Abu Dhabi airline Etihad buys 2.9pc stake in Aer Lingus
AER Lingus confirmed today that it is in negotiations with the Abu Dhabi based airline Etihad on reciprocal code-sharing arrangements.
Etihad had bought a 2.987pc stake in Aer Lingus, it was reported.
The two airlines are investigating the possibility of joint procuring arrangements, according to the Irish Times.
Etihad has made no secret of its interest in buying the government’s 25pc stake in Aer Lingus when it is put on sale. It is valued in the region of €130m.
James Hogan, chief executive of Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, indicated earlier this month on a visit to Dublin that he's interested in examining the option.
The company sponsors the GAA All-Ireland hurling championship.
However, with Ryanair owning nearly 30pc of Aer Lingus, it is unclear how attractive the stake could be. A pension crisis affecting thousands of former and current employees also needs to be resolved before the State can consider a sale.
Businessman Denis O’Brien also owns a 3pc stake in the national airline.
The Irish Times says that other areas of interest to the two airlines in the current negotiations, are joint marketing initiatives and the possibility of Aer Lingus flying routes into the Middle East.
Etihad increased its 2.99pc stake in Air Berlin to 29.2pc with the purchase of €73m of new shares last December.
Etihad also owns 40pc of Air Seychelles and is reported to have held talks with Air France KLM about a partnership.
Aer Lingus shares have risen by 16pc since the end of February and have closed on two days in April at €1.