Austrian ministers have changed their policy to now allow the carrier to be acquired by a foreign competitor, according to Financial Times Deutschland.
Lufthansa is rumoured to be interested in bidding for the Austrian airline and ÖIAG – which holds a 42.5 per cent stake in AUA – will now reserve the right to sell it to an outsider.
"Should it turn out that AUA is not successful with Al Jaber, we are leaving all options open," sources close to ÖIAG’s supervisory board told the paper.
Today, however, ÖIAG agreed in principle that Saudi investor Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber could buy a 20 per cent stake in the airline.
ÖIAG chairman Peter Michaelis says that if the deal goes through the move will see AUA "strengthen its strategic position and press ahead with its planned expansion in the near and Middle East".
"We believe it will create substantial added value for the airline and its shareholders," Mr Michaelis said.