Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airway has lowered its stake in Air Serbia from 49% to 18% as the Serbian state has bought and increased the stake in the national carrier. The government of Serbia has paid $120 million to increase its stake in Air Serbia. The state share has grown to 82% from 51%, which was a bold measure to mitigate the covid-19 global pandemic effect where the airline and tourism industry is hard hit. In 2013 both airlines have started their joint partnership but at the end of 2020 Dec, both airlines have now permanently suspended flights to their cities. Etihad has sold much of its share in Air Serbia, and their code-sharing network has ended after this deal.
“We are pleased the Serbian government has reinvested in the future of the airline. Etihad continues to work closely with Air Serbia, while we respond to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 crisis on our own business.” an Etihad spokesperson said.
Etihad Airways’ core operating loss deepened to $758 million in the first half of the year as passenger traffic fell by nearly 60% due to the pandemic. Tourism and aviation are the worst-hit sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Etihad once used to compete with major Gulf carriers Like Emirates, Qatar Airways. But its strategy of buying stakes in other airlines did not yield much. It has been 4 years before 2020 that the airline is in huge loss.