By Andy Sambidge
Abu Dhabi airline's CEO said to be interested in building stake in Irish carrier - report
Etihad Airways is interested in buying Ryanair Holdings’ near 30 percent stake in Aer Lingus Group, it has been reported.
Etihad, which already owns three percent of Aer Lingus, would be “very happy to have that discussion” CEO James Hogan told Bloomberg.
“Dublin is a strong, profitable route for us and we’re very keen to strengthen our partnership there,” he said in comments pubished by the newswire.
However, the airline has not held talks regarding the stake, it later added in a statement.
Bloomberg reported that the carrier has also had talks about buying the Irish state’s 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus.
It said Ryanair’s bid for Aer Lingus has sparked a review by European Union regulators who blocked a similar takeover bid in 2006.
Etihad has already invested in Air Berlin, Virgin Australia Holdings and Air Seychelles while Hogan said earlier this week that he is interested in other tie-ups with airlines.
"Maybe one or two more," he said, when asked about adding to the airline's existing stakes in Virgin Australia, airberlin, Air Seychelles and Aer Lingus.
Etihad announced last month that revenues rose by 31 percent to $1.25bn in the second quarter, helped by a 34 percent rise in passengers to 2.55m during the same period.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline cited its growing network of codeshares and strategic partnerships as a major factor behind the results.
It said that recent deals had helped add 800,000 passengers to its network, contributing $281m.