Two months after it acquired a 4 per cent controlling stake in Virgin Australia Holdings, Abu Dhabi's flagship carrier Etihad Airways on Sunday announced this has been increased to 10 per cent, even as it reiterated it will not push for a majority stake ownership in Australia's second-largest airline.
Two months after it acquired a 4 per cent controlling stake in Virgin Australia Holdings, Abu Dhabi's flagship carrier Etihad Airways on Sunday announced this has been increased to 10 per cent, even as it reiterated it will not push for a majority stake ownership in Australia’s second-largest airline.
In July, the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) allowed the Middle Eastern airliner to increase its stake in Virgin Australia to a maximum of 10 per cent.
"We support the management strategy of Virgin Australia and will continue to work closely with them on ways to improve our business," James Hogan, Etihad's chief executive, said in a statement.
He stressed however that Etihad is not in any way "interested in becoming a majority shareholder or taking control of Virgin Australia."
The breakdown of Virgin Australia's owners, with Etihad's investment, plus Air New Zealand's 19.9 per cent and Virgin Group's 26 per cent, meant the company is again majority foreign owned, The Australian noted.
"Our small equity stake reflects the strong working relationship of both airlines and again demonstrates our enduring commitment to the Australian market," Mr Hogan said.
Founded eight years ago, Etihad has stakes in three other carriers, including Aer Lingus, Air Seychelles and Air Berlin, all meant to compete side by side with the bigger Gulf state-backed airlines such as Dubai's Emirates and Qatar Airways.
Etihad and Virgin Australia operate 24 flights per week between Australia and Abu Dhabi, which involves codesharing, reciprocal frequent flyer benefits and joint marketing.
Just last week, Virgin Australia announced a full-year profit of AU$22.8 million (US$23.6 million), up 134 per cent from the AU$67.8 million loss a year ago.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Robert Pattinson-Kristen Stewart: Twilight Lovers To Bring Back Love at 2013 Cannes Festival [PHOTOS]
- Angelina Jolie Double Mastectomy: Other Celebrities Who Also Went Through the Surgical Procedure [PHOTOS]
- IN PHOTOS! A Picture of Sadness in Kristen Stewart as Robert Pattinson Celebrates 27th Birthday ALONE? [SLIDESHOW]
- Jaden Smith Clarifies Emancipation Reports with Dad Will Smith on TV Show ‘Ellen’ [PHOTOS AND VIDEO]