17 Jun 2013 12:30
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will advance discussions with JatAirways about an equity investment in the Serbian national carrier.
An Initial Memorandum of
Understanding (IMU) between Etihad Airways and the Government of Serbia was
signed in Belgrade today, Monday June 17.
Details of the development
were unveiled by James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad
Airways, and Velibor Vukasinovic, JatAirways’ Chief Executive Officer, at a
media conference this afternoon.
An investment decision
would depend on the successful completion of a comprehensive due diligence
process and be subject to all necessary regulatory and respective board
Mr Hogan said: “These are
early days but we are excited about the future and look forward to exploring
the possibility of a much deeper strategic commercial partnership with
The two airlines will now
intensify discussions about collaborative efforts to further integrate their
networks and help JatAirways achieve efficiencies, build revenue, and reduce
He added: “As we have
demonstrated with our minority equity investments in other airlines,
significant on-going savings can be achieved through joint initiatives. These
include pilot and crew training, fuel, insurance, and procurement and
maintenance agreements for common engine types.”
The IMU announcement
follows the launch of Etihad Airways’ daily flights between Abu Dhabi and
Belgrade on Saturday, June 15.
There has already been
strong support for the new service from the business and leisure sectors,
particularly in China, Australia, and the UAE, and load factors continue to
Mr Hogan said: “Etihad
Airways’ Abu Dhabi hub is ideally placed to link Serbian communities from all
corners of the globe including those in the Middle East and Australia.
“As the partnership between
Etihad Airways and JatAirways deepens, and new codeshare destinations are
added, we will see greater numbers of travellers being fed across the two
“This will increase further
with the codeshare between Etihad Airways’ equity partner, airberlin and
JatAirways, which will link Belgrade, via Berlin, to Chicago, which has a
strong Serbian community.”
JatAirways’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “It’s our great pleasure to
establish this cooperation between Etihad Airways and JatAirways. We are honoured
that Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and one
of the best companies in the world, has established direct air traffic between
Abu Dhabi and Belgrade.
“We are happy that
JatAirways has been given the opportunity to place its code on Etihad Airways
and we will now be codeshare partners and develop product on the market with
the aim of increasing passenger numbers and establishing closer ties between
The initial codeshare
agreement will see JatAirways place its JU code on the new Abu Dhabi – Belgrade
flights, and will add its code to 21 destinations on the Etihad Airways’
network. In return Etihad Airways will place its EY code on 23 of JatAirways’
As part of the codeshare
agreement, subject to government and regulatory approval,
JatAirways will place its JU code on Etihad Airways’ flights to Abu Dhabi and
beyond to Bangkok, Beijing, Brisbane, Chengdu, Chicago, Colombo, Ho Chi Minh
City, Islamabad, Johannesburg, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Lahore, New York,
Melbourne, Seychelles, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Toronto, and Washington,
In return, subject to
government and regulatory approval, Etihad Airways will place its EY code on
JatAirways flights between Belgrade and Amsterdam, Athens, Berlin, Brussels,
Copenhagen, Düsseldorf, Rome, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Istanbul, Heathrow,
Larnaca, Milan, Moscow, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Skopje, Stockholm, Stuttgart,
Thessaloniki, Tivat, Vienna and Zurich.
Etihad Airways operates a
two cabin Airbus A319 aircraft on the service between Abu Dhabi and Belgrade,
configured to carry 106 passengers, with 16 seats in Pearl Business Class and
90 seats in Coral Economy Class.
Belgrade is the fourth of
six new destinations to be served by Etihad Airways in 2013, following the
launch in March of flights to Washington, D.C., and in May to Amsterdam and Sao
Paulo at the start of June. Services will commence later this year to Sana’a,
Yemen, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.