*Group sheds assets in restructuring
The Icelandair group has decided to sell one of its airline subsidiaries, Bluebird Cargo, as it sheds assets as part of new business plan. Acquired in 2005, Bluebird’s core activity is in ACMI operations.
Based at Reykjavik’s Keflavik Airport it has a fleet of seven B737 freighters, two of which are on long-term lease to China Post.
Icelandair Group CFO Bogi Nils Bogason, told IFW: “While the decision has been made to sell (Bluebird), this is in no way a fire sale.
We are in no rush to complete a deal – we’ll wait until the market improves before inviting bids.” He added that Bluebird had posted positive results in 2009 and forecasts this to continue in the current year.
On the reasons for the sale, Bogason said: “The group already has a cargo subsidiary in the shape of Icelandair Cargo, and operating two independent subsidiaries in the same sector is not ideal, especially in the current economic climate.
“A merger with Bluebird is ruled out under Icelandic competition regulations and we have never been able to exploit potential synergies.”
He underlined that cargo remained a core activity to the Icelandair Group. “Icelandair Cargo offers maindeck capacity with its fleet of B757-200 freighters and also utilises the bellyholds of Icelandair’s aircraft.
“It’s a business model that’s proved its worth.”
Icelandair Group is also selling its shares in Czech carrier Travel Service and Latvia-based SmartLynx, which specialises in wet-lease operations with a fleet of A320s and B767s.