Etihad Airways and International Airlines Group (IAG) have emerged as possible partners for troubled Irish carrier Aer Lingus.
The Irish government is considering disposing of its 25 per cent stake in the carrier as it seeks to battle budget deficits.
A raft of privitisations are being considered as Ireland seeks to meet conditions imposed following a European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout.
Etihad chief executive James Hogan met prime minister Enda Kenny in Dublin earlier this month and “they spoke about Etihad possibly buying the government’s 25 per cent stake in Aer Lingus,” RTE said in the report.
IAG – composed or Spanish carrier Iberia and British Airways – has made no secret of its desire to expand further, having recently been linked with rival bmi.