Government 'has not had any talks' with Etihad over Aer Lingus stake

 

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has said the Government has not had 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,” he said. “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”, Etihad 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.

Ryanair, which is also bidding to take over Aer Lingus, said in June that if Etihad or another investor acquired the State’s stake, it would be willing to enter talks about selling its own holding.

(Additional reporting: Bloomberg)