Monday, June 11, 2018

Etihad to retain Air Serbia stake, exit management


Etihad Airways is expected to announce within days that it will retain its 49% minority stake in Air Serbia, however, it will not renew its Management Services Agreement with the airline, which expires on January 1, 2019. The repercussions of the termination are still unknown, however, it is likely to include the departure of Etihad-appointed staff from key management roles, which will coincide with the transfer of the airline's revenue management and network planning departments from Abu Dhabi back to Belgrade next January. A number of high-ranking positions at Air Serbia are currently held by Etihad employees, including the post of Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer. The Transaction Framework Agreement between Etihad and the Serbian government states, "Before expiry of the term of the Management Services Agreement, Etihad will seek to identify competent Serbian nationals as candidates for the positions of Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer within Air Serbia". The move will mark the partial withdrawal of Etihad from Air Serbia, however, the latter is expected to remain part of the Etihad Airways Partners alliance, frequent flyer program and retain its codeshare partnerships.

Etihad signed a dozen agreements with the Serbian government upon its partial takeover of Jat Airways almost five years ago. They include an Investment Agreement, Shareholder Agreement, Management Services Agreement, Agreement for the Provision of Grants to Air Serbia by the government, Training Agreement, Travel Services Agreement, Convertible Loan Facility Agreement, Frequent Flyer Migration Agreement, as well as separate agreements relating to the long-term commercial arrangements between Air Serbia and Belgrade Airport, fuel provider NIS and maintenance provider Jat Tehnika. The Management Services Agreement, which is expected to be terminated, covers a number of areas, including that Air Serbia should receive discounts at its home base in Belgrade and that Etihad shall act as a training services provider.

Spearheaded by Etihad Airways' former CEO James Hogan, the company's equity investment strategy across Europe unravelled last year. Two of the continent's biggest airlines, Alitalia and Air Berlin, filed for bankruptcy after Etihad pulled the plug on their funding. while the Emirati airline also withdrew from its stake in Switzerland's Darwin Airline, which later filed for bankruptcy as well. Commenting last week on Etihad's failed investment strategy, the CEO of International Airlines Group (IAG), Willie Walsh, said, "Etihad did change the landscape a little bit because, as everybody knows, Etihad was playing catch-up and they were doing things that people questioned. I’m not going to have a go at [James] Hogan, he’s retired from the business and I wish him the best, but everybody looking at the strategy that they were pursuing did question whether this was a sustainable strategy and we can see that from what has happened recently that it wasn’t". Qatar Airways' CEO, Akbar Al Baker added, "You know, to buy airlines, and take equity in airlines to feed into your hub to increase your passenger numbers, doesn’t work. Well the proof has already been in the carrier in our region".

Etihad Airways holds stakes in Air Serbia (49%), Air Seychelles (40%), Jet Airways (24%) and Virgin Australia (20%).

151 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I wonder what it means in regards to the neo order too.

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    1. If they are just discontinuing the management agreement, it shouldn't affect the neo order, unless the new management decides they don't need the planes.

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    2. Let's just say I wouldn't count on those planes.

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  2. This is actually great news.

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    1. Yeah right. This is just the first step out.

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    2. This contract is not meant to be renewed, because the whole point was for Etihad to manage the company until local workforce is prepared to take over. The issue is that in 5 years Etihad has not built up local talent at all.

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  3. Big news. Let's wait and see what are the side effects of this.

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    1. Very nice of Etihad. They retain the stake and save the costs for the management that they paid.

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    2. And they probably don't invest anything in JU while they get their share of revenue and profits.

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    3. What profits ?

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    4. They made money on management, trainings, leases, etc.

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    5. There’s a difference between operating profit and what you get from a share dividend payout. JU still has expenses and once expenses are paid then the shareholder gets their cut. If there’s no profit then EY gets nothing.

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    6. They have already returned their small 40 mil $ investment multiple times.

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  4. Ovo je najbolji moguc scenario za Srbiju. Do sada nas je taj menadzment unistio vise puta, sto svesno, sto nesvesno

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  5. So basically trying to concentrate on running the main business back home while retaining all the lucrative of engagement with Serbian government.

