The agreement could be disastrous to the national carrier Jat Airways which will have to battle with more competition. The Serbian airline is unable to improve services until early next year when it should receive funds to purchase new aircraft. Jat has not commented on the Prime Minister’s comments regarding Open Skies. Open Skies will take effect some 3 months after it is ratified by parliament next week.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Open skies above Serbia
Jat’s domination in Belgrade could endThree years after Serbia signed the European Union Open Skies agreement, it will finally ratify the arrangement next week in parliament. The Open Skies will allow foreign carriers to begin services to Serbia without having to go through the current bureaucracy and would make Serbia’s Civil Aviation Agency powerless to stop carriers from flying to Serbia’s airports. Serbia’s Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković said that the ratification of the agreement would lead to greater competition and would therefore lower ticket prices for passengers but would also transform Serbia into an aviation hub. It is believed that Open Skies would lead to a greater number of low cost carriers to fly to Serbia although this is questionable as none have expressed interest. However, Open Skies would allow airlines such as Malev, Aegean Airlines and Adria Airways, which have been attempting to fly to Belgrade for many years, to start services. Open Skies would also end bilateral agreements between Serbia and European Union member countries. This means that if an agreement had been made between Serbia and another country (for example Slovenia) that only the national carriers can fly to each, these agreements will end.