UPDATE | Etihad Airways has denied any discussions with Malaysia Airlines that extend to a partial ownership or investment arrangement.
Etihad has released a single-line statement to the media, simply that it's "not in talks with Malaysia Airlines about the possibility of an equity investment in the carrier."
Not refuted are reports that the Gulf airline is looking to forge a comprehensive partnership with Malaysia Airlines, including extensive codesharing – although no official announcement has been made.
PREVIOUS, IN BRIEF | Malaysia Airlines has informed its Oneworld partners that it might form an alliance with Etihad Airways, says CAPA Centre for Aviation.
CAPA said Malaysia Airlines would begin with a comprehensive codeshare partnership with Etihad, building on the limited codesharing which is already in place.
However, given Malaysia Airlines' beleaguered financial position, there's a strong possibility that Etihad may opt out of an equity investment in the same way it's done with Virgin Australia, for example.
That’s particularly so “if the government is reluctant to relinquish control or allow the deep restructuring the carrier will need to be viable over the long term,” said the Sydney-based aviation consultancy.
Etihad is not a member of any alliance but holds a minority stake in a number of airlines around the world, and notably Airberlin retained its Oneworld membership despite Etihad's cash injection.
Read more: The Sydney Morning Herald
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