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SAS headed for Star Alliance exit


SAS Scandinavian Airlines is another step closer to leaving bankruptcy in the hands of new owners and leaving its long-time Star Alliance membership for the SkyTeam alliance, where it will join KLM/AirFrance, which will now own 20% of SAS.

The bankruptcy case, which was filed in the U.S., was in court late last month to receive approval of its bankruptcy plan, which includes $1.2 billion in new financing, and changes in ownership which will leave the Danish state holding 26% and U.S. investment firm Castlelake owning 32%. Part of the deal with Air France/KLM included the change in alliances.

Although the plan has now been approved, SAS officials say it will be early summer before the plan is fully in place, but that preparations and steps in the alliance change can begin sooner, and may be completed before the company is discharged from bankruptcy. Other required steps are a formal reorganization plan and EU approval.

The airline's president says that SAS would also apply to be part of the AirFrance-KLM/Delta/VirginAtlantic transatlantic joint venture.

Despite progress on the bankruptcy front, the airline continued to lose money in results announced last week.

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