First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and Director of Etihad Airways James Hogan signed today the Agreement on strategic partnership between Jat Airways and the United Arab Emirates-based Etihad Airways, with which Serbia got a new national airline Air Serbia.
In his address, which preceded the signing of the agreement in the Hyatt Regency hotel, which was also attended by Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, Vucic said that this is an important day for Serbia because the Serbian aircraft will be placed on the runway for take-off, while the deal with Etihad will give it technological and business environment in which 30 million passengers will get a reliable carrier to major European and international destinations.
He emphasised that Serbia must justify confidence, since its work as of today will be measured by the criteria of the most developed part of the world.
The First Deputy Prime Minister thanked the foreign partners for their confidence in the ability of our flight personnel, air mechanics and all others who work in Jat Airways, and reiterated that it is up to us to justify that trust.
On the other hand, Jat Airways also deserves appreciation for having the wisdom and maturity to recognise the new vision of the company and our country.
Vucic also thanked the officials of the Serbian government who brought about the signing of this contract, including the recent Minister of Finance and Economy Mladjan Dinkic.
A special gratitude goes to Sheikh Mohammed, whose vision and wish for Serbia to be stronger, more modern and successful helped to implement this project, Vucic said.
According to the First Deputy Prime Minister, this is the first great undertaking out of several planned by which we will introduce techology to Serbia because we have faith in our people and a wish to make a system which has not existed so far.
Together we will make great results, he underlined and stated that the planes of Air Serbia will fly long, high and safe on their own wings.
Hogan confirmed that Air Serbia will receive 10 Airbus aircraft by the end of the year and employ 50 pilots, and that €40 million will be invested in that company.
He pointed out that the joint company, which will have three managers from Etihad, will immediately take on lease two Airbus 319, and eight more should be taken by the end of the year.
The Director of Etihad said that Air Serbia will be the safest airline, which will make Serbia the leader of the region by the end of the year and will become the most powerful company in the radius of countries with nearly 100 million people.
Hogan underlined that Etihad wants to turn Belgrade into the hub of the entire Balkans.
We would not be here if we did not believe that Air Serbia has a bright future. We have set clear goals of profitability and this is a great day not only for Air Serbia, but for Etihad too, Hogan said.
With the agreement signed, Etihad purchased 49% of Jat Airways and the state, with 51% share, will remain the majority owner of the national airline with the new name Air Serbia.
Director of Air Serbia will be Dane Kondic, originally from Serbia, who received education and built his career in Australia.
Source Serbian Government