Serbia's JAT gets marketing alliance with UAE's Etihad Airways

Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:50am EDT
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* Deal stops short of equity stake Serbia had hoped for

* JAT, Etihad to team up on flights

* Etihad to start flights from Belgrade on June 15

By Aleksandar Vasovic

BELGRADE, April 15 (Reuters) - Serbia's loss-making JAT Airways has secured a marketing alliance with Gulf airline Etihad Airways to share route-booking codes, stopping short of the equity tie-up mooted by Serbia's government.

Mired in recession and struggling to find investors in the crisis-hit European Union, Serbia had hoped Abu Dhabi-based Etihad would buy a stake in JAT, with media reports suggesting 49 percent was up for sale.

Etihad Chief Executive James Hogan told a news conference on Monday that any investment could be a long way off.

"We have to look at JAT to see if that opportunity exists. It is still a very early stage of that process."

JAT will add its JU code to flights to 21 destinations within Etihad's network, while the Gulf airline will put its EY code on all 23 JAT flights to Europe, Hogan said.   Continued...