|Etihad CEO announces Air Serbia's Chicago plans|
The CEO of Etihad Airways, James Hogan, has said Chicago will likely become Air Serbia’s first long haul destination, to be launched no later than the start of 2016. Speaking at a press conference in Abu Dhabi to present Etihad’s new in-flight product, Mr. Hogan said that a feasibility study into transatlantic flights has already been arranged with the Serbian government. “Air Serbia will connect the entire region. We plan to expand our network based on the Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin diaspora”, Mr Hogan said. He added, “We will launch new routes and Chicago is the first destination we are thinking of”. Etihad’s CEO also added that the Windy City is a logical choice since it is home to the biggest Serbian diaspora but also a sizable number of immigrants from other former Yugoslav countries.
“Air Serbia’s management is doing an excellent job and I am very happy not only with them but also with the support from the Serbian government and all of Air Serbia’s employees. Etihad has employed 300 experts as well as cabin crew members from Serbia”, Mr. Hogan said. Air Serbia’s part owner believes the carrier will break even or might even record a profit by the end of this year. This is despite Jat Airways, for the first ten months of 2013, and Air Serbia, for the last two months of the year, recording a significant loss of 73 million euros (more of which you will be able to read about in the coming days).
Despite the European Commission’s recent investigations into Etihad Airways’ ownership into European airlines such as Air Berlin, Air Serbia and Darwin Airline, Mr. Hogan dismissed any concern. “We comply very clearly with the rules and regulations of Europe - we have to. It’s a nonsense that we don’t comply with it. It’s more about propaganda from our competitors. We have complied with the laws from each country and that includes Serbia as well. As a minority shareholder, we cannot control these companies”, Mr. Hogan concluded.