x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Where next for Etihad?

Etihad Airways is expected to make a new route announcement and codeshare agreement with Serbia's JAT Airways during a press conference to be held in the Serbian capital Belgrade.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways Chief Executive officer, will deliver a live press conference today. Paulo Vecina / The National
James Hogan, Etihad Airways Chief Executive officer, will deliver a live press conference today. Paulo Vecina / The National

Etihad Airways is expected to make a new route announcement and codeshare agreement with Serbia's JAT Airways during a press conference to be held in the Serbian capital Belgrade this afternoon.

JAT currently operates 10 ageing Boeing 737-300s and four ATR 72-200 turboprop aircraft on 30 routes within Europe and to the Middle East. However, the current European financial crisis has left the airline in need of government support.

The Serbian government said last month it was prepared to assume 170 million euros ($218.6 million) of JAT debt, pay leases for six new aircraft from Airbus and secure severance payments for redundant workers.

There has been speculation, fuelled by Serbia's finance minister Mladjan Dinkic last month, that Etihad is interested in a long-term partnership in which it would take a 49 per cent stake. Etihad has declined to comment.

This press conference is scheduled to start at 1pm UAE time today.