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Etihad Airways raises its stake in Virgin Australia to 10 percent

United Arab Emirates’ national flag carrier Etihad Airways recently announced it has raised its stake in Richard Branson-owned Virgin Australia to 10 percent through open market purchases.

The airline in a statement said that Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board had given its approval to Etihad Airways to raise its stake from the existing five percent to 10 percent. The airline came into being eight years ago.

Apart from Virgin Australia, the UAE-based carrier also holds stakes in three other European carriers, including Airberlin, Air Seychelles and Aer Lingus. Etihad Airways is trying to compete with other Gulf carriers like Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways.

Etihad Airways flights started operations into Australia in 2007. The airline along with Virgin Australia together operates 24 flights every week between Abu Dhabi and Australia.

James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said that the airline currently doesn’t have any plans to acquire a majority stake in Virgin Australia.

Richard Branson currently owns 26 percent stake in Virgin Australia, while 20 percent of stake is owned by Air New Zealand.

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