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    1. Exactly. Win for them while the government avoids a PR fiasco.

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    2. Hogan's agreement with GoS was excellent for EY. We basically paid them to get 49% of the company and we are also subsidizing ASL ever since.
      Both with subventions and with discounts from the airport.

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  6. Given the state Etihad is in this can only be a good thing. They are in no position to manage anyone else.

    By the way, has anyone else noticed how Wizz Air's flights are chronically late and it happens that they are cancelling a lot of flights. Malmo about a week ago, Baden Baden yesterday... two days ago Luton arrived at 04.45 and so on.

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    1. Fleet shortage? No reserve capacities?

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    2. I doubt it's fleet shortage in Belgrade. My guess is their turnaround times are too short for this time of the year when they carry more passengers than usual.

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    3. Most probably. Yesterday afternoon I was flying out from Eindhoven and many flights were delayed to/from various destinations. LCCs have brought us so many opportunities to travel but everywhere you go it is cramped.

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    4. Yesterday they had horrible delays in all of Europe. These are days when some flights are delayed more than 4 hours! KSC-LTN was late by almost 12 hours yesterday!

      I guess they were rushing to get those 100 planes before making sure they have the necessary infrastructure.

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    5. hello, have you seen the weather forecast??
      so many storms all around, sorry that planes would not take off at that weather so you would catch your planes

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    6. Exactly, the weather was shi**. Interesting, nobody looked at LH or OS delays all around the Europe.

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    7. Air Serbia was mostly unaffected.

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    8. JU operations are miniscule compared with W6.

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    9. Doesn't matter. JU operates into the same areas/countries as Wizz in western Europe.

      Also Wizz's operations in BEG is minuscule compared to JU.

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    10. Germany is the problem due to strike so everyone is seeing consequences of ATC. Yesterday, I was flying BRU-ZAG on SN and we were supposed to leave one hour later but we were lucky to get a slot in 15 min. Flight back was heavily delayed.

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    11. Germany is a problem on a daily basis as they are always the ones that can’t cope with the amount of planes overflying the county, especially on the western path. These days Wizz is experiencing delays due to the slot restrictions and strikes around the European airspace. With such a big delay crew becomes illegal to continue with flights to FKB, HAJ and MMX, so those get canceled or postponed till tomorrow.

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    12. What a joke!? ... JU ops unafected, have you seen LHR and FRA land on time back in Belgrade once on time in the last 2 months?

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    13. Last two months? Of course, don't be silly.

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  7. So will it just be this one agreement they are terminating or more?

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    1. Just this one, they are keeping their shares.

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    2. I have a feeling the Serbian government begged them not to exit the shareholding.

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    3. this will still be a very lucrative deal for Etihad

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    4. Anon 9:16 - Here we go, 16 mins in and the fun starts.

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    5. @anon 9:37
      You are the guy chasing "the dark side"? :)

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    6. @ anonymous 9,16am

      there really isnt much to beg. JU has been an amazing thing for them. They get pax from JU, money 'invested' into JU by EY went back to it through various ways (crew training, aircraft leases, crew leasing, aircraft painting, interior fitting, management), a frequent flyer base, additional brand advertisement (as JU has EY logo and branding everywhere through airport signage, aircraft, check in, every Air Serbia advertisement etc), not to mention that the Serbian government has 'invested' into JU's profitability. What more could they want?

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  8. Good news actually

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    1. Exactly. I still remember when Etihad Revenue Management had a brilliant idea to organize a Happy Friday sale for flights to BUD for €169. lol

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    2. Ahahaha
      €169 is fantastic for Abu Dhabi - Muscat, that is probably where they got an idea.

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    3. For November 2013 they also first scheduled some flights between Belgrade and Tivat to operate throughout the night, with landing time at 3AM in Tivat. Apart from the fact that probably no one would fly to Tivat at that hour, the guys in Abu Dhabi also didn't realise that Tivat does not operate at that hour because of insufficient equipment.

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    4. HAHAHAHA are you serious?! God, they are so clueless. Worst part is that no one will be punished for those blunders.

