Emirates denies report that it is looking to take over Etihad to create global mega-airline

Krafft Angerer/Getty Images
  • Emirates Airline has denied a report that it is considering a takeover of fellow Persian Gulf carrier Etihad.
  • Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Emirates and Etihad were in the early stages of merger talks.
  • Should the merger happen, it would create the world’s largest airline in terms of passenger traffic.
  • An airline spokesperson told Business Insider that there was “no truth to this rumour.”

Emirates Airline has denied a report that it is considering a takeover of fellow Persian Gulf carrier Etihad.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that the Dubai, United Arab Emirates-based airline is looking into a takeover of its financially challenged rival based in neighbouring Abu Dhabi to create the world’s largest airline in terms of passenger traffic.

The report, citing sources familiar with the matter, states that merger talks are in their early stages.

However, Emirates quickly denied the report.

“There is no truth to this rumour,” an Emirates spokesperson told Business Insider.

Etihad is in rebuilding mode after an aggressive global expansion strategy with heavy investments in several struggling international airlines left the carrier exposed financially.

With the two Middle Eastern carriers based a mere 80 miles away from one another, rumours of a merger have long persisted.

In January, Emirates Airline President Sir Tim Clark told Business Insider that an Etihad merger was not in his plans at the time, but he did not rule out the possibility of a deal.

“The notion that we would be merged with Etihad is not in the company’s thinking at the moment,” Clark said. “But we’re not the owners. I’m just a manager and if the shareholder says, ‘You will do this,’ of course we’ll do it.”

“So I can’t say what they may or may not be thinking,” Clark added.

Emirates Airline is part of the Emirates Group, which is owned by the Dubai government.

This story is developing.

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