Etihad launches first EX-YU flights
Etihad Airways will today launch daily flights to Belgrade, marking its arrival in the former Yugoslavia for the first time. On its inaugural service, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates will be carrying VIP’s from the airline arriving ahead of talks with Jat Airways on Monday and a planned press conference. Etihad’s daily service to the Serbian capital will cater primarily for the Serbian diaspora in Australia which will be able to travel with a single stop to either Belgrade or back to Australia, using the same airline.
Starting from today Jat Airways will add its flight number on the Belgrade - Abu Dhabi - Belgrade service (JU8080/81). From this evening Jat’s flight numbers will once again be appearing in Sydney (JU8582/583) and Melbourne (JU8580/581) as well as in Brisbane (8584/586) for the first time. The codes will appear from today, although won’t show up in the Amadeus global ticketing system until mid next week. Jat will progressively introduce its flight numbers onto other Etihad destinations as aviation authorities from different countries approve the codesharing arrangements. Meanwhile, starting with Jat’s evening service to Sarajevo tonight, Etihad Airways adds its own codes to Jat’s flights (EY5952/953).
The aircraft was welcomed at the gate by Joost den Hartog, Etihad Airways' Vice President for Europe, and Violeta Jovanović, Belgrade Airport Chief Financial Officer. They were joined by Captain Suliman Yaqoobi Chief A320 pilot at Etihad Airways who operated the return flight to Abu Dhabi, and first officer Aisha Al Mansoori.
Meanwhile, the Serbian national carrier will tonight mark its 86th anniversary at the National Theatre in Belgrade. While the actual anniversary is on Monday June 17, it has been brought forward due to the planned Etihad - Jat conference. Attending this evening’s festivities will be the Etihad delegation arriving on today’s inaugural service. Ironically, Jat’s former management did not bother to mark last year’s all-important 85th anniversary. In a recent interview, Jat’s acting CEO Velibor Vukašinović noted, “We have come to a point where our partners mark our anniversaries for us. Just imagine how many chances Jat has missed to promote itself and make it known that it has been in existence for 86 years”. Jat, as the successor to the airline Aeroput, is one of the oldest airlines in the world still in operation.