Jat - Airbus talks on December 10
Serbia’s national carrier Jat Airways is expected to finalise an agreement with the European plane manufacturer Airbus next Monday when the two sides meet in Belgrade. The agreement relates to the financial lease of four Airbus A319s and four ATR72-600s as well as the purchase of four Airbus A320s. However, changes to the proposed aircraft order could be made and will be discussed on December 10. The two sides will also negotiate cabin crew training and aircraft engine selection. Later in December Jat and Airbus are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding which will culminate with an official order in February 2013. The meeting will be attended by the newly formed task group which will oversee the restructuring of the national carrier and Airbus officials. A final agreement between Airbus and Jat will come almost fifteen years after the airline made an order for eight Airbus A319s which were never delivered.
On December 11, representatives of Lufthansa Consulting as well as Tasc Aviation from Dubai will arrive in Belgrade in hope of being chosen by the Serbian government to assist in Jat’s restructuring process. One of the consulting groups will advise Jat on its route network, fleet, workforce as well as code share and international agreements. Lufthansa Consulting, owned by German carrier Lufthansa, could be a questionable choice when advising on future destinations and code share agreements. On the other hand, Tasc Aviation is owned by Airbus.
The government is still undecided whether to pursue its original idea and create a successor national carrier or whether to simply restructure the existing company and write off its debt. However, sources close to the Serbian government say it more likely for Jat Airways to remain in its current form although it will go through a wide ranging restructuring process in order to return to profitability. The government has been backing away from its idea to launch a new national carrier after realising the difficulty such a move entails.