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Etihad Airways has increased its stake in Virgin Australia Holdings to 19.9 per cent from 17.4 per cent
In 2010, Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia Holdings signed a 10-year partnership agreement that included codesharing on flights, sharing revenue and negative cash flows from their frequent flyer programmes and joint sales and marketing activities.
According to a Gulf News report, the Abu Dhabi-based airline now holds more than 515mn shares in Virgin Australia Holdings.
Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan said, “Increasing our equity in Virgin Australia will enhance the commercial benefits for both airlines and the travel experience for customers.”
Etihad Airways said that the benefits to travellers include seamless connectivity to more than 40 codeshare destinations in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Thailand and loyalty programme privileges.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline operates 25 flights and Virgin Australia Holdings operates three carriers a week between Abu Dhabi and Australia. Passengers have access to a network of more than 280 destinations, according to company sources.
Etihad Airways started 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 2.5mn passengers between Abu Dhabi and the three Australian gateways in the last six years and it plans to operate services to Perth in western Australia in the near future, Gulf News reported.
Earlier in 2013, Etihad Airways announced that it was buying a 49 per cent stake in Serbia’s JAT Airways, with the deal expected to close in January 2014. It is also acquiring a 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways and holds equity investments in airberlin, Air Seychelles and Aer Lingus.