Etihad Airways said on Monday it had signed an initial agreement with the Serbian government over a possible equity investment in the country's loss-making JAT Airways.
No value for the deal nor how much of a stake Etihad would take in the carrier was given in the statement, which said the purchase would be subject to a due diligence process and regulatory approvals.
The UAE airline said 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 approvals.
Commenting on the deal, Etihad Airways president aand CEO James 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 JatAirways.”
The two airlines will now intensify discussions about collaborative efforts to further integrate their networks and help JatAirways achieve efficiencies, build revenue, and reduce costs.
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.”
JatAirways CEO Velibor Vukasinovic said: “We are honoured that Etihad, one of the best companies in the world, has established direct air traffic between Abu Dhabi and Belgrade."
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’ European flights.
"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 our countries,” he added.-TradeArabia News Service