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Adria Airways files complaint with EU about state aid to Air Serbia - report

Author Radomir Ralev
Adria Airways files complaint with EU about state aid to Air Serbia - report Author: Air Serbia. License: All rights reserved.

BELGRADE (Serbia), June 14 (SeeNews) – Slovenia's Adria Airways has filed a complaint against flag carrier Air Serbia with European Union (EU) institutions about alleged illegal state aid by the Serbian government, local media reported..

"Adria Airways is worried about the aid that Serbia illegally provided to Air Serbia and considers such a move to be unfair as it leads to violation of free market competition," news portal Insajder quoted on Thursday lawyer Dragan Gajin as saying. 

The support to Air Serbia violates both the country's state aid regulations and the international obligations that Serbia has under the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, Gajin said.

In April 2018, Adria Airways contacted the Serbian state aid control commission, but has received no reply to date, he added. 

Etihad Airways signed in 2013 a deal to acquire 49% of then state-owned Serbia's JAT Airways. Under the strategic partnership contract Etihad was granted a five-year management contract for the airline and rebranding it to Air Serbia in October of the same year. The Serbian government owns the remaining 51%.

Under the agreement, the Serbian government committed to provide grants to support the stabilisation of the company until 2016. However, according to Serbian media reports, the government continued financing Air Serbia from the state budget after the agreed deadline. In 2017 alone, the government provided a financing of 12 million euro ($13.5 million) to Air Serbia.

($ = 0.8875 euro)