Singapore Airlines says it won't be taking up a majority stake in Virgin Australia, and would prefer that the Qantas challenger remain "independent" rather than be fully-owned by any single entity.
However, the Singaporean flag-carrier stands ready to lift its share of Virgin from a current 20.9% to 25.9% if Virgin Australia's other major shareholders – among them Chinese newcomers HNA Group and Nanshan – opt out of Virgin's $852 million capital raising.
Speculation of an SQ buyout and take-over flared after Air New Zealand announced plans to wind back its own 25.9% stake in Virgin, before 19.98% of that was sold to Chinese conglomerate Nanshan.
The option of Singapore Airlines taking all of the Kiwi carrier's stake, pending government approval, would have seen Virgin effectively become an Australian arm of SQ.
That's now all in the past, the airline said in a statement today.
"Singapore Airlines wishes to put on record that it has not contemplated taking a majority stake in Virgin Australia. SIA's interests in the Australian market – as well as in Virgin Australia itself – are best served through an independent Virgin Australia."
The airline predictably talked up its commercial partnership with Virgin, saying "SIA is confident of the long-term prospects of Virgin Australia and is committed to supporting its long-term growth."
That growth is likely to include Virgin Australia launching direct flights to Hong Kong and Beijing next year as part of Virgin's partnership with China's HNA Group.
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter – we're @AusBT