Etihad Airways has doubled its stake in alliance partner Virgin Australia to 10 per cent, buying 221 million shares on the open market in the six weeks since it received clearance from the federal regulator.
“Our small equity stake reflects the strong working relationship of both airlines and again demonstrates our enduring commitment to the Australian market,” Etihad CEO James Hogan said in a statement. “We support the management strategy of Virgin Australia and will continue to work closely with them on ways to improve our business.”
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad and Virgin Australia current operate 24 code share flights per week and cooperate on frequent flyer benefits and joint marketing.
Mr Hogan again denied that Etihad has any interest in becoming a majority shareholder or taking control of Virgin Australia. Etihad also holds equity investments in Air Berlin, Air Seychelles and Aer Lingus.