Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, today confirmed its equity stake in Virgin Australia Holdings had reached 19.9 per cent.
This follows a series
of on-market purchases of Virgin Australia shares over recent weeks. The Abu
Dhabi-based airline now holds more than 515 million shares in its equity
At 19.9 per cent,
Etihad Airways has reached the threshold approved by Australia’s Foreign
Investment Review Board in June 2013.
President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “We are
delighted to have reached this milestone.
“It reflects our
strong support for the business strategy and management team of Virgin
Australia and our enduring commitment to the Australian market.
“It also reflects the
close working relationship between our two airlines and we look forward to
strengthening its commercial foundations,” he said.
Etihad Airways and
Virgin Australia signed a 10-year strategic partnership agreement in August
2010 that includes code-sharing on flights, joint sales and marketing
activities, and reciprocal earn-and-burn on their respective frequent flyer
partnership continues to deliver significant revenue streams and other benefits
to each airline.
equity in Virgin Australia will further enrich the commercial benefits which
the partnership delivers for both airlines as well as increasing the benefits
to Australian travellers and visitors to Australia.”
include seamless connectivity to more than 40
codeshare destinations in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Thailand and
loyalty program privileges such as priority baggage handling, priority boarding
and airport lounge access for top tier program members.
Airways (25) and Virgin Australia (3) operate 28 flights a week between Abu
Dhabi and Australia and passengers have access to a combined global network of
more than 280 destinations.
Etihad Airways began
flying to Australia in March 2007, when it launched services to Sydney. Flights
to Melbourne and Brisbane followed in 2009. The airline has carried more than
2.5 million passengers between Abu Dhabi and these three Australian gateways in
the past six years. The airline plans to operate services to Perth in Western
Australia in the future.
Etihad Airways also holds equity investments in airberlin, Air
Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus, will acquire 49 per cent of Air
Serbia from January 2014, and, subject to regulatory approval, will acquire 24
per cent of India’s Jet Airways. It also has codeshare partnerships with 47 airlines worldwide.