Jat Airways looks to Etihad Airways as its new savior

Jat Airways (Belgrade) is moving closer to Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi). The latter will introduce daily Abu Dhabi-Belgrade flights on June 15. The two carriers are now exploring partnership options where Etihad could buy into the struggling Serbian carrier and help it upgrade its aging fleet. Etihad will take a hard look at Jat Airways before it makes an investment. If it invests, the investment is likely to follow and resemble the previous Airberlin (Berlin) investment. In the meantime, the two airlines will be code-sharing (see details below).

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Both carriers issued this statement:

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will commence daily nonstop flights between its home-base of Abu Dhabi and Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, from June 15, 2013.

Jat Airways, Serbia’s national carrier, will place its JU code on the new service, as well as to 21 destinations on the Etihad Airways network. In return Etihad Airways will place its EY code on 23 of JatAirways’ European flights.

This new Etihad Airways flights will help provide better travel access to Belgrade for several hundred thousand Serbian nationals living around the world.

Etihad Airways will operate a two cabin Airbus A319 aircraft on the service between Abu Dhabi and Belgrade, configured to carry 106 passengers, with 16 seats in Pearl Business Class and 90 seats in Coral Economy Class. The announcement was made on April 15, at a media conference in Belgrade hosted by James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr Hogan was joined at the media conference by Vladimir Ognjenović, JatAirways’ Chief Executive Officer.

As part of the codeshare agreement, subject to government and regulatory approval, JatAirways will place its JU code on Etihad Airways flights to Abu Dhabi and beyond to Bangkok, Beijing, Brisbane, Chengdu, Chicago, Colombo, Ho Chi Minh City, Islamabad, Johannesburg, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Lahore, New York, Melbourne, Seychelles, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.

In return, subject to government and regulatory approval, Etihad Airways will place its EY code on JatAirways flights between Belgrade and Amsterdam, Athens, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Düsseldorf, Rome, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Istanbul, Heathrow, Larnaca, Milan, Moscow, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Skopje, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Thessaloniki, Tivat, Vienna and Zurich.

Jat Airways will place its code on a number of the flights operated by Etihad Airways’ equity partner, Airberlin (Berlin). A major highlight of this would be the provision of a direct link for passengers travelling from Belgrade, via Berlin, to Chicago in the US. The capital of Illinois is renowned for having the second largest Serbian population of any city in the world, with an estimated 200,000 Serb nationals living in Chicago, and up to 500,000 residents of Serb origin.

Belgrade will become the third of five new destinations to be served by Etihad Airways in 2013, following the launch in March of flights to Washington, D.C., and in May to Amsterdam.

Etihad Airways will commence services later this year to Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton.

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