Last updated: 2 September, 2012

Etihad increases stake in Virgin Australia

Abu Dhabi state carrier Etihad Airways said on Sunday it has doubled its stake in Virgin Australia to 10 percent, but insisted it was not interested in obtaining a majority share.

The government-owned airline said it increased its equity stake through buying 221 million shares on the open market in recent months after receiving approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) six weeks ago.

“We are very pleased to have reached this threshold,” Etihad president and CEO James Hogan said in a statement.

He reiterated that the fast-growing carrier “was not interested in becoming a majority shareholder or taking control of Virgin Australia,” the statement said.

In addition to Virgin Australia, Etihad also holds stakes in airberlin, Air Seychelles and Aer Lingus.

Etihad carried 8.3 million passengers in 2011, serving 86 destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and North America.

It has a fleet of 67 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, in addition to 100 planes on order, including 10 Airbus A380 superjumbos.