It seems Etihad has pushed a major step into Europe, with the announcement that they are buying a 49% stake in JAT Airways.
As part of the sale, JAT Airways will re-brand as Air Serbia.
Both the Serbian Etihad will pump in US$40 Million as a loan, converted into equity, and a US$60 million load to help renews the Air Serbia fleet. Air Serbia will match these numbers.
Etihad has shares in:
– Aer Lingus
– Air Berlin
– Air Seychelles
– Jet Airways India
– Virgin Australia Holdings
The Serbian government will assume the liabilities of JAT, thus allowing Air Serbia to be a “new company”.
Etihad will manage the new company for five years, with starting with the lease of two Airbus A319’s – with the fleet strengthened to ten, with possible orders from Airbus and Boeing.
JAT/Air Serbia currently has in its fleet:
– 3 ATR 72-202
– 2 ATR 72-500
– 1 Boeing 737-200ADV (operated by Aiogenex)
– 10 operational Boeing 737-300’s (two stored, two leased)
– 2 Fokker F100’s
(Data – Wikipeda)
For Etihad, this is one hell of an opportunity as it eyes Europe carefully as a market, and as a foothold into Europe. If it can uses this opportunity well, it could make a serious dent into European aviation market – and maybe turn Air Serbia into something that could make the legacies sweat a bit more than they’d like to…