Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Turkey issues new Jat offer

Turkey wants Belgrade Airport to sweeten the deal
Turkish Airlines has in the past year denied claims that it has any interest in purchasing the struggling Serbian carrier, Jat Airways. However, after the Serbian Prime Minister met with his counterpart in Turkey 2 weeks ago, an offer has been issued, sources close to the airline say. Turkish Airlines is interested in purchasing Jat only if Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport is part of the package. The Turks want Serbia’s main airport to be sold to a Turkish airport operator, strengthening Turkey’s position in the region.

The Turkish company TAV Holdings already runs both Skopje and Ohrid airports and has shown interest in bidding for the construction of Zagreb Airport’s new terminal. Furthermore, another Turkish company, Limak Holding, partly runs Priština Airport and has expressed interest to purchase Airports of Montenegro, which manages both Podgorica and Tivat. Turkey has also shown interest in investing into Serbia’s newest airport, under construction in Kraljevo. On the other hand, Turkish Airlines owns 49% of B&H Airlines with hopes to buy out the rest of the company.

Whether the Serbian government is keen on selling one of the country’s most successful, publically owned companies (Belgrade Airport), together with Jat remains to be seen. Airports are considered a key part of a country’s infrastructure and recent moves to privatise airports in Montenegro have been met with strong opposition. The Serbian Government has announced it will create a new national airline together with a strategic partner which will take over Jat’s aircraft, operations, employees and agreements, minus the debt. However, parties which make up the governing coalition in the country are still divided on Jat’s privatisation model. The government is determined to sell part of the airline by the end of the year.


  1. I guess if they sell Telekom they will have no problem selling these two to the Turks!

    How nice, this government has made Serbia a banana republic!

  2. The question here for Serbia is:

    Do you want to compete with TK and IST for the regional leader, in my eyes JU and BEG do not have a hint of a chance or wouldn t it be smarter to accept the turks to take over the control, to rebuild JU and BEG to healthy companies in the longterm and to become a second but much smaller hub besides IST.

    See Zurich and LH. The Swiss were so worried about LH buying Swiss and close down all the intercontinental routes ex ZRH. The opposite happened. LH knew exactly that all the traffic volumes today is too much for just one or two hubs. ZRH is back long time, last year with the all time record for passenger figures and LX is expanding it s network (last year with SFO) and getting more and more new longhaul planes.

    A similar situation I could see for BEG and JU. Therefore I welcome the Turks very much..

  3. Umm hell no are they selling the airport. What this move shows is Turkish having absolutely no interest in Jat, they want the airports!

  4. This deal is out of mind.
    BEG, inspite of being 85% in hands of Govt, is self-sufficient for growth and development, financial figures are saying.
    Contrary to that, JU is not.
    So, if one makes math over the issue (currently BEG`s market cap is less than 200m euros), resulting figure is obviously positive to TK and negative to SRB.
    Obviously, finacially, this is not zero game. Not even needed to introduce infrastracture aspect to the story.
    Having in mind that there are elections in SRB end`11/beginning `12, I doubt that deal may be realized.

  5. I hope our Government will never approve such deal,.....to sell Airport Nikola Tesla to TAV.

    I have experienced TAV services at SKP & OHD airports (aircraft and passenger handling) and with my 23 year in aviation business I can say TAV just collecting profit providing minimal services which is totally

  6. What is the SOURCE for this article?

  7. The Binbir Gece (1001 Noc) effect on the Balkans coming our way...

  8. @ Peter

    Spot on. JAT is worthless in its present form with high debt and aged aircraft, those airports (especially on a long-term concession) are a goldmine in comparison.

    Am I the only one that seems to see this business stealth from the two former 'overlords' in current ex-YU (Germany/Austria and Turkey) gobbling up as much infrastructure and business projects in these newly-independent countries as possible? Gaining what they had previously lost? And what can be done to stop it?

  9. The airport will go to those who pay the best bakshish!

  10. no to Turks. you see what they did to B&H Airlines. company is i total disarray. they start a route, and then after few months they stop it.
    and plus, BEG operates to good to be sold

  11. Veliki uporno zezaju maleMarch 29, 2011 at 3:09 PM


    You are wrong. It is not stealth, it is open and obvious and the politicians in all of the ex-yu are selling out to them at a fraction of the true value. The only thing that can be done to stop it is for the people to get fed up and act, but we are more likely to turn on each other. The politicians preach nationalism and ethnic pride to blind the people with hate while they take money from the colonial powers.

    I am not Serbian, but this deal is obviously not in the best interest due to the success of the airport.

  12. Well this makes perfect sense. Serbia claiming Turkish wants JAT, Turkey claiming it made no such offer. Then this shit comes out. Serbia should not take this deal.

