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The UAE's Etihad Airways says it has government approval for 49 percent Air Serbia stake

Gulf-based carrier Etihad Airways says it has received regulatory approval from the government of Serbia for its 49 percent stake in the Balkan country's national carrier, Air Serbia.

The United Arab Emirates' national carrier Etihad said Tuesday in a statement that its initial loan to Air Serbia of $40 million will now be converted to equity. Eithad had announced a $200 million plan to rebrand Air Serbia in August.

Etihad also owns stakes in Air Berlin, Air Seychelles, Ireland's Aer Lingus and India's Jet Airways. The airline is waiting for regulatory approval for a 33.3 percent shareholding in Darwin Airline, a regional carrier based in Switzerland.

Etihad, which was set up in 2003 and is based out of Abu Dhabi, is one of three major Gulf airlines.