No deal for new national airlineBaltic Aviation Systems (BAS) has officially confirmed it will not join the Serbian government in the creation of a new national carrier, just over a week after its chief, Vladimir Antonov, is arrested for fraud and money laundering in London. Baltic Aviation Systems, which is a part owner of Latvia’s airBaltic, was the only airline to purchase the tender documentation. It marks the second failure to find a strategic partner for Jat Airways. During the first attempt, which took place at the start of the global financial crisis in 2008, the process also ended in failure without a single company purchasing the tender documents.
The Serbian Ministry for Infrastructure says it will now revise its plans for Jat. In a press release last Friday it said that Jat’s privatisation advisor will now decide whether a new Jat should be created or whether the Serbian carrier should be kept in its current form, although a large scale restructuring process within the company should take place. At this point the latter seems more likely. The government says a decision will be made very soon, before the end of the year.
Jat, which has recorded a 20% passenger increase this year, has already released part of its 2012 summer season timetable which will see the introduction of many new routes and big frequency increases across its network. It raises the question as to how Jat can operate all of these flights with its current fleet. Earlier in the year, the airline’s management stated that Jat will need new aircraft at the start of 2012 in order to operate normally.