Tarom (RO, Bucharest Otopeni) is to open preliminary talks with Turkish Airlines (TK, Istanbul Atatürk) concerning a planned strategic cooperation agreement between the two carriers which could, in the long run, lead to the Turks taking a stake in the Romanian national airline.
"We will discuss flight frequencies, destinations and other related activities," Christian Heinzmann, Tarom's Chief Executive Officer, told the country's Digi24 television station. "We are developing business relations with Turkish. Regarding a possible take-over by Turkish, well that's government's concern."
According to Heinzmann, Tarom is undergoing restructuring and is set to reach break even next year having generated losses of RON100 million (USD25.48 million) in 2014 and RON300 million (USD76.5 million) in 2013 respectively.
The improvement is expected to help Bucharest's plan to privatize and thus allow Tarom to avoid the fate of fellow former Eastern bloc carriers such as Hungary's Malev (MA, Budapest) and Bulgaria's Balkan Bulgarian Airlines (LZ, Sofia).
Last month, Romanian prime minister Victor Ponta lead a delegation to the Middle East where he reportedly held talks with the CEO of Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l), Akbar al Baker, concerning the sale of stakes in Tarom and Bucharest Otopeni airport.
Similar talks will be held with Emirates (EK, Dubai Int'l) and Etihad Airways (EY, Abu Dhabi Int'l) he added.
I doubt Etihad will get a stake in both Air Serbia and Tarom...