Monday, August 26, 2013

Etihad denies Croatia Airlines interest

Etihad Airways rebuffs media reports

Etihad Airways has denied recent claims it is interested in purchasing a stake in Croatia Airlines. It comes after the Croatian government revealed it plans to put the airline on sale before October 15. Speaking to “Arabian Business” an Etihad Airways spokesperson said, “We are not in talks to purchase a stake in Croatia Airlines”. Earlier in month it was also reported that Etihad was in “advanced talks” with Poland’s treasury for a potential equity investment in LOT Polish Airlines. Etihad has neither confirmed nor denied any negotiations. The news comes less than a month after Etihad purchased a 49% stake in Jat Airways.

While both Garuda Indonesia and China Southern Airlines have been named as potential partners for Croatia Airlines, the Indonesian national carrier has shown the most interest. This week the Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, and the President of the Croatia Airlines Supervisory Board, Siniša Petrović, are due to fly out to Jakarta in order to drum up interest in a deal. "If the strategic partner is from outside the European Union, the maximum stake we'd sell would be 49%. If it is from the EU, the stake can be up to 100%", Mr. Hajdaš Dončić explained recently.. The Independent Croatian Trade Union has written to the country’s Prime Minister, Zoran Milavonić, to voice its anger at the prospect of privatising Croatia Airlines. They have requested for a referendum to be called on whether Croatia Airlines and several other state owned companies should be sold.

Montenegro Airlines is currently the only national carrier in the former Yugoslavia not searching for a strategic partner. However, it was precisely Montenegro Airlines which caught Etihad Airways’ interest first. When in 2010 the Montenegrin government put 30% of its national carrier up for sale, Etihad Airways purchased the tender documentation, however, did not put in an offer later on. Adria Airways is believed to be in talks with China Southern Airlines while B&H Airlines is also on the lookout for a new partner following Turkish Airlines’ exit last year.

54 comments:

  1. Let me just point that Croatian Government NEVER claim that they negotiate with Etihad and minister never have statement about Etihad possibility to take over CTN. It was just stupid idea from Jutarnji list where journalist does not understand deferent between red and green.

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    1. Exactly. This is just stupid... Etihad wants for Air Serbia to expand as much as they can. Why would they want to help Croatia and work against JAT/Air Serbia. It doesn't make sense at all.

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  2. Reuthers:

    Alitalia is in talks with Etihad Airways on a commercial deal that may lead to the Abu Dhabi-based carrier taking a stake in the money-losing Italian company, daily il Sole 24 Ore reported.

    Citing unnamed sources, the paper said there had been several meetings in recent weeks between managers at both companies, including recently appointed Alitalia chief executive Gabriele del Torchio.

    Del Torchio, who is known as a turnaround specialist, was recruited earlier this year to lead the struggling Italian airline back to profitability.

    Alitalia, which is 25 percent owned by Air France-KLM, was rescued from bankruptcy in 2008, when it was bought by a consortium of Italian companies including bank Intesa Sanpaolo, road operator Atlantia and holding company IMMSI.

    In its industrial plan presented in July, the new CEO said the company planned to increase its financial resources by EUR€300 million (USD$400 million) by the end of this year.

    Alitalia and Etihad were mentioned in the context of a possible tie-up earlier this year, but Etihad said at the time there were no talks between the two firms beyond those on code sharing

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  3. Hmmm. Very interesting. I forgot all about Etihad wanting to buy Montenegro. I really hope Garuda does buy OU so we can have some real competition in the region.

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    1. The fact that Garuda is flying only to AMS (Indonesia was Dutch dominion), is for me point enough that that airliner is not having a decent customer numbers flying to Europe. Unlike Etihad, Garuda is not knowm for developing typicall tranist passanger bussines, which mean that we may expect Etihad to build out Belgrade as a hub for connecting glights between Middle East and subsahara Africa and Europe (after all Middle East is Arabian region), but I really doubt that Garuda woul and could do same with OU. I also doubt that one may compare professional management of Etihad with the way Garud is run as a typical public service company.

      I believe that we just have to get used in a near future to stop compare JU with OU, JP, YM. If everythnig goes fine with Etihad, JU will be a competetor of Austrian, AlItalia and Turkish, building a totally different cluster of interests and topics than OU, JP and YM.

