Emirates and Etihad, two state-owned airlines in the United Arab Emirates, denied on Thursday a Bloomberg report which quoted unnamed sources as saying Emirates was seeking to take over Etihad to create the world's largest airline.
An Emirates spokeswoman said the company doesn't comment on speculation, as did a spokesman for Etihad, Bloomberg News said.
And now UAE based airlines Emirates and Etihad have strictly dismissed the report.
Both airlines denied the report when they were contacted by Reuters.
Were a transaction to go ahead the enlarged airline operation would be bigger than that of American Airlines Group, which has a market value of $19.2 billion.
Emirates is owned by the Government of Dubai while Etihad is controlled by the government of neighbouring Emirate and capital Abu Dhabi. Douglas has also been negotiating with Airbus SE and Boeing Co. after concluding that doubling the fleet is no longer viable, calling into question scores of wide-body jet orders.
The Emirates-Etihad merger was rumoured, as the two carriers have been facing financial pressures in the last two years.
In January, Emirates Airline President Sir Tim Clark told Business Insider that an Etihad merger was not in his plans at the time, but he did not rule out the possibility of a deal.
Bringing the airlines together would not be easy because of the duplication of routes from their Dubai and Abu Dhabi bases.