Etihad ponies up for larger stake in Virgin Australia

By David Flynn, July 18 2013
Etihad ponies up for larger stake in Virgin Australia

Etihad Airways is looking to increase its stake in Virgin Australia, after winning Australian government approval to almost double its Virgin shareholding from 10 percent to 19.9 percent.

The Gulf carrier and cornerstone Virgin Australia partner has neither confirmed nor denied it's behind a $7m parcel of Virgin Australia shares which changed hands earlier this week.

However Etihad CEO James Hogan admitted the airline was "buying on the market at the moment".

Read: We're in for long haul says Etihad chief as he lifts stake in Virgin (The Australian)

Etihad currently sits third on the roster of airlines with a stake in Virgin Australia, behind Air New Zealand's 22.99 percent. and Singapore Airlines' 19.9 percent.

SQ upped its share from 10 percent last month in a deal worth $122.6 million, having purchased the holding from Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group.

Etihad has been busy weaving its own bespoke alliance of airlines through financial stakes, with knock-on effects for Virgin Australia as Virgin CEO John Borghetti builds out his own 'virtual network'.

Earlier this week Virgin Australia announced a partnership with German carrier airberlin, which is 29.21 percent owned by Etihad.

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

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