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Dubai’s Emirates denies report of Etihad takeover

Dubai’s Emirates denies report of Etihad takeover

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad is currently in the middle of a restructuring

UAE airlines Emirates and Etihad denied a report that claimed that the Dubai carrier is planning to takeover the Abu Dhabi airline.

On Thursday, a Bloomberg report cited unnamed sources as stating that Emirates was planning to take over Etihad in a move that will create the world’s largest airline.

However, both the airlines dismissed the report.

In a statement to Gulf Business, an Emirates spokesperson said: “Emirates does not comment on rumours or speculation”, adding “there is no truth to this rumour.”

An Etihad spokesperson responded with a similar statement: ” There is no truth to this story.”

In June, Emirates president Tim Clark confirmed that there were no immediate plans for a merger between the two airlines.

“That is in the hands of the shareholders,”  he told Bloomberg Television.

“On the short-term, medium-term horizon, I would say no.”

In May, Emirates said it was exploring a closer relationship with Etihad.

The airline will continue looking at ways to operate “more efficiently,” including working with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad as long as it is not against the law or in breach of competition rules, chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum said at the time.

“We will always be happy to cooperate with them,” he said. “It has nothing to do with a merger.”

The two airlines could consider joint purchases and sharing facilities in countries that they both fly to, Sheikh Ahmed added.

Read more: Dubai’s Emirates looks at closer Etihad ties

Etihad is currently in the middle of a restructuring linked to a slowdown in passenger growth and failed investments in foreign airlines like Air Berlin and Alitalia.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways announces leadership changes, job cuts expected

The airline posted a $1.5bn annual loss in June and said last month it expected to cut staff after announcing a series of leadership changes.

Group CEO Tony Douglas told Reuters that thousands of employees had left the airline since the overhaul began in 2016.

Late last month, Bloomberg quoted a report by ratings agency Fitch as stating that Etihad Airways is expected to continue making losses through to 2022.

The company said there was a “high execution risk” in Etihad’s turnaround plan but affirmed its long-term A rating with a stable outlook due to support from the airline’s owner the Abu Dhabi government.

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