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Skymark creditor Airbus opposes revival bid, threatens ANA stake deal

A Skymark Airlines aircraft approaches to land at Haneda airport in Tokyo November 19, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

By Maki Shiraki

TOKYO (Reuters) - Airbus Group (AIR.PA) may block an attempt by Japanese carrier ANA Holdings <9202.T> to become a key shareholder in Skymark Airlines (SKALF.PK), people familiar with the matter said, becoming the second major creditor in the failed discount airline to threaten ANA's participation in a revival bid.

Airbus will oppose ANA's proposal to take a 16.5 percent stake in the budget airline in a negotiating tactic aimed at persuading Japan's largest carrier to purchase an unspecified number of Airbus jets, the sources said.

A day earlier, the sources said aircraft leasing firm Intrepid Aviation Group (INTR.N), another major creditor in Skymark, was also planning to try and scupper the ANA deal because it was unhappy with the outcome of separate negotiations with the airline.

The sources declined to be named due to the confidentiality of the talks. Airbus and Intrepid officials declined to comment. ANA also declined to comment.

Between them, Airbus and Intrepid hold more than half of Skymark's 320 billion yen ($2.6 billion) debt. Their disapproval of the restructuring bid threatens ANA's plan to become a sponsor for Skymark's revival from bankruptcy, which would give it access to valuable landing rights at Tokyo's Haneda airport.

Airbus has already asked Skymark to extend the deadline for filing its revival plan to a Tokyo court beyond Friday, the sources added.

ANA already controls more than half the landing slots at Haneda, and gaining access to Skymark's slots would help strengthen its lead over rival Japan Airlines <9201.T>.

Skymark ran into financial trouble after embarking on an ambitious expansion program that included plans to fly A380 superjumbos on overseas routes.

Unable to keep up with payments for the jets, Skymark opted for bankruptcy in January after Airbus scrapped the sale and demanded a $710 million cancellation fee.

Other planned Skymark sponsors include Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group <8316.T> and the Development Bank of Japan [DBJPN.UL], which are set to take a combined 33.4 percent stake, while private equity firm Integral Corp would hold 50.1 percent.

(Additional reporting by Tim Kelly; Writing by Chang-Ran Kim and Chris Gallagher; Editing by Stephen Coates and Miral Fahmy)