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    2. @AnonymousAugust 26, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      Garuda was one of the airlines Croatian Government held talks with, other 2 were Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines.

      Malaysian Airlines flew to Zagreb all until late 2009 when it suspended its service to Zagreb, they know regional market well and are rapidly expanding airline.

      Singapore is another good airline that Croatian Government is talking to as well as Qatar Airways.

      Qatar has expressed interests in doing something in Croatia, but not much thus far has come out of talks Croatian Government held with Qatar air.

      Korean air another airline Croatian Government is keen to talk to, Korean air has 8-12 seasonal flights to Zagreb each year and this could be upgraded to twice weekly service eventually if Korean air takes over OU.

      W/E the case, OU won't be sold before 2015, the consultation process will last 6-8 months and than tenders will looked at, with another 3-6 months to be decided on who the winer is.

      So you're looking at protracting process that will last 14 months, by which time Croatia would be out of recession as will be much of the world and things should improve dramatically for all concerned (more offers on the table).




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    3. Malaysian Airlines flew to Zagreb thanks to an extraordinary business cooperation between Malaysia and Croatia during the 90s (the same time Malaysia was the only country in the world that permited no entry to all Yugoslav citizens). As that political (and probably military)link cooled down, Malaysia airlines canceled the flights to Zagreb.

      Korean air is already in a very good deal in Prague.

      Singapore is in a mayor deal with Lufthansa (Lufthansa is using Singapore Arilnies flights to transfer their passangers to AUstralia, and Singapore is using Lufhtansa to transfer passagners all over the Europe), and I cannot imagine any interest of Singapore airlines to cancel that partnership in order to make bussines with OU.

      I really doubt that there is a place for one more respectful investemnt and development in the region. A pitty that they haven´t rebranded the JAT in a more regional manner, so that it could open the bases through oput the region like Adria and Wizz Air are doing.

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    4. "If everything goes fine with Etihad, JU will be a competitor of Austrian, AlItalia and Turkish..."

      Oh, come on... that is so typical Serbian megalomania. Reality is not even near to that. Etihad will never make Jat on Austrian size, and especially not to Alitalia or Turkish size. Turkish has 232 planes and 216 orders, 237 destinations (4th the biggest in World), and 39 million passengers. That is 4 times bigger than Etihad!!!!

      This joke is on level of that when someone on this blog compare Belgrade with Singapore.

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    5. Austrian Airlines and Alitlia are on the verge of bankruptcy so I hope they will not make Air Serbia like them.

      Also, it's not the Serbs who were exibiting megalomania here. People from all over ex-YU republics were attacking us that the name will prevent us from expanding in the region. Serbs never based Air Serbia's model as expanding in other markets (by setting up bases), so it's not really us who are megalomanic.

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    6. "Oh, come on... that is so typical Serbian megalomania. Reality is not even near to that. Etihad will never make Jat on Austrian size, and especially not to Alitalia or Turkish size."

      Nobody ever mantioned that JAT will get the size of Austrian, AlItalia or Turkish. They will however compete for the region as the market. It is an obvious pßlan of Etihad to take Southeast European passangers traveling to far East from the Turkish. They will also probably try to connect African and Middle Eastern passangers via Belgrade with Euorope, which is also dominion of Turkish airlines. It´s is a grate deal, far bigger than small chat stories we are now having on JU, OU and JP. JU will become a story and topic for itself, whereby OU, JP and YM will still remain a small talk subjected players.

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  4. A real competition, Croatian Airlines has no competition in ex-YU even with $200 million investment by Ethiad and Serbian Government.

    I mean for $200 million you really can't do much in airlines business and I am surprised so many fell for Air Serbia nonsense.

    I don't see anyone flying with Air Serbia apart from Serbians in the region and some transfers from Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia.

    Lot, airBerlin are far greater priorities for Ethiad, Air Serbia will only be a feeder for airBerlin and Ethiad.

