Belgrade: The government of Serbia with a partnership of Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the UAE, revealed a new identity for the national air travel corporate, Air Serbia, marking a new era in the airways industry in Serbia.
Formerly know as Jat Airways, the first Air Serbia travel shop opened in Belgrade yesterday with an entire new philosophy that offer new experience and exclusive services for its customers.
The first flight of the new airlines will be on October 26 and the UAE will be their first destination as well.
On the first of August this year, Etihad Airways acquired 49 per cent of Air Serbia and been awarded a five-year management contract.
The agreement also included a fleet of new aircraft and a new integrated network of international destinations enabling greater access for business and leisure travellers to Serbia.
The partnership between Etihad Airways and Air Serbia will be a very good example to encourage and attract foreign investments to Serbia, said Sasha Radulovic, Serbia Minister of Economy said at the opening ceremony. “This is the first healthy example of government partnership which is expected to bring huge returns on our economy,” he added.
“We have to put our history behind us and go forward with further development to boost the touristic sector and our economy in general,” Radulovic said.
According to the agreement, Etihad Airways will make available a $40 million loan facility which will be converted into equity on January 1, 2014, subject to regulatory approval. This will be matched by an equal funding injection by the Government of Serbia.
Etihad Airways and the Government of Serbia will also each provide further funding through shareholder loans and other funding mechanisms of up to $60 million to meet working capital requirements and support network development for the newly created Air Serbia.
Dane Kondic, CEO of Air Serbia, said that the new experience that the national Serbian airways will get form their partnership with Eithad Airways will be an adding value to their customers, tourism and economy.
“Today, the new identity of Air Serbia is marking new era in Serbian airways business and tourism industry,” he added.
Economic ties between the two countries, valued at £23.3 million in 2012, three times greater than in 2011, continue to expand with a number of key government agreements signed in recent months which will see investments in agriculture, defence, technology, and tourism.
The event was attended by a big gathering from the Serbia government, Etihad Airways representative, industry and media professionals.