|Air Serbia to be part of new Etihad Aviation Group|
Air Serbia expects to benefit from its part owner’s recent plan to create a new alliance called Etihad Aviation Group. The new alliance, which will feature carriers in which Etihad has ownership stakes, will further boost cooperation and streamline costs. The Etihad Aviation Group marks the transition of the airline from a single entity to a wider global aviation party. It defines the functions of personnel at Etihad Airways as well as its subsidiaries, joint venture companies and equity partners. Over the weekend, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates named individuals who will hold key posts which will oversee the transition into Etihad Aviation Group. They include former senior managers at Air New Zealand and Air Canada.
The new Etihad Aviation Group structure, headed by James Hogan as Group President and CEO, distinguishes the functions relating purely to Etihad Airways and those required to interface with and support the growth and success of its subsidiaries, joint venture companies and equity partners. As a result, the Etihad Aviation Group also includes a division to coordinate and manage Etihad’s investment in its equity airline partners, and a new role of Chief Operating Officer Equity Partners will be created within the new structure to ensure ongoing cooperation between the airline and its equity partners. The position will be responsible for leading the identification and realisation of synergy benefits across the equity alliance, as well as having direct responsibility for Air Seychelles and Air Serbia in which Etihad Airways has a management responsibility.
Air Serbia, which has the largest amount of its shares owned by Etihad out of all the other investments the UAE airline has made, will play a key part in the new alliance, covering the region of South Eastern Europe. The new alliance is expected to see Air Serbia significantly reduce unit costs and achieve productivity gains and cost savings. It also streamlines entry into new markets and facilitates rapid growth through the use of established networks, facilities and customer bases. Furthermore, the carrier is expected to broaden its cooperation with both Air Berlin and Etihad Regional from Switzerland and help it achieve its target of reaching profitability by the end of the year, as set by Mr. Hogan in 2013. Equity and codeshare partners contributed revenues of $820 million to Etihad Airways during 2013.
CEO James Hogan says, “These are very exciting developments for our business and the strong team we have created in our new structure will greatly enhance and improve the way we work in harmony with our partner airlines and subsidiaries”. He adds, “It will ensure that we work more closely than ever before to maximise the tremendous opportunities and deliver a sustainably profitable future for Etihad Airways and wider Etihad Aviation Group members, while ensuring we meet ambitious targets relating to revenue, cost, and synergy benefits”.