AccorHotels is considering buying a minority stake in Air France-KLM, the hotel company confirmed Sunday.
“AccorHotels confirms having resumed its reflections on the matter, being at very early stage of assessing the feasibility and potential terms and conditions which will be discussed with Air France-KLM in due time,” the company said in a statement.
French newspaper Les Echos reported that the French government is contemplating selling its 14.3 percent stake in Air France-KLM, and that AccorHotels is interested in buying it.
Since there is very little recent precedence for a major hotel company owning a major global alrline, it is unclear how regulators would view an Accor stake in Air France-KLM, even if it is a minority stake.
When reached by Skift, an Air France-KLM spokeswoman declined to comment.
Air France-KLM has been having trouble, with rumors swirling that the group’s two major airlines might split. On Sunday however, KLM CEO Pieter Elbers told Skift that would be highly unlikely.
If AccorHotels does indeed succeed in purchasing a minority stake in the airline group, that would be a major step for the company’s overall strategy of being a global brand on par with the likes of Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook, as AccorHotels CEO Sebastien Bazin has said publicly.
A stake in Air France-KLM could translate to synergies for both companies, enabling AccorHotels to more readily offer packages and services that combine its expertise in hospitality with aviation. Last year, AccorHotels partnered with a French online travel agency to offer combined flight and hotel packages primarily for its loyalty members.
Currently, AccorHotels has more than 4,300 hotels in 100 different countries worldwide and the company is continuing to grow, having just recently announced it intends to buy Moevenpick Hotels & Resorts.
At the recent Skift Forum Europe in Berlin, Bazin said, “I want to make sure that Accor will be in your day-to-day life when it comes to the travel and hospitality sector. I need to offer you more than a hotel room because I only see you in my hotel rooms three to four times a year. You’re on Facebook or Google six to 10 times a day.”
— Aviation Business Editor Brian Sumers contributed to this report.