Etihad Airways welcomed (19-Jul-2012) the decision by the Australian Government to allow the airline to increase its equity stake in Virgin Australia Holdings to a maximum of 10%. Etihad Airways currently has a 4.99% stake in Virgin Australia, acquired earlier this year, and had applied to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to raise the level of its investment. The purchase was made following the development of a multi-tiered partnership between the two airlines that includes code-sharing on flights, joint marketing initiatives and reciprocal earn-and-burn on their respective frequent flier programmes. Together, Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia currently operate 24 weekly services between Australia and Abu Dhabi. Etihad Airways stated the strategic partnership "has already delivered significant revenues to each airline. It is expected that the equity stake in Virgin Australia will lead to further revenue generating opportunities". [more - original PR]
Etihad Airways cleared to acquire up to 10% of Virgin Australia
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Qantas through its subsidiary Express Freighters Australia and Sydney-based Skyforce Aviation have applied to the IASC for a total of 53 tonnes of freight capacity per week each way on the Australia-Papua New Guinea route. A total of 77.5 tonnes capacity per week in each direction is currently available under the bilateral air services agreement between the countries which allows for a total of 100 tonnes per week.
Currently Pacific Air Express has the market to itself after HeavyLift Cargo Airlines collapsed in 2012. The state of Queensland is a major source of supplies for PNG’s mining sector, while also serving as a transit point for some of the country’s Japan-bound fresh tuna exports.
Virgin scores an important bilateral victory against Qantas on Australia-Italy route
Virgin Australia has scored an important victory against Qantas in the battle for access to bilateral capacity between Australia and Italy, being awarded 300 of the 1000 weekly seats available on the route.
The Italy decision is likely to set the scene for other markets where Virgin Australia may seek to challenge Qantas’ dominant third country carrier codeshare seat allocation as they come up for review over the next few years. Both carriers are competing for bilateral seat capacity to maximise the benefits of their largely virtual networks to Europe.
Qantas had previously held Australia’s entire codeshare capacity entitlement on the Italy route under two determinations. The carrier had to have the first of these involving 600 seats renewed for a further five years by the Australia’s International Air Services Commission (IASC). The remaining 400 seats held by Qantas are not due for renewal until 2015, at which point it can expect a further challenge from Virgin Australia.
Virgin Australia on 08-Apr-2013 was granted 300 of the 600 seats available for five years. It will offer the seats between Australia and Rome via Singapore and between Australia and Milan via Singapore and via Abu Dhabi.