International Airlines Group (IAG) has confirmed it has taken a minority stake in low-cost carrier Norwegian, in what could eventually lead to a full offer for the airline.

BA’s parent company said it has taken a 4.61 per cent stake in the airline, with the minority investment “intended to establish a position from which to initiate discussions with Norwegian, including the possibility of a full offer” for the carrier.

IAG said that while it considers Norwegian “to be an attractive investment”, no discussions have taken place to date, adding that the group “has taken no decision to make an offer at this time and that there is no certainty that any such decision will be made”.

“A further announcement will be made if appropriate,” the group’s press release concluded.

In response Norwegian has released the following statement:

“Norwegian has just been made aware that the International Airlines Group (IAG) has acquired of 4.6 percent of the shares in Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA. Norwegian had no prior knowledge of this acquisition before it was reported by the media mid-morning Thursday. Norwegian has not been in any discussions or dialogue with IAG about the matter.

“Norwegian believes that interest from one of the largest international aviation groups demonstrates the sustainability and potential of our business model and global growth.

“The company has no further comments at this stage.”

Norwegian recently confirmed the suspension of several transatlantic routes for later this year, blaming lower demand during the “quieter winter season”.

In February the low-cost carrier announced bigger than expected net losses for the last three months of 2017.,