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    5. hehehehe...this is a great anecdote :)
      And it was all paid premium money.

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    6. It's because they just copied the model from the Middle East which is completely unsustainable in Europe. Flying at 1, 2, 3 AM from Abu Dhabi to Kuwait, Muscat, Jeddah is normal. Having a premium product on a 1 hour flight with full service is also normal there. But it doesn't work over here.

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    7. they runied the OHD route by moving it after midnight ^^

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    8. You just do not get it- moving it after midnight was providing guests with more opportunities. :)

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  9. I think it was the best outcome we could hope for. No more Etihad 'KNOW HOW' but JU will star part of the Etihad family.

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    1. Etihad "know how" :D this was their favorite catchphrase when they came to Jat. So much for that.

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    2. Their know how has been on full display to the world.

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  10. So who could they name as CEO? I just hope they don't go to the old ways of Jat and name some politically appointed person with no clue in aviation.

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    1. I would not be surprised if they name Sasa Vlasiaveljvic (current BEG CEO) who will leave after Vinci takes over. He used to be Jat's CEO.

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    2. Why not? The government have praised him for the way he used to run the airport. Nothing to do with the guy, but even he with the 1/2 money spend on AirSerbia could turn the company over in 2013.

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    3. I didn't say it would be a bad idea.

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    4. And you forget how disasterly he run Jat on those times. The worst Jat results ever! That is why they show him the door in Jat.

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    5. let's say vlaisavljević goes to JU

      vinci enters the BEG and slowly replaces all of the management with it's own people

      so logical thing would be for vlaisavljević to rehire them to JU

      this is most likely to happen to this support services like finance, legal, whatever is left from ground support...

      so much fun in coming days

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    6. Petar is right. Wouldn't be surprised to see BEG's entire management move to JU.

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    7. Running and airport and an airline are 2 totally and completely different businesses ...

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    8. Well, these people are completely incapable of either so it doesn't really matter whether they waste time and resources in BEG or JU.

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    9. Hahahaha spot on Anon 11:05.

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    10. Its incredible how short memory can be. Heres a lovely article from this site that highlights the 'amazing' acheivements of the former Jat CEO's.

      http://www.exyuaviation.com/2011/10/jats-ceo-nightmare.html?m=1

      BEG was profitable even before Vlaisavljevic took over. There was not much for him to ruin that. Competance would be had he taken a bank loan to finance BEG's expansion, keeping money in Serbia. Renovation of A6-A10 gates, small expansion for the A concourse (additional gate/s), expansion of C concourse (C7-C10), and a few gates for remote stand access for regional aircraft, an additional floor seperating arriving/departing pax, and a new cargo facility should be more than sufficient for the next few years while intial investment is returned. The sad part is that we're talking of him returning to JU to screw things up as if he didnt do enough the first time!

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    11. Exactly as you outlined JATBEGMEL. But the intention for last couple of years was to give airport for concession or sell it "because we are incapable of running airport or airline".

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  11. big news

    one of the more interesting things is that they were supposed to identify capable "serb nationals" to run the company in the future.

    the problem is there is not one serb in upper management, save from that SNS guy.
    maybe not immediately, but sinc political party will run the company again, we will go back to JAT in a couple of years

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    1. I'm praying Branislav Malović - the SNS guy - Chief Government affairs and relations Officer does not become CEO. That would be a disaster.

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    2. No way, Malovic doesn't speak English.

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    3. I know he doesn't. But our Foreign Minister doesn't speak English either...

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    4. Yes but our minister can sing so all is well. ;)

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    5. Haha true. Don't know whether to laugh or cry. Maybe Malovic can sing too.

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    6. Vlaisavljevic can't speak English either ...

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    7. How can you run any company in international business such as aviation without speaking English?

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    8. @Petar 9:32
      Jat, not JAT, JAT was well-managed, reliable, profitable, wellknown, world-class airline, especially 1985-1990

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    9. the Foreign Minister doesnt speak english? ok now i understand where his primitivsm comes from

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  12. Lower management cost.

