No go for Turkey’s airport ambitionsExclusive news, published by EX-YU aviation news on Tuesday, that Turkey has offered to buy Jat Airways if it is granted ownership over Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport has made it to the front page of Serbia’s most read newspaper “Blic”. According to the Serbian daily, the Serbian Government has rejected the offer as it does not want to sell one of its most profitable companies, Belgrade Airport, which turned a profit of 21.5 million Euros in 2010. Sources close to Jat believe that without the airport thrown into the deal, Turkish Airlines will end negotiations with the government. A source close to the airline said, “Turkish Airlines wanted Belgrade Airport a year ago as well. That means they want a new Jat and the airport. However, our government doesn’t want to sell a money maker and they will only try and make a new national carrier. I’m afraid this won’t be enough for the Turks. They are interested in the airport and the market, not Jat”. Similar claims have been made in regards to Turkish’s involvement with B&H Airlines, which it partially owns.
The Serbian Government hopes to sell Jat in either December 2011 or January 2012. However, Serbian media have reported that the government is mulling over a decision to call for early parliamentary elections to be held in mid December 2011, which would offset Jat’s sale. Scheduled parliamentary elections are set to take place in March 2012.
The government had already tried to sell Jat once, back in the summer of 2008, however not a single company bought the tender documentation. The government was offering 51% of Jat’s shares for a minimum price of 51 million Euros, with a possibility for the new owner to purchase up to 70% of the airline. Aeroflot, Air India, Icelandair and Turkish Airlines have all been marked as potential buyers at one point or another.