ETW STAFF – Mumbai
Etihad Airways has confirmed that its equity stake in Virgin Australia Holdings has now reached 10 per cent. This represents 221 million shares which have been bought on the open market over recent months. Six weeks ago Etihad Airways received foreign investment review board (FIRB) approval to increase its holding from five per cent to 10 per cent.
James Hogan, president and chief executive officer, Etihad Airways said, “We are pleased to have reached this threshold. We support the management strategy of Virgin Australia and will continue to work closely with them on ways to improve our business.” Hogan again reiterated that Etihad Airways wasn’t interested in becoming a majority shareholder or taking control of Virgin Australia.
“Our small equity stake reflects the strong working relationship of both airlines and again demonstrates our enduring commitment to the Australian market,” he said.
Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia have developed a highly successful, multi-tiered partnership that includes code-sharing on flights, joint marketing initiatives and reciprocal earn-and-burn on their respective frequent flier programmes.
He was confident that the equity stake would lead to more revenue generating opportunities. “This further cements our commercial partnership as we continue to explore areas of even closer co-operation such as operational synergies, shared IT infrastructure and other forms of cost sharing efficiency,” mentioned Hogan.