    For Air Serbia to have any chance in the region it would need to invest more than $200 million (half of which are actually lease of existing infrastructure assets so real investment is around 120-130 million).

    lease of one brand new A320 is $5 million per year, so for 120 million, and if you get a fleet of 10 A319/320s that means you can lease these for 30 months and if AirSerbia makes no profit in that time frame, than you can guess what happens next.


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    1. Oh dude, give it a break. Just wait and see how wrong you will be. Also, it's funny how you speak of OU as if it was some important regional player. It is as important as Jat or Bulgaria Air... at times maybe even less.

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    2. Don't worry. This is just the beginning of Etihad- Air Serbia cooperation. The management plans for Air Serbia to become profitable as from 2015. This is called a business strategy. And yes, Air Serbia will have the best equiped fleet and a superb inflight service in the region. This, for sure, is not for the sake of small number of transfer passengers from the region.

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    3. @AnonymousAugust 26, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      Air Serbia has nothing yet, only name, we don't know what kind of aircraft Air Serbia will lease, i mean what amenities they'll offer on-board their aircraft.

      OU has better fleet than air Serbia and any other airline in the region by far, it has manged to purchase all its aircraft, with short flights there's no need for on-board entertainment, even though there is some.

      I think its safe to assume things won't change even in 2015 or 16 or 17. Air Serbia is doomed to fail if it can't attract regional market and that is quite evident it won't be able to. Flying to Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Greece might bring few passengers but with rise of Turkish Air, their rapid expansion in to ME and major hub at Adana, Istanbul and Ankara, things don't look good for Air Serbia even in ME markets.

      Sure Air Serbia can make a profit, but there's little Air Serbia can do in terms of expanding beyond Serbia and Montenegro.

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    4. OU, is like every other ariliner in the region, enjoying the last fruits of old fashioned aviation bussines where flying was playground for national presentation. The fact that OU, same as JAT, is owning and not leasing the planes is a typical echo of that national, 20th century bussines manner. Just as the bunkrupcy that is in front of the door of all national airliners in the region.

      Now the JAT and Etihad got opportunity to do modern styled aviation bussines. It´s just a shame that they didn´t think more about the region by choosing the company´s name. But it is redicilous to assume that OU is having advantages in respect to JU.

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    5. The plan of Etihad is to develop Air serbia and turn the bussines into the profit within two years and then buy OU and take over croatian market...so all Croats will be forced to fly Air Serbia whether they like it or not...;-)

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    6. Now, even you know how stupid that stetement of yours is.

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    7. @Anonymous at 2:33 PM
      Lets wait and see...by the end of the next year you would be singing a totally different song regarding Air Serbia.
      Time will show shortly...

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    8. To ti kristalnu kuglu imas ili si baba vracara. Il pak neki teski analiticar u svjetskom vrhu sa inside informacijama. Dajte ljudi prestanite sanjat i spustite se malo na zemlju. Ovo je kostalo 400 miliona Srbiju. 400 miliona koji Srbija nema. Bog te pitaj kako ce to zavrsit

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    9. Sta nesto kosta vidi se kada se prebere utroseno, sa ustedjenim. Koja je ponta navoditi bilo koju cifru, ako se ne kaze koliko bi vise kostalo produzavanje agonije JAT-a u cisto drzavnom vlasnistvu, sa zastarelom flotom koja trosi duplo vise od novih aviona, sa problematicnom strukturom zaposlenih, sa nerazumevanjem u drzavi za strateske odluke svake avio-kompanije? Za par godina JAT bi vervoatno bio ugasen - sa jos vecim optremninama i mnogostruko vecim dugovima.

      Budi dakle ti malo realan. Ovo sada za JAT jeste trosak, ali je srednjerocno gledano veliak usteda. Da ne govorimo o dugorocnom planu.

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    10. Air Serbia can't make a profits in short term or even medium term, not sure how anyone can even think that is possible is beyond me.

      First off, Air Serbia before it even starts will have debt of $200 million (investment in to airline) and even if airline manges to transport more than 1.4 million passengers by 2015, highly dubious, airline will still have massive losses, someone mentioned the new way to do a business is o lease aircraft only, a newsflash, NO its not, to lease aircraft you still have to pay a full price of aircraft but you never end up owning it + you need to pay extra insurance and for each hour of operation exceeding leased agreement you need to pay extra money.

