DUBAI: Etihad Airways, in talks on the potential purchase of a stake in struggling Italian carrier Alitalia, said its revenue from codesharing and equity partnerships rose 23 percent in the first quarter of this year.
The Abu Dhabi-based carrier, owned by the emirate's government, is eyeing an investment in Alitalia as it uses a combination of equity alliances and organic growth to expand its global reach and compete with fast-growing regional rivals Emirates and Qatar Airways.
It has bought stakes in several carriers in the last few years including Air Berlin, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus and India's Jet Airways.
Etihad's revenue from codesharing the sharing of flights with other airlines and equity partners rose to $223 million in the first three months of 2014 from $182 million a year earlier, the carrier said on Tuesday.
Codesharing and equity partnerships delivered 678,000 passengers onto Etihad flights during the period, 25 percent higher than the same period last year, it said.
Total revenue for the quarter was $1.4 billion, up 27 percent, as total passenger volume rose to 3.2 million from 2.8 million.
The unlisted firm did not provide any profit figures.
At the end of the first quarter, Etihad had 18,543 employees, a leap of 69 percent year-on-year which was partly due to its acquisition of Abu Dhabi Airport Services, Abu Dhabi In-Flight Catering and Abu Dhabi Cargo Co in 2013.
Etihad said in February it was in the final stages of a due diligence process for a possible investment in Alitalia and would make a decision in a month.
The Gulf carrier is expected to give a proposal to the Italian airline soon to start formal talks on the potential investment, sources have told Reuters. (Reuters)