Jat Airways to lease six new aircraft this summer
EX-YU Aviation News can exclusively reveal that the Serbian national carrier plans to lease six aircraft for the 2013 summer season. The task group in charge of restructuring Jat is discussing the proposal for the lease of new jets. Talks with Airbus, to settle the disputed 1998 order for eight A320s, is ongoing, although firm orders for new aircraft are unlikely to be made in time for summer. Jat is in urgent need of new jets as it will only be able to operate six Boeing 737-300s and two ATR72s this summer season, which is nowhere near enough to handle the amount of traffic planned.
A source close to the task group in charge of restructuring the Serbian carrier says Jat plans to lease two ATR72-500s and two Airbus A319s in March. In May the fleet will be bolstered by a further two Airbus A320s. As a result, the airline will operate a fleet of fourteen aircraft during the peak summer season - four ATR72s, six Boeing 737-300s, two A319s and two A320s. Such a fleet would allow Jat to operate its planned summer season timetable which will see frequency increases, including two daily flights to Paris. During the 2012 summer season the airline struggled with its fleet shortage and was forced to cancel hundreds of flights as its aircraft were tied up operating charter services and at the same time many had to go in for regular maintenance. Furthermore, the old fleet is becoming extremely costly to maintain.
Recently, the Serbian government named Milorad Popović as the new deputy in the Serbian Ministry of Transport, in charge of air transportation. Mr. Popović has worked for Jat Airways for the past 29 years and at one point served as the airline’s Commercial Director. He replaces Radoslav Tomašević who, prior to his employment in the government, worked at Jat Tehnika.