EU: Etihad Airways defends EU conquests

United Arab Emirates-based Etihad Airways is on the defense about its recent acquisitions within Europe, defending the moves as a way to bring new competition into Europe’s market, not overrule existing carriers in the region.

According to reports.

At a recent conference in Abu Shabi, Etihad told reporters the company is “bringing competition in the market” through recent acquisitions of EU carriers. “Some legacy carriers are using the European Commission to challenge us rather than challenge us through competition,” the company said.

Among the airlines in which state-owned Etihad holds a stake include Air Berlin, Aer Lingus and Air Serbia; the company is reportedly eyeing an acquisition of Alitalia.

But the buyouts have sparked concern within the EU, where antitrust law disallows foreign investors to acquire more than a 50 percent share in an EU company. The Commission is currently reviewing Etihad’s share of Air Berlin, as well as Delta Air Lines’ stake in Virgin Atlantic, according to reports.

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