Middle Eastern carrier Etihad Airways has taken a near-3% shareholding in Irish operator Aer Lingus, as the two airlines discuss future co-operation prospects.

Aer Lingus states that Etihad "does not intend" to increase the stake beyond the 2.987% acquired.

It adds that the two sides have talked about reciprocal codeshares while future discussions "may explore additional commercial and cost opportunities", including joint procurement.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad says the purchase reflects a "desire to forge a commercial partnership" with Aer Lingus which, it adds, could produce "significant commercial benefits".

Etihad serves the Irish capital, Dublin, 10 times per week.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news