Emirates said to be exploring takeover of struggling Etihad

Emirates Explores Etihad Deal to Forge Biggest Airline

And now UAE based airlines Emirates and Etihad have strictly dismissed the report. According to Bloomberg, if the two airlines made a decision to merge, the market value would be bigger than $19.2 billion, which is bigger than the American Airlines Group Inc.

A combination of the airlines would provide further evidence of the sheikdoms consolidating businesses to boost competitiveness.

Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum and its president Sir Tim Clark have previously denied reports of any merger talks between the two carriers.

A few stations have been removed from the new Etihad Cargo freighter network, the largest of which was Nairobi, citing weakening demand and market behaviours that rendered other core markets more attractive to serve. Fitch Ratings last month said it expected Etihad to continue losing money through 2022.

However, Emirates quickly denied the report.

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Some customers tweeted their frustration throughout the day. "We are aware of the problem and are working to fix the issue. Meanwhile Julia from London told the BBC: "The systems have also gone down inside branches with no transactions possible".

The ownership of the two airlines would make any merger politically sensitive. Its fleet of 268 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 jets as of March 31 is roughly three times as big as Etihad's, measured by number of aeroplanes.

Bringing the airlines together would not be easy because of the duplication of routes from their Dubai and Abu Dhabi bases.

This means redeploying freighter capacity on core trade lanes that connect its hub in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and select global markets in Asia, Europe and the United States to meet growing customer demand.

Emirates is already the world's biggest airline on worldwide routes and ranks fourth overall, according to IATA, behind the top three US carriers.

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