Its Etihad Airways Partners Shared Services unit will initially employ 200 Serbian nationals to handle reservation and ticketing services, including sales and loyalty programme account servicing, a statement from Etihad Aviation Group said.
James Hogan, the group’s president and chief executive, said the centre “will provide a wealth of efficiencies for each airline and allow them to compete effectively in an increasingly complex and competitive global marketplace”.
Etihad’s partner airlines include Air Serbia, Alitalia, airberlin and European carrier Etihad Regional. The group has been using its scale to find efficiencies, such as managing the airlines’ frequent-flyer programmes through a single company.
Etihad Aviation Group has also sought synergies through deals with other carriers and last month agreed a tie-up with Germany’s Lufthansa for catering and MRO services.
The Belgrade facility was officially opened yesterday by Aleksandar Vucic, the Serbian prime minister.
The facility, at the Airport City business park in New Belgrade, will perform contact centre and loyalty operations in Europe for Etihad Airways, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles and Etihad Regional before expanding to support Alitalia and airberlin.
Headcount will be increased to about 685 staff by 2020 when the facility is forecast to handle more than 4.4 million calls.
Mr Vucic, at the opening, said the centre “is another example of successful foreign investment in Serbia.
“The fact that this centre is being established right here in Belgrade demonstrates the confidence that renowned international companies such as Etihad have in our country and workforce.”
Etihad operates three contact centres in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and one in Manchester.