Abu Dhabi-based Etihad is in talks with Serbian flag-carrier JAT Airways to expand its codeshare agreement signed Monday.
The move would potentially solve a major problem for JAT, which has struggled for several years to find a new investor.
In a brief statement, Etihad said it was “in discussions with JAT Airways executives to explore potential commercial cooperation opportunities between the two airlines.”
The development came as Etihad signed a codeshare agreement with JAT in Belgrade and said it planned to start daily nonstop flights from Abu Dhabi from June 15. Etihad will employ a 106-seat Airbus A319 on the route.
JAT will place its JU code on the new service, as well as add 21 destinations to Etihad’s network. In return, Etihad will place its EY code on 23 of JAT’s European flights. The agreement is subject to government and regulatory approvals.
Etihad president and CEO James Hogan and JAT’s CEO Vladimir Ognjenović said the move would improve links to the Serbian diaspora, particularly in the US and Australia.
As part of Monday’s announcement, JAT will also place its code on several flights operated by Etihad’s equity partner, Air Berlin. One aspect of this will be the provision of a link for passengers from Belgrade to Chicago via Berlin. There will also be a link over Abu Dhabi to Sydney and Melbourne.
Etihad’s plan to take an equity stake in India’s Jet Airways may be delayed beyond August, according to a Reuters report citing unidentified sources. The news agency said that Etihad, which is reportedly planning to take a 24% stake in Jet, had unspecified concerns over the need “to protect its potential investment.”
An Etihad spokesperson said the carrier “continues to progress discussions about further investment in Jet Airways.”