Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and JatAirways are discussing an equity investment in the Serbian national carrier, they announced on 17 June following the signing of a memorandum of understanding.

In April, Reuters reported that Etihad was eyeing a 49 per cent stake, as Serbia has been trying without success to offload the loss-making airline for years.

The two airlines will discuss collaborative efforts to further integrate their networks and help JatAirways achieve efficiencies, build revenue and reduce costs, a statement by Etihad said.

“As we have demonstrated with our minority equity investments in other airlines, significant ongoing savings can be achieved through joint initiatives,” said James Hogan, president and chief executive officer of Etihad Airways. “These include pilot and crew training, fuel, insurance, and procurement and maintenance agreements for common engine types.”

It is also planning a codeshare with Air Berlin and JatAirways, which will link Belgrade, via Berlin, to Chicago, which has a strong Serbian community. The initial agreement will see JatAirways place its JU code on Etihad’s Abu Dhabi-Belgrade flights, which launched in June, and will add its code to 21 destinations on the Etihad Airways’ network. In return, Etihad Airways will place its EY code on 23 of JatAirways’ European flights.