British Airways owner IAG is considering a Norwegian takeover

Norwegian Air crew celebrate receiving an award

International Consolidated Airlines Group (LON:IAG) has taken up a near five-percent stake in Norwegian Air Shuttle with a view to making an offer for the airline, the British Airways and Iberia parent has confirmed.

British Airways' parent company said Thursday it is considering making an offer for the low-priced carrier.

"The minority investment is meant to establish a position from which to initiate discussions with Norwegian, including the possibility of a full offer for Norwegian", the British Airways parent pointed out, cautioning that no such discussions had taken place to date and that it had taken no decision to make an offer at this time.

Trading in Norwegian's shares were halted on the Oslo stock exchange following Bloomberg's report.

Norwegian released a brief statement in which the airline confirms the acquisition of 4.6 percent and affirms that it had "no prior knowledge" of the transaction.

Last year IAG had revenues of of €22.9bn (£20.1bn) and pre-tax profits of €2.4bn, generated from the 105m passengers it carried.

Norwegian Air Shuttle has rocked the long-haul market with offers like US$140 tickets from Edinburgh to NY.

IAG already has Spanish budget carrier Vueling as part of its airline portfolio as well as Spanish budget long-haul operator Level. The airline did not immediately comment on the IAG plans.

"Norwegian believes that interest from one of the largest worldwide aviation groups demonstrates the sustainability and potential of our business model and global growth", the company said.

For months there has been talk of a possible LCC alliance between Ryanair and Norwegian.