Etihad Airways has entered into an ‘equity alliance’ with Serbian carrier JatAirways which will see the Abu Dhabi-based carrier acquire 49 per cent of JatAirways along with a five-year management contract for the Serbian airline. JatAirways will also be rebranded and renamed to Air Serbia.
These are two of the key components of a strategic partnership agreement, signed by Etihad Airways and the Government of Serbia, which includes a fleet of new aircraft and a new integrated network of international destinations to Serbia.
Economic ties between the two countries, valued at €23.3 million in 2012, three times greater than in 2011, continue to expand with a number of government agreements signed in recent months that will lead to investments in agriculture, defense, technology and tourism.
One of the first new destinations to be launched by Air Serbia will be a four-flights-a-week service between Belgrade and Abu Dhabi. It will start in October and will move to daily when the new fleet grows to facilitate an increased service.
The JatAirways fleet of 10 B737-300 aircraft will be retired from scheduled operations and in the short term will be replaced by leased narrow-body aircraft. In the longer term, an Air Serbia order will be made for 10 new narrow-body aircraft.