Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Emirates on Thursday denied media reports that it was in talks to acquire Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, saying “there is no truth to this rumour.”

In an emailed statement to Gulf News, Emirates denied the report, which ran on Bloomberg News late on Thursday, while Etihad Airways said it “does not comment on rumours or speculation.”

The denials came after a Bloomberg News report said Emirates is “looking at taking over” Etihad to create the world’s largest carrier by passenger traffic. The report said that talks are only at a preliminary stage, and cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

Speculations have long surfaced about a possible merger — not an acquisition — between Etihad and Emirates, but both carriers have repeatedly denied that. In May, Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation and chairman and chief executive officer of Emirates airline and Group, said that owners of the two airlines have not talked about a merger.

He said, however, Emirates is interested in further cooperation with Etihad, with which it has “an excellent relationship.”

Emirates Group Security and Etihad Aviation Group in January signed a deal to cooperate in aviation security, the first deal between the two companies.