Etihad doubles Virgin Australia stake

  • Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways has doubled its stake in Virgin Australia in a bid to expand its global footprint.

    On Monday, the airline said it had purchased 221 million shares in the open market to lift its stake in the Australian carrier to 10 percent.

    In recent years, Etihad has been on the look out to increase its international presence in order to take on regional carriers such as Emirates and Qatar Airways.

    However, Etihad stated it was not looking to take control of Virgin Australia.

    "Our small equity stake reflects the strong working relationship of both airlines and again demonstrates our enduring commitment to the Australian market," said James Hogan, Etihad’s chief executive officer.

    Etihad first bought a stake in Virgin Australia earlier this year in June.

    The two carriers have collaborated code-sharing on flights, joint marketing initiatives and have also introduced reciprocal point schemes on their respective frequent flyer programs.

    Etihad Airways also holds stakes in Air Berlin, Air Seychelles and Ireland’s Aer Lingus.