      Considering that aircraft in question are a brand new A320 and A319s, each costing $112 and $120 million you'll need to pay a hefty price for these aircraft, its between $5 and $8 million per aircraft over 10 or 15 years , and a long term deal (10 years or more) you can keep the aircraft if deal is for lease to own what Croatian Airlines did for its 2 A320, one of which was returned to Lufthansa in 2011 and one will be kept but is being leased out to Tunisian airliner.

      In any case, you want any extras on-board such in in flight entertainment, you're looking at extra price and more expensive seats such as ones on Croatian airlines will also cost you more.

      So when you say Air Serbia to get all new aircraft, lets wait and see, I highly doubt that is the case, due to the costs involved, unless Ethiad gives on lease their own aircraft, in which case its possible, but for some reason i am not confident that is the case, Ethiad mentioned nothing!

      So lets not start the celebrations just yet, make sure VIPs are all invited first!


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    11. After which accounting methodolgy did you come to conlusion that investments ($200 million) are to booked as debts?

      We should have no false expectations here. The ariline will have hard time to make profit - but I´m sure that it will have better revenue and smaller costs than it was previous the case. There are different leaing opptions, insluding the one where you actually become the owner in the end. And even so, JAT will save only some 2.5-3 Mil. $ for each jet per year - just on the count of fuel saving (B737 from the 80s -- new A319). There will also be some remarkable savings after leaving the Tehnika in Belgrade.

      So lets just wait and see.

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  5. AnonymousAugust 26, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    "A real competition, Croatian Airlines has no competition in ex-YU even with $200 million investment by Ethiad and Serbian Government. "


    The only real regional ex-yu player in the region is Adria. YM, JU and OU are stucked to their national markets and compete only on the single roots. What region really needs is a strong and expansive regional ariliner, but I cann´t se wether OU not Air Serbia taking that role. Both companies stuck to national boarders, which eventually was a reason for Malev and Balkan to colapse, and is now a reason for OU, YM, JP, JA and JU colapsing. You maybe satisfied with national boarders if you have 90 Mil. inhabitants like Germany, or 70 like France, or maybe 25 like ex Yugoslavia. Nedless to say, that with 4 or 7 Mil. inhabitants within the national boarder it must be a lose-lose combination for companies.

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    1. To a point I'd agree if OU started today and not in 1989, but as things are Croatian Airlines is now an established airline with a good tradition and service.

      Croatia is now a brand and good name to have, a very popular brand worldwide, well recognizable brand worldwide and very reputable brand. Croatian Airlines is a good brand to have, like British Airways, Air Swiss, Austrian Air, Air France or Japanese airlines.

      Croatian brand can only improve the airline, problem is that Croatian Airlines has been so badly managed that airline hasn't been able to keep up, in fact it is damaging the "Croatia" brand.

      Austria, Croatia, Czech R, France the UK, Italy and similarly recognizable nations in Europe should by all means use name to flaunt their brand, it perpetuates stigma attached to these nations, a place to be seen, to go to, to do business with, to experience life....

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    2. Couldn´t agree more. There was a time when it made sense to have Jugoslovenski aerotransport or Crotia Arilines. It was some 25-60 years ago. Now we have different time, open sky agreements and the national makret concept and brand has failed to bring profit in the region where all nations count some 0.5-8 Mill people.

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  6. "Air Serbia has nothing yet, only name, we don't know what kind of aircraft Air Serbia will lease, i mean what amenities they'll offer on-board their aircraft. "

    Since "Air Serbia" is just a rebranding, they have a 90 years old tradition, flying and cabin crew, few B737 and few ATR in their fleet, bussiness facilities allaround the Europe, slots, government approaval for leasing 5 A319.

    It´s not a bad score!

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    1. For 90 years it is... a very bad result.

      - 25 years old fleet,
      - destroy present (huge fleet, slots, offices abroad...) which was minority paid by Serbia, and rest by others,
      - downsize fleet from more than 30 to just 10 planes,
      - no intercontinental routes and Jat flies to Australia, Asia, Africa and America,
      - bad image...
      - And to spend 400 million EUR (300 for debts and 100 for leasing) just that someone can take the company for free (sorry, to invest 100 million)...

