Belgrade, SERBIA – Etihad Airways’ equity partner Air Serbia today launched flights to the United States, a milestone achieved with the support of, and in collaboration with, several of Etihad Airways equity partner airlines.
Air Serbia, in
which Etihad Airways has a 49 per cent stake, launched its five-times-a-week
scheduled flights between its Belgrade hub and New York JFK International
Airport, marking a return of direct air links between Serbia and the USA after
a 24-year absence. The route is being operated with an Airbus A330-200
together with three of its seven equity partners – Jet Airways, Alitalia and
airberlin – played a key role over the past six months to prepare for the new
route launch. From engineering, fleet planning and technical support, pilot to
cabin crew training, and marketing, legal and guest service backing, the true
spirit of partnership and resource sharing was evident – fundamental to group
strategy to drive efficiency and create synergy.
- 148 Air Serbia cabin crew have completed A330 aircraft type rating
training at Etihad Airways’ headquarters in Abu Dhabi. In total, over 450 Air
Serbia crew have been trained by Etihad Airways since 2013 on narrow body A319
and A320 aircraft.
- 36 Air Serbia Cabin Seniors who will be operating the aircraft as
Cabin Managers were given a 3-day Leadership training course in Abu Dhabi. They
also underwent specific training in Belgrade.
- Etihad Airways provided Air Serbia with 20 cabin crew to support
the first three months of the New York route launch as ambassadors and to
assist with onboard service delivery.
- Alitalia trained 32 Air Serbia pilots for Airbus A330
certification, specifically for the Belgrade – New York route. This included
classroom training, and flight simulator cockpit training at Alitalia’s A330
flight simulators in Rome.
- Alitalia has seconded two A330 Captains to Air Serbia to share
best practice and expertise on A330 operations with Air Serbia colleagues.
- airberlin has trained a number of Air Serbia pilots on other
aircraft types over the years.
- Etihad Airways has supported Air Serbia by sending three flight
instructors for the A330 introduction to New York. Three Air Serbia pilots are
also seconded to Etihad Airways for flight training.
- Etihad Airways provides flight data monitoring and analysis for
all Air Serbia flights.
- Jet Airways leased the A330 to Air Serbia with Etihad Airways
providing technical and maintenance support.
- Teams from Etihad Airways and
Air Serbia have worked together to design, source and certify the A330 interior
refurbishment with various suppliers since the end of last year.
- Etihad Airways Engineering, a business division of Etihad Airways, repainted the
A330 in Air Serbia’s new livery and reconditioned the aircraft interiors with
new seat fabrics in Business and Economy Class, new carpets, new galleys, new
lavatories and new partitions.
- Etihad Airways Engineering worked with inflight entertainment
system supplier Panasonic to provide full wi-fi connectivity across both
- Up to 80 Etihad Airways and Air Serbia staff were involved in the
transition of the A330 which was delivered to the Serbian carrier on June 7, a
day ahead of schedule.
- Alitalia is now providing engineering support for the Air Serbia
aircraft, while Etihad Airways Engineering will handle aircraft turnarounds at
New York JFK International Airport.
- Alitalia is assisting with back office engineering support of the
aircraft in service.
together in different areas of the business, the equity partners were able to
drive benefits, achieve significant economies of scale and, most of all, show
how the investment business model that Etihad Airways has successfully
developed, was delivering results.
Etihad Aviation Group President and Chief Executive Officer, said the
collaborative efforts demonstrated the strength of the partnership strategy.
“Cooperation and collaboration between the equity partners has been
second to none,” he said.
“The Etihad Aviation
Group is all about driving innovation and efficiency, and as our
equity investments mature, so too, will the benefits and synergies become
more apparent. By developing our unique equity strategy over the past four
years, we have created a compelling alliance of partners to share business and
cost synergies that are driving benefits straight to the bottom line.
“We have developed our
global network significantly, and in doing so, shared massive cost synergies
that demonstrate a commitment to work together to reach our goal. We invested
time, effort, resource and manpower to initiate, drive and develop these
Mr Hogan, who is
Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Air Serbia, added: “The introduction of
non-stop services between Belgrade and the Big Apple is a terrific achievement
for Air Serbia that underlines its progress so far as well as the strength of
its business strategy.
“On top of that, it demonstrates the benefits of Etihad Airways
Partners, whose member airlines provided support every step of the way, with
Air Serbia pilots undergoing training in Rome with Alitalia, the cabin crew
completing service and safety training in Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways, and
the A330 being leased from Jet Airways.”
The New York
service has been conveniently scheduled to provide long-haul customers with
easy onward connections over Belgrade to cities across Europe, working with
Etihad Airways Partners to increase network reach.
aircraft is configured with 254 seats, features menus inspired by Serbian cuisine,
fully lie-flat seats and inflight entertainment systems at every seat with the
latest films, music and TV shows in English and Serbian.