Future for Air Serbia after Etihad Airways cut off airberlin and Alitalia?
Alitalia and airberlin are part of the Etihad Airways Equity-Partner- Network. Etihad Airways invested close to a billion Dollars in keeping both the Italian and German airlines running and finally had to throw the towel and may have to cut their losses now and call it a bad investment after both airlines filed for bankruptcy protection.
Another prominent investment for the UAE national carrier is Air Serbia.
An Air Serbia spokesperson told eTN: “The latest developments in airberlin does not affect Air Serbia. As said previously, the Government of the Republic of Serbia and Etihad Airways are fully committed to the strategic partnership with Air Serbia. The national flag carrier has started the process of consolidating its business, reducing costs and increasing efficiencies, in response to changing market conditions. Despite the serious challenges facing the aviation industry on a global scale, the position of Air Serbia remains stable. Our national airline is the leading carrier in the region with a strong network of flights that serve a total of 42 destinations in Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and North America, with passenger and freight services.”
Austrian Aviation.net reported Etihad Airways backed out of an agreement with Darwin Airlines earlier and pushed the carrier into an alliance with an Adria Airways affiliate.
According to the Austrian Aviation piublication, Serbia media reported funding by Etihad for Air Serbia was already cut and problems for the Serbian carrier may be on the horizon. Etihad owns 49%, the Serbian government owns 51% of Air Serbia.
According to Serbian media reports, Etihad sold Air Serbia expensive loans. At the same time, old debts from JAT times were covered by Serbian tax payers. In 2016 Air Serbia received about 40 million Euro from the government.
However, both the Serbian government and Air Serbia remain silent on their arrangement and current situation.
However the word is, there is no need to pay any money to Air Serbia since the airline is profitable.
Rumors the Etihad equity partner network is collapsing may remain a hoax, but all indications indicate UAE Government money is no longer flowing freely to Etihad Airways forcing the carrier to cut costs.
Right now the future for Air Serbia looks bright.