Emirates has once again signalled its lack of interest in buying a stake in Qantas, with a senior executive for the Dubai-based airline pouring cold water on an equity investment in its Aussie partner.
"We buy planes and invest in products; we do not buy shares," Emirates Chief Commercial Officer Thierry Antinori told news agency Reuters.
Antinori's comments follow the same tack as that of his boss, Emirates President & CEO Tim Clark, who last year declared that "Equity is not on the table” when it came to the Qantas/Emirates alliance.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce last week revealed moves to split the airline into separate domestic and international arms as a stepping stone to allowing up to 49% foreign investment in either wing of the airline rather than the Qantas Group as a whole, following changes earlier this year to the Qantas Sale Act.
A side-effect of this decision saw the airline's 2013-2014 full year financial results slammed by the paper loss of $2.6 billion resulting from a write-down of aircraft value within the existing international fleet.
PREVIOUS | Emirates has ruled out taking a stake in Qantas, despite the much-trumpeted partnership between the two airlines.
Although foreign airlines are allowed to hold as much as 35% of Qantas under the terms of the Qantas Sale Act, Emirates President & CEO Tim Clark over the weekend ruled out investment in the beleaguered airline, which faces record losses and has seen its credit rating downgraded to 'junk' status.
"Equity is not on the table” Clark told Geoffrey Thomas, editor of the AirlineRatings website.
Clark also took a shot at Gulf competitor and Virgin Australia partner Etihad Airways, admitting that while he “will watch [the Qantas situation] carefully”, Emirates didn't possess Etihad's "bottomless pit of cash."
Etihad holds 20% of Virgin Australia – a share valued around A$250m – and expects that stake to increase to 21.2% as a result of Virgin's call for an additional $350 million of capital, pending approval from Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board.
Qantas is downplaying Clark's statement, with a Qantas spokesman telling Australian Business Traveller "We’ve been clear since day one that our partnership with Emirates isn’t about equity or ownership."
"It’s about network, frequency, lounges, loyalty programs and customer experience."
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.