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  13. lol I like the comment from QR CEO :D

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    1. +1

      Qatar is showing them how things should be done with the AIRITALY project/ Meridiana takeover.

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    2. Well, Qatar Airways might as well need government bailout soon if the blockade doesn’t end. Hardly the case of a successful story.

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    3. Ah but it was never meant to be a profitable. It is a national flagship projects. The only difference they are immensely rich and can afford that.

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    4. @ anonymous 11,03am

      I doubt QR was ever profitable. Since the blockade, they've redirected spare aircraft on new routes, frequency upgrades and on BA which seem to be short on ac from strikes to fleet issues. Even if the blockade was lifted tomorrow, itll take time for that demand to return. QR seem to be fine, they are the only airline that is still expanding while EY is falling apart and EK struggles to keep crew to support its operations.

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    5. QR might be the only major airline around with sizable fleet to deploy in different projects-expansions. Look what they are doing with Meridiana in preparation to become successor to AlItalia.

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  14. Well it's the best scenario from a generally messy situation.

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  15. Like someone said, to me one of the most interesting questions is what will happen with the 10 Airbus NEO aircraft.

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    1. Hopefully they switch it to 4 A319, they realistically need.

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  16. Who is Air Serbia's CFO at the moment? It used to be Naysmith but he became CEO. I can't find the info on their website. They seem to have removed that position.

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    1. It's some other guy who came from AZ. Forgot his name.

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    2. Thanks. Not very reassuring they are all coming from Alitalia.

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    3. Because they are nit wanted at EY and it is convenient to dump them in JU ...

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  17. What is interesting is that they keep their management in Air Seychelles, even though that company isn't doing well either.

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  18. So now JU is in charge of it's destiny. Etihad did dig a bit of a hole with 'knowhow', while the gov't financed the experiment.
    Let's see what the total damage is after 5 years once the account are published.

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    1. Be careful, fan boys will be after you with their comments :)

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    2. Covek ocekuje da oni imaju duple knjige. Prosto jedna teska idiotska ideja. Sa legalnim velikim subvencijama vlade i donacijama aerodroma potpuno nepotrebno. Sve ima vec na netu osim ove godine. Nas AS skupo kosta, ali znamo te podatke.

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    3. I doubt JU being 'in charge of its own destiny' would be any better either. The people dont seem to change, just reshuffled.

      JU under EY hasnt exactly been a total bad thing either. Some great things has come from it (departure/arrival banks, new branding, products and services). The problem is the implementation and lack of knowledge of the market theyre operating in resulting in drastic, messy business plan changes.

      The people running the show in Serbia hasnt really changed, just shuffled around. We've seen this with Jat. I highly doubt a new team with fresh, inovative ideas will come and improve/fix things once positions start returning to Belgrade.

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    4. Well, at least no more excuses about EY management.

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  19. JU will go bust in a couple of years. it is for sure...they won't survive...there is NO competent figures who could run the company just politically appointed bastards...

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    1. you also said etihad would pull out of air serbia for sure...and you were wrong.

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    2. JU wont go bust while government money continues to be pumped into it.

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    3. they won't go bust because BEG is about to double in size under new management in the next decade and JU is going to be major part of if.

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    4. Or JU decline (as it is completely unrealistic for it to grow) will be the basis to pay a huge compensation to Vinci thus returning the bulk of upfront payment they are making. Devil is always in the details (and small print) and concession agreement is still a secret.

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    5. Last comment is full of hate of bitterness. If JAT survived for 20 years under sanctions and planes falling apart ... so will Air Serbia that is in a MUCH better state JAT was since 1990.

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    6. Hate?! Chill out. Just look at Malev scenario.
      Btw in 1992, half of JU fleet was 1-4 year old so nothing was really falling apart.

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    7. What was the point of having a young fleet if the only place you could fly it to was Nis, Uzice and Tivat.

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    8. Hopefully you know that fair share of the fleet was flying all over the World during those years.

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    9. Just look at Malev scenario

      Bankrupt and then resurrected as one of top ULCC in Europe? Or like American Airlines, bankrupt and then reborn as the largest airline in the world? That's what basically happened to Jat on a small scale, almost bankrupt and now flying again as the largest airline in the ex yu region.