      Well it is not bad score! That is catastrophic score.

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    2. You are forgetting what challenges the airline faced in the 1990s. The fact that they survived that makes me proud to have Jat as my national carrier. Their score is a damn good one.

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    3. A company that can book a 90 years old tradition may fly a DC 3, it would still be a classic in the sky in one way or another. The universities, car producers, toy stores, cinemas and theaters they all have it´s downs and fall, but in the end what´s really matters is who is offerening a good service here and now. If however you can put on a good service a 90 years pioneering status, that it is an advantage that youngsters such as OU or YM cannot compete with.

      Btw, if we take in consideration the awfull way that JAT was forbidden to fly in 1992-1994 wherby OU got best cheap deals with Airbus and Lufthansa, I´m really also very proud to have JAT even in the shape it is in now.

      Really hope to see JAT brand coming back in few years when they eventually face the fact that brand "Air Serbia" will always tear the wings of the company off in the region.

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    4. I recently read, off one of the air magazines, and I do forget which one, that Etihad plnas to operate Air Serbia as a low cost carrier. It could have been on Airwise where I read this.

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    5. It was some German expert, who was saying that he thinks that only profitable for Etihad solution would be to operate JAT/Air Serbia as a low cost carrier. That it is, however, not Etihad´s point of view. The proof is also that they will codeshare the JAT´s flight on BEG-AUH line.

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    6. Two years of sanctions and you destroy fleet of 30 planes, slots, huge property. Congretulations. Well let me remind you that we had war in Croatia, for 3 years could not fly from all Croatia Zagreb including and another 3 from Zadar, Dubrovnik and Osijek. That we have to invedt several hundreds millions in rebuild airports that was totaly devastated. And ti buy planes, slots and everithing frim very beggining. So, still excusse thosr 2 years?

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    7. Dude, you obviously don´t have an idea what the so called UN sanctions did mean. First, all slots were canceld on the very first day of sanctions. Second, the company´s palnes were not allowed to leave the air space of FR Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). There was some 24 planes (not 30) in JAT´s fleet. During the sanctions, there was a service between BEG-TGD and BEG-TIV mentained, mostly in order to secure the licenes of crw, since the whole JAT´s cabin and flying crew would lose the licences without flying. For that period no spare parts could be imported, so that some planes were literarly used just for getting the spare parts for other mgroup of the planes that was actually flying. There were also some huge social issues with JAT, since the company had 4000-5000 employees, a number that was planed for the big Yugoslav market and made no sense in the Serian-Montengrin union.

      It is stupid to compare war with economical sanctions. War is a phenomenon where people dye for no reason. But if it is up to companies, than the economical sanctions are phenomenon whre companies dye. Many companies have flowerished during the war, but there are only few companies who could really deal with and after the economical sanctions.

      If you don´t have a clue on economical sanctions - then it´s probably better not to leave comments. And regarding the OU, it was certainly the state and not Croatia Arilines who was rebuilding the facilities after the war. OU was doing just fine with all that political treaties with Germany and France who took the Croatian side during the war.

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    8. @AnonymousAugust 26, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      Airbus never gave cheap deals to OU or Adria, don't lie, Croatian is still paying for so called cheap deal with Airbus, for 7 Aircraft Croatian bought from Airbus/Lufthansa (1 A320), price tag was hefty $540 million, Croatia manged to pay most of it without outstanding 550 million kuna still remains *(Croatian Government jumped in with that, reason why OU's debt crisis sparked call for privatization)

      6 Dash 8400Q are on lease to own, and are being paid for by Croatian Airlines own' revenue, that's another $170 million btw.

      So no its not cheap at all. Sums we're taking here, Air Serbia can only dream off.

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    9. $540 for 7/8 Airbus319/320?

      And if I remeber it correctly you got them out of line (before all the airliners that have already made the order)?

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  7. Condor 757 made and emergency landing couple hours ago at Dubrovnik. Fire on board or something like that...

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  8. OT: First airSerbia airplane is coming on 21st of October.

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  9. Does anybody know when AirSerbia would repaint ATRs?

