N1 has received documents showing that Eithad Airways refused a request to write off a large part of Air Serbia’s debt to that company.
According to those documents, Air Serbia’s business partner Etihad is demanding the repayment of all debts in line with agreements. “The management board feels that Air Serbia’s proposal to reduce the amount which was set in a loan contract by 82 percent is unacceptable,” the documents said.
A separate document ordered Etihad Airways partners to inform Air Serbia in writing that they reject the proposal and that Air Serbia is expected to repay its debts on time in line with deadlines set in the loan agreement.
Air Serbia asked for 82 percent of the debt to be written off twice in May and again in July claiming that its operations were in jeopardy because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Etihad documents shows that Air Serbia needs to have a debt of 120 million Dollars written off to continue operating.
N1 tried to confirm the authenticity of the documents by contacting Etihad Airways but got no response.
Etihad Airways entered into a strategic partnership with Air Serbia’s predecessor JAT Airways in August 2013 giving the company from the United Arab Emirates a 49 percent share in the Serbian national air carrier with the remaining 51 percent remaining in the hands of the government. Air Serbia leases Airbus aircraft from Etihad. The company is governed by an Executive Board led by CEO, Duncan Naysmith, a Supervisory Board chaired by Finance Minister Sinisa Mali and a Shareholders Assembly.