The boss of Etihad Airways has hinted that he intends to raise the Abu Dhabi airline’s stake in Aer Lingus once Ryanair’s third bid for the Irish airline has lapsed.
Chief executive James Hogan told The Sunday Telegraph he did not expect Ryanair to succeed after its third takeover attempt for its Irish rival was rejected by the European Commission. The budget carrier is to appeal the decision.
“Let’s see how things get bedded down,” he said. “I’d better be careful what I say because it’s a listed company.
“We’re watching it, we have a good relationship with the Aer Lingus management and we continue to build a strong relationship with them.”
Asked if Etihad will buy a higher stake in the Irish flag carrier, he said: “We’ll wait until all this is out of the way.”
Etihad is in the final stags of talks to buy a 24% stake in India’s Jet Airways, valued at $300-400 million. The deal is expected to be announced this month.
Etihad currently has stakes in four airlines – 29.9% in Air Berlin, 3% in Aer Lingus, 10% in Virgin Australia and 40% in Air Seychelles.
Hogan described this as the airline industry’s first “equity alliance”, and argues this is a far better model than simply joining one of the large airline alliances, such as British Airways-backed Oneworld.
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