    1) Turkey has always had interest in controlling Serbia both politically and economically. They are trying to economically tighten their grip on what was once the Ottoman Empire. I know this might sound crazy to some, but in the Balkans, it is all about control of economies and politics. This is because it is the central crossroads in Europe, thus of great value. Turkey is not a good friend of Serbia and will try to promote itself wherever possible. They invested huge amounts of money in Sandzak, and what they created was roads, mosques, and a Turkish learning center. Who the fuck needs that?!

    2) JAT can find another airline caretaker, or just go bankrupt. At this point, even if JAT goes bankrupt, all of its routes are covered by other airlines. Fewer people are going with JAT due to safety concerns. I'd rather the airline go bankrupt than to give it to Turks along with the most successful ex-Yu airport. Even if JAT goes bankrupt, another carrier would replace it.

    3) JAT is part of Serbia which is only going to rise in business and tourist popularity. BEG is already rising extremely fast and is only predicted to continue this rise. More passengers means more market and more market means more opportunities for other bigger airlines. Aeroflot, LH, and maybe even other airlines will take interest in the Serbian market, and there is nothing better than to establish a carrier airline for a rising country.

    4) The airport is too successful. BEG is going to build another runway, expand T2 and upgrade T1, with those investments, the airport is establishing room for it to boom. Turkey will only get the goods that come later. The deal would be solely in Turkey's interest, not Serbia's.

    Final verdict: Serbia should NOT sell the airport. selling JAT is even going too far, but manageable. But the airport is already undergoing many investments and is positioning itself to be a real contender for a regional transport hub, and Turkey would only get the results of the investments and not invest so much itself.

  13. This move is out of the question. Of all people why would we sell our businesses to the Turks. Provitisation in the long term is not the way forwards. Serbia has been selling of its companies to a point where we have no domestic production. If this trend continues we will liquidate as a country. We need to protect our economy from agressors aiming to monopolise their economies across the Balkans, Turkey has been tring to do this for a long time in Sandzak, Kosovo, Federacija and now they are moving into Republika Srpska, Serbia and Montenegro. HANDS OFF

  14. Interesting analyses. I agree that this deal would never be in Serbia's interests. sell JAT at most, but not beyond that. Turkey has not done anything but promote Islam in the Balkans and call for deterioration of Serbia.

    Even history has proven Turkey takes great interest in conquering Serbia one way or another. Before it was territorially, now it is economically. Keep Turkey out of Serbia! Our ancestors died trying to get Serbia out of their hands, and giving it back to them would only destroy their memory and dignity.

  15. I certainly agree with all of these comments in regards to selling off Jat and Beg airport to the Turks. This would be an insult to the dignity of the Serbs. Turkey has never had any positive impacts on the Serbian people. Recently during a visit to Republika Srpska their minister asked for the RS flag to be removed, additionally they have asked for an Islamic centre to be developed in Serbia. Despite public discontent the Serbian government went ahead with this proposal and guess what the Turks began complaining AGAIN that it was too isolated. Excuse me but we are not going to build it on top of Kalemegdan in the centre of BEG. Like the anonymous at
    6;20 said Turks stay out of RS, SRB and MNE.

  16. If the price is right, why not!

    People are expressing opinions without the slightest clue of details of the deal, based solely on patriotic sentiment.

    Belgrade's 'crossroads position' is highly overrated. Cross-road to where?

    @ 1st Anonymus

    By your account, UK is also Banana republic, as Government doesn't own any of the largest airports except for Manchester, which is owned by councils.

    By chelica2

  17. IsThereGreenpeaceInTheBalkansMarch 29, 2011 at 9:34 PM


    I've read a few of your posts and you frighten me, a lot! I thought talking sensibly and being from/related to Balkans is a contradiction in terms.

    It must be all that air pollution in London that is corrupting your brain, filling it full of sensibility.

  18. No way they should sell the airport to anyone at the moment, especially not to TAV. It is a profitable, healthy company, investing most of its profit into own growth and development.

    With Jat they can do whatever they find appropriate.

  19. It has nothing to do with ancestors. Why would this be better if Iceland came in and bought the airport for way under the true value?

    What does it matter which country is ripping you off? You shouldn't let anyone do that, not even brother Russia. Don't be stupid, none of these countries cares about the people of the ex-yu, they care about their own economic interests and they are using our stupidity to play us all like puppets against each other. Wake the hell up!!!

  20. @IsThereGreenpeaceInTheBalkans

    Please argue against my specific opinion, rather than resorting to generic insults using worn out stereotype.

    Absolutely, nothing constructive in your post.


