Rome, Italy: Etihad Airways is not in discussion to take an equity stake in Philippine Airlines (PAL), Etihad’s top executive said in Rome on Friday.
James Hogan, president and chief executive, was asked at a press conference announcing Etihad’s €560 million (Dh2.7 billion) tie-up with Alitalia whether the airline is set to take stakes in Philippine Airlines and Malaysia Airlines.
Philippine Airlines is seeking an equity investor as it tries to turn the airline around. Parent company PAL Holdings reported a net loss of $205.15 million in the nine months to December 2013, according to reports.
“We’re not having any talks with Philippine Airlines,” Hogan later told reporters on the side of the press conference.
Etihad previously issued a statement denying it was looking at a stake in Malaysia Airlines and on Friday, Hogan said “We never spoke to Malaysia.”
Malaysia Airlines, whose brand and stock has been ravaged by the missing MH370 and shooting down of MH17 disasters, is now set to be de-listed and privatised by the Malaysian government, according to reports.
“[If] it integrates with our network, has minimal overlap and we believe we can see synergies we’ll considerate,” Hogan said.
He added, “Will we look at another one [equity stake] this year, I doubt it.”
Etihad is, however, expanding its frequent flyer programme. The airline is acquiring 75 per cent of Alitalia’s programme as part of the €560 million investment. Hogan also said Etihad is set to bring in two non airline companies into the equity alliance programme.
Hogan declined to name the two new companies but said it is about moving the “a frequent flyer programme to a lifestyle programme.”
Etihad previously bought portions of Jet Airways’ and Air Berlin’s frequent flyer programmes. Etihad owns significant stakes on both airlines
This reporter travelled to Rome courtesy of Etihad Airways.