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Etihad Airways plan to purchase Darwin stake fail to meet Swiss rules

Swiss authorities have sent a warning that Etihad Airways’ plan to purchase a third of Switzerland’s Darwin Airline does not meet legal requirements to be approved, as foreign stakes in European airlines come under increasing scrutiny. Switzerland’s Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) said that Darwin, rebranded as Etihad Regional, has until September 30 to make changes to the agreement, which would then undergo a second review, Reuters reported. FOCA examined whether the deal complied with rules that the majority of Darwin shares must be owned by Swiss or EU citizens, who must also effectively control the airline. Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, plans to acquire a 33.3% stake in Darwin, adding to its portfolio of minority stakes in global airlines, but the FOCA said the deal as it stands would nevertheless give Etihad effective control over the Swiss carrier.