TALLINN - The Baltic state of Estonia, which is holding talks with Scandinavian airline SAS on buying out carrier Estonian Air, wants a 66 percent stake in the airline, the Economy Ministry said on Tuesday.
The government said last week it was close to an agreement on taking a majority stake in Estonian Air to ensure air services from the small Baltic country. SAS has a 49 percent stake, but has been selling off non-core assets.
The plan is for the government to put more money into Estonian Air and it would end up with 66 percent, said Economy Ministry spokesman Rasmus Ruuda.
This is just a plan, nothing is signed yet and the government has to make a decision on any agreement that is signed, he added.
The Estonian state has a 34 percent stake in Estonian Air and private investment firm Cresco holds 17 percent.
Ruuda said a deal with SAS was expected to be signed on Thursday this week.
SAS, half-owned by Sweden, Norway and Denmark, has struggled for years with an unwieldy business structure and higher staff costs than rivals.
Reporting by David Mardiste ; Editing by David Holmes