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Nov 14, 2017 13:49 EEST
November 14 (SeeNews) - Etihad Airways, owner of a 49% stake in Air Serbia, has no plans to exit "any of the existing equity partnerships at this stage" despite a recent upheaval, the CEO of the United Arab Emirates flag carrier, Peter Baumgartner, has said.
Etihad intends to increase its focus on its directly-provided services but has no plans of disposing of equity investments, Baumgartner said in an interview for Dubai-based daily The National on Monday.
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"Another part of our renewed focus is the point-to-point markets, which is the direct traffic, because this is the more lucrative traffic with a high price sensitive flow through Abu Dhabi," Baumgartner said.
Earlier this year, two of the European airlines in which Etihad Airways holds stakes, Alitalia and Air Berlin, entered insolvency procedures, which stirred media speculation about a possible disposal of equity investments.
"From a shareholder perspective, Alitalia and Air Berlin have not been unimportant, but let’s not forget we have over 50 codeshare partners, many of whose commercial operations benefit Etihad. We have always been a business that has been built on partnerships, so there is life beyond Air Berlin and Alitalia," Baumgartner said.
In 2013, Etihad Airways signed a strategic partnership deal to acquire 49% of then state-owned Serbian carrier JAT Airways while getting 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%.
In Europe, Etihad Airways also holds a majority stake in Austrian low-cost airline Niki.
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