Etihad looks to the Balkans?

Could Etihad be eyeing a stake in an EX-YU airline?

The national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways, is looking at acquiring shares in airlines, with a lot of opportunity to do so within the former Yugoslavia. Two years ago the airline purchased tender documentation for a 30% stake in Montenegro Airlines. In the end it did not put in an offer. This year, Adria Airways and B&H Airlines are up for sale and looking for strategic partners. While it is believed that Buraq Air from Libya and a regional European airline are eyeing a 49% stake in B&H, the Federation government of Bosnia and Herzegovina recently added more confusion over the potential investor by revealing that a Middle Eastern carrier is also in the running for a minority stake.

"We see further equity investments only if it's the right opportunity, right partner, right market and right price", James Hogan, Etihad's CEO said at an aviation conference in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Etihad has been on an acquisition drive in recent months, taking minority equity stakes in Virgin Australia (10%) and Aer Lingus (3%), as well as raising its shareholding in Air Berlin (29%) and Air Seychelles (40%). Any future acquisitions would follow the same theme, with Etihad not interested in majority ownership, Hogan said. "Through partners, we stretch our reach and it gives us the ability to compete with our immediate neighbours", he added, in a reference to major rivals Emirates and Qatar Airways.

Etihad Airways does not operate flights to the former Yugoslavia. It has so far not expanded into Eastern Europe, with services to Minsk and Moscow being the only exceptions. Etihad Airways recently opened its office for the Western Balkans in Belgrade. The office covers Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Albania. The Emirati carrier also boasts a code share agreement with Olympic Airways on its flights from Athens to Belgrade and has an interline agreement with Jat Airways. Etihad's codeshares have generated over $280 million this year, and account for 20% of the airline's total revenue, which will grow to $5 billion this year.


  1. Aэrologic10:46

    October 2, 2012 6:12 AM

    Rumour from Skyscrapercity forum says EK is bowing down to persuasion from BEG and will likely start DXB-BEG in September 2013 with an announcement this winter right after new years."

    The truth is, EK should have started the route last year instead of sending FZ to BEG. Now it would have already been a well established line, pushing TK out and avoiding the coming of QR and the likes (not that i have anything against them but BEG-DXB with 2 stop-overs is not really the real thing you know). QR would have been interesting if they had rights to ESB, but like this i think there is no room for more frequency than thrice a week. Whether EK will correct their mistake and become the dominant ME airline in BEG, that's yet to be seen but with FZ about to fly 6 times a week despite their failure to attract transit passengers (even on their own network) i guess there is no doubt that the demand exists and could be only boosted by more choices in level of service (business), FZ charges now anyway the same price EK would be charging for full in-flight service in economy. Share your thoughts.

    1. Anonymous11:25

      How much is likely to be like this?
      Is this just a wish or serious rumor? It would be very nice to see wide-body jets LYBG.

    2. Anonymous11:31

      LYBE you mean?

    3. Anonymous11:32

      The OP quoted what some guy posted as rumor from yesterday and invited us to discuss it based on the facts he provided, that's all.

  2. Anonymous11:26

    Im sceptic whit this!

  3. JU520 BEGLAX12:02

    u find rumours in aviation like sand on the beach... at the time I was working for AA, for 5 years the crews came to us and said there is rumours that the station is going to be closed..... even today 13 years later and after total 25 years of flying to ZRH, AA is still here....

    1. Anonymous13:38

      are you working at ZRH? which company?

  4. Anonymous15:44

    olympic air not more olympic airways

  5. Anonymous22:57

    "Another important topic was the introduction of a flight between Banja Luka and Belgrade by December 1. "

    Said at a meeting between Serbian President Nikolic and RS President Dodik.

  6. Anonymous05:42

    BEG is the reality for Emirates. They will not touch BUD because of VIE, and BEG is next in the line. They just had to go after Lisbon and Warsaw before BEG because those two are bigger markets.

  7. frequentflyer10:41

    Etihad isn't looking at any stake in an exYU airline.

    As for EK starting services to major cities in the region, remember that their smallest aircraft is ~240 seats, and their minimum frequency on any line from DXB is daily. That's an awful lot of capacity to dump on a route that isn't proven... Hence QRs lower-capacity entry to the markets

  8. Anonymous11:37

    Not true. They started LCA with three weekly. I think WAW is five weekly.

  9. Anonymous11:48

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Anonymous13:09

      EX YU
      Please DELETE upper comment (11:48 AM) sent from this address

  10. Anonymous17:20

    "Etihad's codeshares have generated over $280 million this year, and account for 20% of the airline's total revenue, which will grow to $5 billion this year."
    20% of 5 billion is 1 billion.
    If 20% of an amount is 280 million, then that amount is 1,4 billion.


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