During a press conference earlier today, Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan confirmed that the airline will advance discussions with JatAirways about an equity investment in the Serbian national carrier.
An Initial Memorandum of Understanding (IMU) was signed today and moving forward, an investment decision would depend on the successful completion of a due diligence process, together with regulatory and board approvals.
“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,” said Mr Hogan.
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.
"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,” added Mr Hogan at the press conference.
The IMU announcement follows the launch of Etihad Airways’ daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Belgrade on Saturday, June 15.
The airline 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.