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Tue 3 Jul 2018 09:24 AM

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Etihad Airways to retain 49% stake in Air Serbia

Etihad executives who oversee Air Serbia's operations expected to leave at the end of December 2018

Etihad Airways to retain 49% stake in Air Serbia
Etihad’s stake in 2013 dates back to a five-year deal signed in late 2013, under the terms of which Etihad was allowed to appoint executives to the airline.

Etihad Airways will retain its 49 percent stake in Air Serbia, while its senior executives currently at the helm of the airline’s operations will remain until end of 2018, the two airlines announced on Monday.

“Air Serbia and Etihad Airways agreed that equity partnership of two airlines is going to be continued,” Air Serbia said in a statement.

“Etihad continues to own 49 percent of Air Serbia and remains a fully committed and supportive shareholder in partnership with Air Serbia’s majority shareholder, the government of Serbia.”

Etihad’s stake in 2013 dates back to a five-year deal signed in late 2013, under the terms of which Etihad was allowed to appoint executives to the airline.

While the Air Serbia statement did not give details of any future management contract, it did note that interim CEO Duncan Naysmith and COO Declar Keller will remain in their position "until the end of this year, 31 December 2018”.

“Members of the Air Serbia supervisory board thanked Etihad Airways for its comprehensive support that was instrumental in maturing Air Serbia into what it is today – a well-run airline with a well-trained and skilful employee base,” the statement added.

Additionally, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić said she was satisfied with the decision that Etihad will retain its stake.

“Five years after the commencement of the successful equity partnership with Etihad Airways, Air Serbia is now fully standing on its own feet under the constructive supervision of its two shareholders, the Government of Serbia and Etihad,” she said.

“We are excited about Air Serbia’s perspectives and the continuation of our successful equity partnership with Etihad.”

Similarly, Robin Kamark, Etihad’s CEO for equity partners, said that Etihad is “looking forward to the next phase of our equity partnership as an engaged and supportive shareholder and cooperation partner.”

In June, Etihad reported $1.52 billion in losses for 2017. The airline is currently undertaking a strategy review which seeks to improve its performance as it continues to cope with the effects of a strategy that saw it absorb impacts from partners Alitalia and Airberlin, which went into administration.

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