Etihad will launch daily A320 flights to Belgrade
Etihad Airways will launch daily flights from Abu Dhabi to Belgrade in June in cooperation with Jat Airways, the two sides have agreed. The inauguration date is currently set for June 15 but is still not set in stone and could be moved. EX-YU Aviation News learns that the airline will operate the service with an Airbus A320 with a morning departure from Abu Dhabi and an early afternoon return from Belgrade, with the aircraft arriving in the capital of the United Arab Emirates in the evening. Further flight details can be viewed here. Notably, Etihad will be departing from Belgrade only half an hour before its rival Flydubai takes off to the neighbouring Emirate.
Furthermore, the two sides have agreed on codesharing arrangements. Jat Airways’ “JU” code will appear at airports such as Sydney, Melbourne and Bangkok for the first time in more than two decades. With the addition of another number, the airline will use the same flight numbers into Melbourne as it did twenty years ago (JU580/581). Besides Sydney and Melbourne, Jat will also codeshare on Etihad Airways flights from Abu Dhabi to the Seychelles, Beijing, Bangkok, Brisbane, Kuwait City, Singapore and Hong Kong (JU flight numbers have already been allocated for all the mentioned services). In return, Etihad will codeshare on most of Jat’s flights in Europe although exact routes are yet to be selected.
“JU” flight numbers back in Sydney and Melbourne after 22 years
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Jat Airways began offering voluntary leave pay packages to employees in an attempt to cut down on its workforce. Next Monday the CEOs of Jat Airways and Etihad Airways will meet in Belgrade where they will discuss mutual cooperation. A memorandum of understanding is set to be signed between the two sides which is to lead to the eventual takeover of Jat by Etihad Airways. During the week, James Hogan, Etihad CEO said, “In the early days the alliances weren't interested in us, so we embarked on this strategy of strong codeshares, which is working for us. We've got three coming in the next few weeks. A couple of them will take the world by surprise”.