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    10. Ne lupetaj nema veze Malev i americko pranje para.

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    11. Wizz is resurrected Malev?! ahahahaha.... good one :)

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    12. Well. Airport Belgrade favorize JU instead to raise their low cost offer.
      At this time, JU is nothing else as low cost company with expensive tickets. Preety bad; flew several time couple years ago from FRA, ticket prices were lower as LH had. service were very nice, food was ok, drinks, even newsletter for free.
      Now, prices from BEG to FRA are the same, but quality... no comment. same

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  20. Good luck for the future Air Serbia. Hope better days are ahead.

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  21. "I’m not going to have a go at [James] Hogan. He’s retired from the business and I wish him the best"

    I always did wonder what happened to him. He seems to have disapeared.

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    1. Don't you worry about Hogan. He opened a consultancy company in Switzerland.

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    2. Any reference/link?

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    3. Hogan is hiding with Mamic in Medjugorje trying to avoid jail.

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  22. Dear Air Serbia haters: major fail for all of you that claimed Etihad would pull the plug on Air Serbia. If it wasn't for Anonymous posting we would now have a long list of anti-experts. You are now changing the tune and saying new management will be even worse. Well we all know your first prediction was a disaster, and this second one will too. Your only aviation "knowledge" is hate for Air Serbia and that's why your predictions always fail.

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    1. Always fail? And Air Serbia did not cut routes, frequencies and capacity for 2 winters and 2 summers now, all together more than 30% than in 2015? And Air Serbia did not cut fleet for 10%? And Air Serbia did not cut income of A320neo? And Air Serbia did not downgrade service big time from boutique company to LCC standard? And Air Serbia did not move 350 personal to Belgrade Airport and in same time lost its own support?

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    2. Dear fanboy, with that much money pumped into JU by GoS, it's absolutely irrelevant who is in the management - and one needs no aviation expertise to conclude that - just the thing is that money flow will stop, sooner or later, and then ....

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    3. @anon 2:13
      Up to the point! After all the money wasted on the project!
      Dear fanboy, better face reality sooner than later :)
      EY is leaving the management as they do not want to be held responsible for yet another European disaster. They are keeping all very lucrative pieces on the other hand, very clever.
      Absolutely a win win situation for both the Government and Etihad.

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    4. Painful day for ASL hatrers... They try to ignore the fact ASL rebooted in 2013 and achieved growth of pax, fleet, destinations, revenue and most KPI. None of this was possible with JU in 2012: buying tickets from smartphone using Amex, flying from TIA to JFK via BEG, choosing a drink and food onboard, selecting extra legroom seat, using premium lounge and check-in kiosks. It hurts a lot haters, but it will get much worse for you in the next 5 years!

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    5. Indeed. As Serbian tax payer the thing I was dreaming about and hoping for in 2012 was people flying from TIA to JFK or BEY to CDG via BEG! And it all materialize.

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    6. Sta li ce tek da rade kad stifne drugi A330 i krenu letovi za Toronto i Cikago,pocrkace od muke:)

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    7. We will have two more destinations to which passengers, from all over the World, will be able to travel in Jet Airways top notch business class seats. :)

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    8. "As Serbian tax payer"

      Got some tax receipts to prove that? Thaaaaaank you!

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    9. Many. Where do you want me to send them?

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  23. So in this case GoS will keep 51% and gets full control over company management, and ETD will just continue to keep 49% that they gained, roughly said, for helping GoS to set up new company and managing it for the last 5 years. So basically speaking they will be shareholder and close partner for the next five year period but without any financial and investment obligations and without influence on companys future decision making?

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    1. But still with lucrative leasing deals, providing loans with unfavorable conditions to JU, etc.

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  24. Can Air Serbia finance itself and be profitable without government money? That is the question. Can AS grow their network, improve LFs and provide a reasonable level of service for pax? And doing this without a major partner/sponsor? I hope so but am not overly optimistic, especially if political cronyism takes hold in AS. Joining Sky-team Alliance will probably be a good idea, AS already has long term code shares with AF and KLM, but they could be improved more to ASs benefit. Vinci will probably have some input here. Also, it is in Vinci's interest that AS stays strong and grows network and frequency. The next 1-2 years will be critical. Good luck to Air Serbia.

