All smiles as the Etihad - Jat partnership enters next phase
Four days after Etihad Airways and Jat Airways held a joint press conference where the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates announced it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding “to explore equity investments in Jat”, the Serbian Minister for Finance and Trade, Mladjan Dinkić, last night confirmed that Etihad Airways has sent in an offer for the purchase of a 49% stake in the airline. “We have received an offer and we have begun negotiations. We are negotiating a special partnership model where the Serbian government would be the majority share holder while Etihad would run the airline”, Mr. Dinkić said. The Minister added, “This will no longer be the same airline. It will be a new modern company, with a new fleet and a far superior product for passengers”.
Etihad has proposed the launch of several new routes, the immediate arrival of new aircraft and rebranding. The airline has employed similar measures with its previous equity investment in Air Seychelles which it turned into a profit making business within the first year of the takeover. An official takeover announcement of Jat Airways is expected next month.
Meanwhile, Jat has welcomed the arrival of its first leased ATR72-500 last night in Belgrade. The aircraft has been acquired from the Nordic Aviation Capital leasing company. The turboprop will now undergo necessary technical checks and will receive Jat’s livery. As EX-YU Aviation learns the aircraft will enter service tomorrow, Friday June 21. The second leased ATR72-500 will arrive in the first week of July. Simultaneously, technical work on one of Jat’s grounded ATRs is entering its final stages, with the Serbian carrier having five ATR72s in service next month. The leased ATRs will receive Serbian "YU" registrations. Jat is also persistent on leasing an Airbus A319 from next month, although the additional costs of training its staff for the aircraft type are leaning it towards leasing a Boeing 737.