Etihad takeover offer expected in late May
Etihad Airways has begun its screening process of Jat Airways’ business operations ahead of a planned minority takeover of the Serbian carrier. A fourteen member delegation from Etihad arrived in Belgrade on Tuesday on a special Air Berlin flight which was mostly carrying asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected by the European Union. The fourteen member delegation begun its work at Jat yesterday and will continue working through today and tomorrow. The experts from the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates have been divided into three teams. One will analyse sales, the other Jat’s destination network, while the third, made up of nine members, will focus on Jat’s overall business.
A new set of experts from Etihad are to arrive in Belgrade next week and will work through until May 5 when the screening process is to be completed. By mid May Etihad is expected to compile a complete report on Jat and send in its offer for a strategic partnership to the Serbian government by the end of next month. According to inside sources, the official takeover could take place on June 15 when Etihad Airways launches daily flights from Abu Dhabi to Belgrade. Yesterday, Etihad bought a 24% stake in India’s Jet Airways. The Emirati carrier also has ownership assets in Aer Lingus, Air Seychelles, Air Berlin and Virgin Australia.
Meanwhile, a delegation from Air Berlin will continue talks with the Serbian carrier today. Talks will focus on codesharing arrangements between the two airlines with Jat to place its “JU” code on several Air Berlin flights within Europe as well as flights to the United States. In return, Air Berlin will place its own codes on Jat Airways’ flights to Berlin, Frankfurt and Stuttgart.