Air New Zealand has raised its stake in Virgin Australia to 23% by paying A$36.9 million for an additional 3% of the Brisbane-based carrier.

At the same time, it is also considering acquiring up a further 3% stake.

Under Australia’s “creeping” provisions, a 3% stake is the maximum it can buy over a six-month period without triggering a takeover offer.

Singapore Airlines currently has a 19.9% shareholding in Virgin Australia, after acquiring 10% in 2012, before it announced in April that it was almost doubling its stake.

Etihad Airways and Delta Air Lines are other shareholders in the airline along with the Virgin Group.

“The additional interest affirms Air New Zealand’s strong belief and confidence in Virgin Australia and the strategy it is pursuing,” the carrier said.

It added it had no intention of gaining full control of Virgin Australia and had not applied for a position on the board.