Air France-KLM eyes stake in merged Delta-Northwest airline


PARIS – Franco-Dutch airline Air France-KLM is prepared to make an investment in the entity that would emerge from a merger between Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) and Northwest Airlines Corp. (NWA), a senior official said Thursday.

Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, Air France-KLM’s deputy chief executive officer, told an analysts’ conference call that the investment would depend on the U.S. airlines obtaining a green light from the U.S. competition authorities.

Delta is pushing for a quick agreement, Gourgeon said, but he noted that in any case the investment probably won’t result in any payments being made by Air France-KLM before the end of the year. “The timing for a decision would have to be quite soon,” Gourgeon said, adding that the announcement of Air France-KLM’s investment would likely coincide with that of the Delta-Northwest merger.

According to press reports, Air France-KLM is prepared to invest close to $1 billion in the airline that would emerge from the imminent merger of Delta and Northwest so as to provide it with a financial cushion.