Etihad May Sell Aer Lingus Stake
A file photograph of Etihad Airways boss James Hogan.Reuters

Etihad Airways could reportedly sell its stake in Aer Lingus Group if the Irish government backs the €1.35bn (£994.6m, $1.48bn) offer made by International Airlines Group (IAG) for the Dublin-based carrier.

Etihad CEO James Hogan said his firm's investment in Aer Lingus will earn a great return if Dublin approves the IAG offer, the Financial Times reported.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad is the third-largest shareholder in Aer Lingus.

Hogan also said that Etihad has no plans to acquire any stake in Malaysia Airlines, which is led by former Aer Lingus boss Christoph Mueller, the FT reported.

Etihad could be open to further developing its code-share relationship with the Malaysian carrier, but it was not looking at equity stakes in any carrier at the moment, Hogan told the FT.

Pursued by Reuters, an IAG spokeswoman refused to comment. IAG is the parent company of British Airways and Spain's Iberia.

Representatives for Etihad and Aer Lingus were not immediately available for comment.

In November 2014, Etihad secured EU approval to acquire 49% Italy's Alitalia.

Earlier in 2014, Etihad bought a further 4.9% stake in Aer Lingus and Hogan's comments will come as a boost to IAG's CEO, who has been in delayed talks with Dublin over the future of Ireland's flagship carrier, the newspaper reported.

Etihad picked up a 3% stake in Aer Lingus three years ago, to gain more European routes and to catch up with its Middle Eastern competitors.