Etihad gets green light to double Virgin Australia stake

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Published: July 19, 2012

Etihad A330-200. By Rob Finlayson

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways (EY) has been given permission by the Australian government to double its Virgin Australia (DJ) shareholding from 4.99% to 10% ( ATW Daily News, June 11 ).

EY acquired 3.96% of Virgin Australia Holdings (VAH) in June and has since built its stake to 4.99% ( ATW Daily News, June 7 ). Today’s Australian Foreign Investment Review Board clearance means EY can now further increase its shareholding to a maximum of 10%.

An EY spokesman confirmed the carrier will take this option: “They are going to go to 10%,” he said. The spokesman was unable to immediately comment on how the new shares will be acquired or the likely timing for the transaction.

EY and DJ have a strategic partnership that includes codeshares, joint marketing initiatives and a reciprocal frequent flier program agreement. 

“The strategic partnership has already delivered significant revenues to each airline. It is expected that the equity stake in Virgin Australia will lead to further revenue generating opportunities,” EY said.

EY serves Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne from Abu Dhabi and plans to add a new link to Perth “in the future.”

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