x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Etihad to raise its stake in Virgin Australia

Etihad Airways has been given the all clear to raise its stake in Virgin Australia to a maximum of 10 per cent.

A Virgin Airline plane taxiing past the air traffic control tower after landing at Sydney Airport.
A Virgin Airline plane taxiing past the air traffic control tower after landing at Sydney Airport.

Etihad Airways has been given the all clear to raise its stake in Virgin Australia to a maximum of 10 per cent.

The UAE flag carrier had made clear its intentions to acquire a greater stake earlier this year, as it currently owns 4.99 per cent of the Australian airline.

Etihad said in a statement today that it had applied to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) in Australia to raise the level of its investment, and that its request had now been approved.

Earlier this month, Etihad posted a record jump in second quarter revenues, in part due to strategic partnerships with airlines such as Virgin Australia that have been built up this year.

So far this year, Etihad has taken minority equity stakes in Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus and Air Seychelles. It also has a major stake in Air Berlin.

These partnerships and codeshares together fed 800,000 passengers into Etihad's network in the first six months of this year, and contributed US$281 million to revenues.

Together, Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia currently operate 24 flights per week between Australia and Abu Dhabi, offering travellers a combined network of more than 285 global destinations.

It is expected that the equity stake in Virgin Australia will lead to further revenue generating opportunities, Etihad said.

In total, nearly two million passengers have flown with Etihad Airways between Australia and its Abu Dhabi hub.

rjones@thenational.ae

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