The odds on SkyEurope becoming the next airline to go under have shortened after the East European discount carrier announced it is seeking new investors to get it through an “especially challenging” winter.The Bratislava-based airline said it has appointed NM Rothschild to explore strategic and financing alternatives to secure its long-term future.
Jason Bitter, chief executive of SkyEurope, said that he is seeking an investment of €20m-€30m by the end of 2008, but still believes that the airline could make a profit next year.
SkyEurope operates 15 aircraft and carried 3.7m passengers over the past 12 months. It is 29.9% owned by private equity group York Global Finance II and listed on both the Warsaw and Vienna bourses.
It is one of a string of airlines that Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has said he expects to fail in the face of high oil prices and weakening consumer demand.
Mr O’Leary yesterday told Ryanair’s annual meeting that he expected the Irish carrier to break even this year as long as the oil price remained at around US$100 a barrel.
“While the recent fall in oil prices is welcome, it won’t have much impact on our full-year results because we have already hedged the third quarter at $124 and any fourth-quarter fuel savings may be absorbed by lower fares and yields as we stimulate growth in a recession this winter,” Mr O’Leary said.