UAE-based Etihad Airways has acquired a 3 per cent stake in Ireland’s Aer Lingus. The two airlines have focused on code-sharing opportunities, which enable them to sell one another’s seats.

In a statement posted on its website, Etihad said the purchase reflects its “desire to forge a commercial partnership with the Irish national carrier (and) could produce significant commercial benefits for both airlines”.

Neither company disclosed the value of the acquisition.

In December 2011, Etihad raised its stake in Air Berlin to 30 per cent from just under 3 per cent for $97m. Etihad also increased its stake in Air Seychelles to 40 per cent in a bid to expand its reach and compete against its larger Gulf competitors.

Etihad Airways has strategic code-share partnerships with 34 airlines around the world.