason - the one that springs to mind is the one where one of the cabin crew's stockings were the wrong colour and the Purser wouldn't let her fly so they all refused to fly. 5 hour delay while the Union sorted it all out.

Unions are fine and dandy but the French ones are just too powerful. I imagine it was like working in British Leyland in the early '70s.

19th Jun 2001, 04:00
The last time a relatively profitable UK airline bought a European shambles it all ended in tears. Sir Richard regrets the day he bothered with Virgin Express - it's no secret.