Emirates Airline has denied it is investigating a take-over deal for UK carrier British Airways in a bid to widen its portfolio and geographical reach.

BA shares jumped in early trading on the London stock exchange today after overnight speculation of a bid for the carrier by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government-owned concern.

The UAE is keen to become a major player in the global aerospace, aviation and airline sectors and Emirati investment in companies has increased in recent months. BA would offer the cash-rich airline a global network to complement its Dubai hub for Asia-bound flights.

BA shares were trading at 348p (640¢) at 10:00, dropping from a peak at almost 360p at 08:00 when the bourse opened.

Emirates vice chairman Maurice Flanagan denied the Dubai-based carrier was interested in acquiring the UK flag carrier, despite speculation overnight. Flanagan told financial television channel Bloomberg: "We have plenty of other things to be doing."

BA was unavailable for comment.

Source: Flight International