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    1. Help remove obstacles and they will grow. They can hire professional management from Jan 1. Dane Kondic might be available now.

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    2. What obstacles do they face? At BEG they get preferential treatment and for now subsidies from gov. So what are you refering to?

      Good one about Dane.

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    3. Someone mentioned a legal case in Cro preventing Air Serbia from expanding there. They can't fly to PRN. Regional acquisition had some issues.

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    4. If Etihad stays as equity partner, and Air Serbia stays in frequent flyer program (as stated in article), they will probably not be able to join any alliance without Etihad joining too.

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    5. Alitalia was both in alliance and part of Etihad programme.

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    6. Yes, indeed it was. Although it was in alliance before Etihad enter and therefore it had a separate FF program already in place (MilleMiglia, I think). When you fly with Air Italia you can choose which FF program you will use.
      Air Serbia doesn't have separate FF program so it might be tricky for them.

      Basically in that case, Air Serbia customer flying with some Sky Team member would be able to earn miles which then can be spent on Etihad flights. I don't think that Etihad would accept this.
      Anyway, it would be great for their customers if they can join any alliance.

      BTW, Air Italia is still member of Etihad FF, you can earn Etihad miles by flying with them :)

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  25. https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6410021883458125824

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    1. How can JU sell engines from leased planes?

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  26. What does this mean Dragan?
    JU actually owns some of these engines?!

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  27. These engines are from 737-300 and yes, JU owns them.
    ...engines from written-off airplanes and spare ones...

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    1. Ah these are actually planes from old boings. Photo published is misleading.

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    2. Were these engines bought during 2000s?

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  28. Ne mogu oni da izadju koliko mi mozemo da im platimo da ostanu ...

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    1. Aviokompanija košta, sve ima svoju cijenu. Međutim, ovo po meni znači daljnja stagnacija za ASL!

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    2. "Aviokompanija košta"

      Aviokompanija je pre svega kompanija, dakle ne treba da nas "košta" nego da donosi profit vlasnicima, tj. nama.

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  29. Will JU code share with Red Wings ? They begin flights tomorrow. Flight to be operated by (yawn) A320 again...I was hoping for a sexy, Russian aircraft like Tu-204.
    Also LH is downsizing tomorrow's flight from MUC by CR9 :( :(
    Tomorrow at BEG: JFK, IKA, TUN, HRG.... ;) ;) ;)

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    1. The CRJ flies roughly twice per week on the afternoon flight. In the past seven days the CRJ flew twice, A319 twice and three times the A320. Not bad.

      Btw we would also have two A321s from IST had it not been for our lovely directorate.

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    2. Sorry, I meant 332.

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  30. " If JAT survived for 20 years under sanctions and planes falling apart ... so will Air Serbia that is in a MUCH better state JAT was since 1990."
    HAHAHA. who on Earth would like to or be willing to pay for that scrap airline for any pence when he can choose from a better airline with more modern fleet, better services and connections within their alliance network, or in case of low cost for good value for money? Have a look at comments on tripadvisor on Air Serbia. According to travellers JU is going down on a scale in all of terms (overpriced, no free catering for that money, rude air hostesses, old planes, lack of know how. Travelling in Balkan style...as written one of them...

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    1. Omg, you are sadly right. The comments are atrocious. Interestingly enough, the older ones are all good which just proves the reality.

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    2. Indeed, just checked comments. What a rise and then decline of the company.

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  31. Jos jednom se dokazalo da ce EY ostati u JU.
    Sad bi trebalo dobro razmisliti koga tacno staviti na rukovodece pozicije , nije bitno nista koliko je bitno da to budu ljudi iz vazduhoplovne sfere koji se razumeju u poso i koji bi doneli jos vecu korist JU i samoj Srbiji.
    INN-NS

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  32. Finally. Bye AirSerbia :)

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    1. Reading comprehension is a challenge for some :(

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