airBaltic intends to buy Jat tender documentationThe Latvian flag carrier and low cost airline airBaltic has become the first company to show interest to purchase the tender documentation for the creation of a successor airline to Jat Airways. The Government of Latvia recently bailed out airBaltic which was on the brink of bankruptcy. As a result, experts believe that behind this interest stands another company which is using airBaltic so as not to reveal itself. airBaltic is not a member of any alliance and is owned by the Latvian government. However, it previously shared strong ties with SAS Scandinavian Airlines as it was partially owned by the three-state national airline.
It should be noted that airBaltic hasn’t actually bought the tender documentation as some Serbian media yesterday reported, instead only showed “interest” in doing so. The eventual purchase of the tender documentation does not mean that airBaltic will put in an offer. The deadline for the submission of offers is in just over 2 weeks and many have already declared the privatisation attempt as a failure. Last year, when Montenegro Airlines was up for sale up to 3 companies purchased the tender documentation although no one submitted an offer.
airBaltic has been operating flights from its base in Riga to Belgrade on and off for the past 2 years. If no one submits an offer to create a successor national carrier to Jat together with the Serbian government, Jat Airways will stay in its current form as the national flag carrier. It is believed that if the tender fails a new one will be open to find a professional CEO for the company, free of political ties and links. The government wouldn’t attempt to sell Jat again in the near future as scheduled parliamentary elections are to take place in the spring of 2012.