Sly Srpska left in the cold in favour of JatThe government of the entity of Repubilka Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina will pay Jat Airways four million Euros over the upcoming 2012 summer season to operate flights from Banja Luka to Belgrade and Vienna. Sky Srpska, the Banja Luka based airline which is still without aircraft of its own, is unhappy with the deal as it means it will not get its own jet until at least the 2012/2013 winter season. “We are very surprised. We nominated Sky Srpska to operate the flights from Banja Luka and now we hear that Jat will operate the service”, Zoran Injac, Sky Srpska’s CEO, said. “It’s completely irrational”, he adds.
The government on the other hand says its agreement with Jat is a done deal. “We have a few technical details to sort out. We need to obtain all necessary licenses from the Civil Aviation Authorities of Serbia and Austria”, the Minister for Traffic and Infrastructure, Nenad Čubrilović, says. He notes that 8 million Convertible Bosnian Marks (just over 4 million Euros) will be provided in subsidies for the service. Although flight details haven’t been revealed yet sources close to the airline say it has been suggested for the service to operate two to three times per week with an ATR72. The additional flights could impact Jat’s plans to launch flights to Pula and Split in the summer of 2012.
Despite a helpless Sky Srpska, it is believed the government concluded that it would cost less to subsidise the flights from Belgrade instead of having to pay not only for an aircraft lease or purchase but also for air crew and other staff in what is still a very small market. During the year, the government of Repubilka Srpska subsidised Adria Airways’ flight from Ljubljana which saw only an average of five passengers per flight. Once the subsidies dried out, Adria suspended the service.