Air Serbia has settled all of its remaining obligations towards EA Partners I in the amount of $57.62 million on the basis of a long-term loan taken in 2015, which matured today, 28 September.
The Serbian national airline expresses great satisfaction with the fact that it managed to provide the funds for the payment of liabilities independently, thanks to responsible business before the coronavirus pandemic, as well as extensive austerity measures at all levels in the greatest crisis in the history of civil aviation caused by the pandemic. Despite these circumstances and the fact that it could not operate commercial passenger flights from mid-March to the second half of May, the company has continued to regularly settle all its obligations towards creditors and suppliers at home and abroad. On the other hand, the fact is that the situation is still very complex and that air traffic in Europe and the world is recovering much more slowly than expected. This is why Air Serbia will continue having active talks with its strategic partners, including creditors and strategic suppliers, in good faith that a solution acceptable to all can be reached through negotiations.
Over the last seven years, since it commenced operations under its current name, Air Serbia has delivered an extremely large expansion in all areas, with the improvement of key indicators. After the restructuring, which was possible thanks to the funds from this loan as well, the company recorded its biggest expansion last year, in 2019, carrying a record 2.81 million passengers and flying to as many as 23 new destinations in just one year and launching operations from two new airports in Serbia – Ni? and Kraljevo. During the first months of 2020, Air Serbia continued to grow, so in January and February, the number of passengers carried increased more than 20 percent, year over year. After the start of the recommencement of traffic on 21 May this year, the company remained focused on gradually increasing the intensity of operations where possible, while protecting the health of passengers and employees.
"The payment of this loan is proof of sound and responsible management of Air Serbia before and during the crisis, and during the recovery from the consequences of the pandemic. The Serbian national airline will remain committed to the interests of its shareholders, employees and passengers and will take all measures necessary to protect the company and ensure its successful development. During the suspension of commercial passenger traffic, Air Serbia started a series of programs aimed at working with business partners, implementing austerity measures and maintaining liquidity, as well as improving business processes and services for our passengers. All these programs will continue to be delivered," said Duncan Naysmith, CEO of Air Serbia. He added that he "thanks all partners, competent institutions and employees for their co-operation in the remedial actions from the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, and that community cooperation is crucial, as we are stronger together."
During the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic faced by the entire country, Air Serbia reacted immediately and gave its full contribution, making all its resources available to the Republic of Serbia and its citizens. During the state of emergency, but also after it, Air Serbia transported thousands of Serbian citizens who found themselves stranded at airports around the world at the time of the crisis via evacuation and repatriation flights. In addition, with special cargo flights, the national airline delivered tons of necessary medical aid and equipment from all parts of the world.