Etihad Airways gets go-ahead for Virgin Australia stake

Abu-Dhabi based carrier Etihad Airways said Thursday it had won approval from Australian authorities to boost its stake in Virgin Australia to up to 10 percent.

Etihad Airways said in a statement the increased stake in Virgin Australia will lead to new opportunities and more revenue.

Fast growing Etihad had needed clearance from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to increase its stake in Virgin Australia above the 4.9 percent it acquired earlier this year.

The two airlines are already part of an alliance which features codesharing on each other's flights, reciprocal frequent flyer recognition and joint bidding for corporate accounts.

Etihad links Abu Dhabi to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and plans flights to Perth in the near future, the airline said.

Etihad is owned by the Abu Dhabi government and has recently been on a buying spree, increasing its stake in Air Berlin to almost 30 percent. It also owns 40 percent of Air Seychelles.

With a modern fleet of 67 aircraft, the airline serves 84 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and North America.

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