No talks with Etihad, says Varadkar
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said today the Government has not held negotiations with Etihad Airways on the possible sale of the State's 25 per cent stake in Aer Lingus.
"We haven't had any negotiations with Etihad on the disposal of the Government's stake," Mr Varadkar said at an event in Dublin today.
"I have met with the ceo of Etihad but on a number of issues, not specifically that, and that was some months ago."
Earlier this month Etihad announced it was interested in buying Ryanair’s almost 30 per cent stake in Aer Lingus.
Etihad, which already owns 3 per cent of Aer Lingus, would be “very happy to have that discussion”, chief executive James Hogan said.
“Dublin is a strong, profitable route for us and we’re very keen to strengthen our partnership there.”
The third-largest Middle Eastern carrier is also interested in buying the State’s 25 per cent stake in Aer Lingus as it invests overseas to help bolster traffic through its Abu Dhabi hub.
Ryanair, which is also bidding to takeover Aer Lingus, said in its June bid statement that if Etihad or another investor acquired the State’s stake, it would be willing to enter into talks about selling its own holding.
Additional reporting: Bloomberg