Emirates airline denies it’s in merger talks

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Dubai-based airline Emirates is denying media reports it might merge with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways or that it’s the target of a partial buyout.

A statement Monday by the fast-growing Emirates says “there are no merger talks taking place” between the rival Emirati carriers.

Etihad also says it “can categorically state that there are no talks — either formal or informal” of a possible deal.

Merger speculation has grown in recent weeks amid concerns over the debt load carried by Dubai and its state-owned companies, including Emirates.

Emirates also says it has “no knowledge” that oil-rich Abu Dhabi, the UAE federal government or another carrier might take a stake in the airline.