Etihad Airways, a UAE-based national airline, is acquiring a part of the equity holdings of Virgin Australia Holdings, the holding company for Virgin Australia airline.
The airline has recently acquired a stake of 3.96 percent in Virgin Australia Holdings for an undisclosed amount. The airline currently operates a code share service, including 24 flights a week, between Abu Dhabi, in the UAE, and Australia, with Virgin Australia, and hopes to expand its relationship with the area following the recent acquisition.
In a statement the airline has said, ‘Etihad Airways believes that this equity investment in Virgin Australia’s domestic operations significantly strengthens the 10-year strategic partnership forged by the two carriers in August 2010.
It will enrich the commercial benefits which the alliance already provides for both airlines as well as increasing the benefits to Australian consumers and visitors to Australia.’
Recently, Etihad has leased a Virgin Australia B777-300ER aircraft to use on its route between Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia.
Virgin Australia, previously known as Virgin Blue, is part owned by Virgin Group with a 26 percent interest, and Air New Zealand with a 20 percent interest.
The airline is reporting that it has been operating its flights to Australia since March 2007, carrying around 2.2 million passengers to date on its routes to Sydney Melbourne, and Brisbane, from Abu Dhabi.
Previously, Etihad Airways had acquired a 2.99 percent holding in the Irish airline, Aer Lingus, and a 29 percent stake in Air Berlin, the second largest air carrier in Germany.