Emirates Airlines is said to be looking at taking over Etihad, the UAE-state liner, in a bid to create the world’s biggest airline company, according to reports.
At present, the takeover is merely a rumour, with Etihad and Emirates declining to comment on any potential deal.
Later both parties actively denied talks were underway.
The current leading airline in the world is the US$19.2 billion American Airlines Group, which a conjoined Emirates and Etihad would easily surpass in terms of size.
Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum and President Tim Clark have both not responded to rumours that a deal is under wraps to unite the two giant liners, with Clark saying he expected nothing to happen in the short term.
Takeovers between Dubai (Emirates) and Abu Dhabi (Etihad) are not unheard of, as Abu Dhabi and Dubai companies formed Emirates Global Aluminium, one of the world’s largest producers, in a $15 billion combination in 2013, and the two have studied a merger of their stock exchanges.
While Emirates is one of the best performers globally, Etihad hasn’t had quite as powerful time recently, meaning management may be looking at ways to galvanise the business.
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