Etihad Airways has formally received regulatory approval for taking over 49% of Air Serbia (previously JAT) from the government of Serbia.
As a direct result, the US$40 million that was a loan from Etihad to Air Serbia will now be converted into an equity stake, and Air Serbia joins Etihads Equity Alliance.
The remaining 51% of the company will be held by the Serbian government, with Etihad operating the airline on a management contract basis.
Air Serbia’s frequent flyers scheme – “Extra Flight Club” has been replaced with Etihad Guest as its programme, allowing earning and burning across Eithads partners (Including Etihad, Virgin Australia, Air Berlin to name a few)
Etihads expansion comes at an interesting time when Air Berlin’s results (which were delayed) with rumours of Eithad increasing its stake in the airline – as well as the outcome of any talks with Alitalia.
Additionally, the airline is awaiting regulatory approval for the 33.3 percent shareholding in Darwin Airline too.
Etihads expansion is a fast one – rather fittingly the name of the airline is derived from the Arabic word of “union”. How Etihad will leverage this union…. is another matter completely…