Emirates and Etihad Airways deny takeover plan

The two airlines say a merger is not in the pipeline

File - In this Nov. 21, 2005 file photo, an Airbus A380 of Emirates Airlines take off for a demonstration flight during the Air show, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Emirates airline, the biggest buyer of the "superjumbo" Airbus A380, said Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009, it is considering increasing its order for the double-decker plane despite delays on existing orders. (AP Photo/Aziz Shah, file) *** Local Caption ***  NYBZ118_Dubai_Airbus.jpg
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Emirates and Etihad Airways on Thursday denied a media report stating that Emirates is considering taking over the Abu Dhabi-based carrier.

Bloomberg reported that talks for the potential deal are only at a preliminary stage and any agreement would require approval from government authorities, citing people familiar with the matter.

"Etihad Airways denies any plans for an Emirates takeover," an airline spokeswoman said in a statement to The National.

An Emirates spokeswoman said that “there is no truth to this rumour”.

News reports about a potential merger between the two UAE-based airlines have surfaced over the last year and periodically in the past decade, sparking speculation over such a move, which would create the world’s biggest airline by passenger traffic.

Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum and its president Sir Tim Clark have previously denied reports of any merger talks between the two carriers.