Lufthansa and Etihad Airways are reported to be in talks to possibly merge the two airlines.
The possibility of Etihad taking a 30-40% stake in the German carrier via a capital increase reserved for the Abu Dhabi state-owned airline is claimed to have been examined.
The two airlines would look at a full-blown merger to create a carrier with 97 million passengers a year, according to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, reported by Reuters.
It added the parties would meet shortly to speed up the talks.
Any combination between the two would likely have an impact on loss-making Alitalia, which is 49%-owned by Etihad and is involved in a major restructuring that will likely include job cuts and fleet reduction.
A Lufthansa declined to comment on “speculation”. Etihad had no immediate comment.
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