Status quo to be upheld at Jat until 2012
The tender call to find an interested partner to create a successor national carrier to Jat Airways ended today. The tender began on August 1 and was extended on September 30 for another month. Not a single company purchased the tender documentation. The Minister for Infrastructure, Milutin Mrkonjić, said yesterday that a solution for Jat’s problems will be found by the end of 2011 and that 1.300 of the airline’s employees shouldn’t worry about their livelihoods. According to the minister, two large companies are interested in taking over Jat Airways, one of which is airBaltic from Latvia which bought the tender documentation. Over the past two months, it has also been rumoured that AZAL Airlines from Azerbaijan considered participating in the tender. However, the Azeris might be interested only through direct negotiations with the government.
As a result, the current situation in Jat, or the status quo, will be upheld until the end of the year. The entire tender procedure cost the government millions while the consultant company used in the process (said to have close ties with the government) was also paid a hefty sum. It is not the first time that a consultant company has been paid to advise Jat on its future.
The Minister for Infrastructure did not reveal the names of those companies interested in taking over the Serbian state carrier (with the exception of airBaltic), saying instead that by the end of the year it will be revealed where Jat is “heading towards”. He added that talks between the government and potential investors will be “flexible”. Last week at an economic summit, Mrkonjić pleaded for airlines from Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey to participate in the tender. airBaltic, the only airline to answer the tender call filed for bankruptcy last month.