ABU DHABI, April 7 Etihad Airways' chief
executive said on Monday that the airline was close to sealing
the next phase of its partnership with Air Berlin and
that it was still in due diligence over a possible tie-up with
"All our objectives have been met and we are in the final
stages of negotiating the next stage of that (Air Berlin)
partnership," James Hogan told an aerospace conference in Abu
Dhabi, without elaborating.
German media reports last month said the United Arab
Emirates-based airline could increase its stake in the
struggling German carrier to 49.9 percent from the current 30
Etihad has also been studying a possible investment in
Italian carrier Alitalia in recent months, but the CEO said on
Monday that this process was still ongoing.
"We are in due diligence at the moment. The mandate we have
from shareholders is if we can achieve an agreement that meets
the commercial mandate, we'll come back and present that to the
board. That's where we are at the moment," Hogan said.
(Reporting by Stanley Carvalho and Praveen Menon; Writing by
David French; Editing by Andrew Torchia)