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    1. I think after December all planes should be repainted... Usually February is the slowest month, so I think that would be ideal for them.

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    2. You mean that AirSerbia will operate with Jat Airwyas livery until February except new A319???

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    3. Yes... Transition process can't be done in two days... And all 10 planes wont arrive until March, and by then Air Serbia will lease couple more ATRs(-500 probably) for the summer I think. Couple months for 10 planes is not enough... Why do you think all new routes wont start in October or November?

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    4. Well, I suppose that we may expect new uniforms, new on board napkins, glasses.. very soon. The last cabin crew rehearsal few days ago had probalby be connected with taking the body measures (?). Although I´m not a fan of Air Serbia brand, I really feel happy that JAT will get some decent on board look after quit a time. The company´s uniforms and cabin look in last 20 years are an evidence of how many things were made much better and more professional in old Yugoslavia. To bad that Etihad did not want to cope with that fine trands and glorious look of old times. Afterall, retro is in.

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  10. AnonymousAugust 26, 2013 at 3:55 PM
    For 90 years /JAT/ it is... a very bad result.

    - 25 years old fleet,
    - destroy present (huge fleet, slots, offices abroad...) which was minority paid by Serbia, and rest by others,


    What was the meainig ot stating that "minority was paid by Serbia"? For your information JAT was a company of "Socialistic Republic of Serbia", and not a federal company in Yugoslavia. That´s why its property was under no regime subject of succession. The Montengro had even to pay JAT and Serbia for airport facilities in Tivat, since the whole airport was build by JAT. I believe that is the same case with some airports in Croatia (Pula, Zadar, Durbovnik?), so lets better not open old books and accountments.

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    1. Or maybe Etihad will open those books and issues, as they did with Surcin/Tesla airport one month ago?

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    2. @AnonymousAugust 26, 2013 at 8:33 PM

      Serbia never owned any airports in Croatia, JNA did own part of Zadar and Pula airports as these were military faculties, as was part of Split, Zagreb and Osijek Airports.

      Croatia took ownership of all airports after the desolation of Yugofederation. Serbia helped itself with airport equipment from Dubrovnik and Zadar Airports, something Craotia still demands compensation for.


      All JAt aircraft were bought by entire federation not Serbia alone, yet Serbia refused to share aircraft with other republics, something that also need to be resolved and is part of the succession talks.

      Serbia demanded some properties in Croatia after selling and nationalizing Croatian owned firms in Serbia, such as Novi Sad refinery and some 220 petrol stations in Serbia that were part of Ina and Serbia sold to Gazoprom.

      And list of Croatian assets in Serbia that were seized by Serb authorities is long and unlikely to be ever returned, yet Serbia wants some of their properties in Croatia, even tried to sell an island in the Adriatic claiming to be their property, how cheeky.

      Croatia stopped that and Serbia will need to pay war reparations to Croatia before it enters the EU, original Croatian demands were in excess of $23 billion.

      So just in case you think we don't keep the score we indeed do, we definitely do.

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    3. There is no sanse to chat with nationalists. They just keep living in their imaginated - "everything in my house is best" world, and doesn´t even try not to put some easy to crack lies as long as they are feeding their story. AnonymousAugust 26, 2013 at 10:24 PM, you don´t have to believe everything you read in nationalistic weekpapers or hear on tv. Succsession of JAT fleet is closed subject within the succession comettee. And for other topics maybe you should try to find some other, more shovinism friendly forum.

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  11. Has anyone read the fuzz on Airliners.net forum about Etihad and their whole aquisition and expansion thing?
    They are some people who really seem to think that EY actually bought OU and will funnel all the traffic via Zagreb.
    Unbelieveable how stupid and uninformed people can be!
    Air Serbia is a non-topic for all those "aviation-enthusiasts"obviously.
    O>nly after Air Serbia spreads their wings a lot of people will smell the coffee i guess...

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    1. That is easy to understand, Serbia in scope if things is not that important, Croatia is. :D

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  12. Does absolutely EVERY TOPIC has to finish with Air Serbia??

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    1. Well it´s a hot subject, and apparently there is a plausible connection between the news on Etihad investing in the region and JAT/Serbia.

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