BELGRADE (Serbia), April 30 (SeeNews) - Serbia may acquire the 49% stake in the capital of flag carrier Air Serbia owned by Etihad Airways, in order to gain full control of the company, infrastructure minister Zorana Mihajlovic said on Thursday.
The government may start talks with Etihad to acquire its stake in the company and support the flag carrier in overcoming the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Mihajlovic said in a video file posted on the website of private broadcaster TV Prva.
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"We will see whether there will be a purchase of some additional aircraft, we may discuss whether we can buy the Etihad shares. There are several options," Mihajlovic said.
The coronavirus outbreak has caused direct damage of 30 million euro ($32.6 million) to Air Serbia and the amount may double by the end of 2020, she added.
Air Serbia suspended the operation of its regular flights on March 20, shortly after the government declared a state of emergency in the country over the coronavirus outbreak. The first available date for the purchase of tickets for Air Serbia flights is now May 18.
In 2013, Etihad Airways signed a deal to acquire a 49% stake in JAT Airways, a company wholly owned by the Serbian government. Under the strategic partnership agreement Etihad was granted a five-year contract to run the airline and rebrand it to Air Serbia in October of the same year. The Serbian government owns the remaining 51% of Air Serbia.
($ = 0.920369 euro)