- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 27, 2008

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (AP) - Argentine lawmakers are moving to expropriate the country’s biggest airline from its Spanish owners, who want to be paid for their property.

Congressman Ariel Basteiro says two congressional committees decided that Aerolineas Argentinas and its subsidiary Austral are for “public use,” justifying a state takeover.

The lower house of congress will consider their ruling next week. It is controlled by allies of President Cristina Fernandez, who supports nationalization.

Her government says the airlines are $833 million in debt, while owner Grupo Marsans says they are worth a combined $440 million.

Marsans has vowed to sue if valuation talks don’t continue, but the government says negotiations are over.

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