  21. IsThereGreenpeaceInTheBalkansMarch 29, 2011 at 10:35 PM


    Please read my post again. I agreed with you :)

    I found your argument chillingly sensible, that's all I tried to say. Maybe I should be less sarcastic in the future, my bad.

  22. @IsThereGreenpeaceInTheBalkans


  23. What BEG has to do with JU?! This would be ridiculous and outraging and makes no economy sense! BEG, in a way, to pay JU non-market-enormous-debt-making-spoiled-behavior!? Yet, politicians here can't surprise me though!

  24. I would expect that TK and TAV are separate entities. How would selling BEG to TAV add value to TK? It is not clear to me whether TAV is state-owned. Meanwhile, the Turkish state owns approximately 49 percent of the airline while the remainder is publicly traded. What annoys me is the Serbian government; Turkey is not in the EU, so why is Serbia considering a non-EU partner in the airline business? There is a clear disconnect in logic here.

    In my opinion Jat Airways and most public companies should be privatized, however, not at the expense of the tax payer. Tax payer investment (and public debt) went into establishing state firms, it is absurd to sell them (and give up their market share) without considering what the companies would be worth had they been run rationally.

    Lastly, I see no strategic interest that TK could bring to Jat Airways and Serbia. Jat should not exist if it is to become a feeder service for TK. IST is too close to BEG to add value to the Serbian airline industry. My sentiment would be the same for other "close" cities such as VIE, BUD, FCO, etc. In my opinion the best partner for Jat is a major EU player that is "farthest" from home, such as AF-KLM/CDG, AF-KLM/AMS, BA/LHR. Besides how hard is it for an airline to turn a profit if it is starting with valuable slots at the biggest European airports, a solid fleet, growing market potential and no assumed debt!? Opinions???

  25. JAT should merge with Aeroflot to make Sky Slavica and BEG should be included in the deal to a Russian consortium. They will protect our interests. They truly care for our wellbeing. We can include Sky Srpska; that will seal the deal!

  26. Aleks Nikolic USAMarch 30, 2011 at 3:15 AM

    last anonymous ^

    that would be real good.. and make Belgrade a hub of-course and have intercontinental flights from there.. idk how they would do the logo though? i dont know.. i think Serbia needs a national carrier..

  27. This would be good, and then someone can knock some sense in them Serbs.

  28. 1 - I don't think that the TK requested, Serbia to sell BEG. All of the airports operated by Turkish airport operators (TAV, Limak, ICF) are long term rental basis, not the acquisition.
    What is wrong with the long term rental see SAW second airport in Istanbul. Limak paid more than 3 bn $ for the airport rental, and doubled the passenger number each year. You can see statistics from Wikipedia.
    Similarly, you can see what TAV did in Enfida airport in Tunisia. In 2007 there was nothing in the airport area, now one of the best airports of the North Africa.
    Rental conditions can be discussed, but I don't think that any of the Turkish airport operators will prefer to own BEG airport.
    2 - TK interests in the region is a chance for ex-yu aviation. Hope they manage to form a regional airline covering all ex-yu. SAS is a good example for the region, all these small national carriers have no chance to survive long by themselves. With a shareholder like TK good examples OS or LX, without a shareholder the best example A3.
    3 - This is a win-win case, if all parts wins than no problem.
    4 - Serbian people also benefit from this agreement, sample is TK's Low Cost subsidiary Anadolujet, what ex-yu region needs.

  29. I have been flying TK and been landing in IST airport 3 times in the past 10 years. The airport looked shabby just 2 years upon opening. Buidling materials like walls and the windows looked very tired and somehow "do-it-yourself" put together....
    TK is not very good too and has a very bad safety record. Best would be if a spanish consortium would take over BEG airport. For JAT? Seriously no clue, but maybe the Russians were best option.

  30. Turkish Airlines is also starting a VisaFree marketing campaign in the ex-yu


  31. Jat needs to be sold soon. I would rather the government sell Jat now, and use the money to establish another national airline. Serbian Airways, for example, something that can start from scratch.

    And I too do not think that TA wanted to buy the airport. This is Turkey itself trying to flex its muscles on Serbia. Like someone already said, our ancestors fought off the Turks time and time again, and it would ruin their memories by giving one of our economic primes to the Turks.

    We do not have to sell all our successful enterprises to be called a Democratic country.

    There needs to be a coup in Serbia soon so that we can have actual leaders and not bullshitters in suites pretending to do good.

  32. I use TK regularly (5-6 times per year) and they are great. They have great service, new airplanes and connecting via IST Ataturk is smooth (yet very expensive). Would prefer them over other *A airlines specially for the long haul flights.

  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. why doesnt BEG just buy out Jat?

  35. ^ why would they want to?


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