The Abu Dhabi airline Etihad has announced their interest in attaining Ryanair’s 30 percent stake of Aer Lingus.

James Hogan, the chief executive of the gulf airline, which already owns a three percent stake in Aer Lingus, said they would be “very happy to have that discussion”.

“Dublin is a strong, profitable route for us and we’re very keen to strengthen our partnership there,” Hogan told Business Week.

Etihad has also been involved in talks about attaining the State’s 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus. 

Ryanair has failed twice in its takeover bid of Aer Lingus. The budget airline had offered to buy out Aer Lingus, valuing the carrier at €694m. Aer Lingus opposed its takeover proposal saying that the EU would probably veto it on competition grounds and released a statement claiming that Ryanair had undervalued the company.

The third largest middle eastern carrier, Etihad has already invested in Air Berlin, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia and Air Seychelles. Due to EU airline rules, airlines from non-eu countries are not permitted to own more than a 49 percent stake of an airline.