Air Serbia will survive even if Etihad Airways pulls out of the partnership with the Serbian national carrier, President Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday.
“I would like it if Etihad did not leave Air Serbia and I hope it won’t,” Vucic said. He said Air Serbia is much better than JAT Airways [the airline of the former Yugoslavia which Serbia inherited]. “Air Serbia is incomparably better for passengers and that is reflected in the fact that it has double the number of travellers,” Vucic told a reporter for the Insajder investigative portal.
The Serbian government has a 51 percent share of Air Serbia with Etihad Airways of the United Arab Emirates holding 49 percent.
Insajder said its journalists have found that Etihad signed a contract to lease aircraft with crews to Air Serbia at a fixed cost of 3,137 Dollars a flight hour and a guaranteed minimum of 415 flight hours per aircraft a month which former JAT executives said was very unfavorable for the Serbian carrier.