Jat revises winter operations
Jat Airways has been forced to revise its winter 2012/2013 schedule due to a chronic fleet shortage. The airline will cut down on frequencies to several cities in the coming months due to a lack of aircraft. Flights to Brussels will be temporarily suspended and will be reintroduced in March. On Monday, EX-YU Aviation News exclusively reported a plan to lease six new aircraft for the 2013 summer season as the airline will have only eight jets on hand for use in several months. Some aircraft are planned to go in for regular maintenance while others are to be retired.
Yesterday, the Serbian Minister for Transport, Milutin Mrkonjić, confirmed the carrier will lease aircraft and added the government has decided against creating a successor national carrier. “I’m becoming more and more sure that Jat will stay as it is. The current debt has to be transferred to the state and Jat, with its current slots, employees, fleet and the financial lease of new aircraft, will be viable”. Due to the current fleet shortage, the proposal to lease two ATR72-500s, two Airbus A319s and two A320s is bound to be adopted by the task group working on restructuring the carrier.
Questions remain how the current CEO of Jat Airways, Vladimir Ognjenović, has been able to keep his job, having in mind the situation the airline has found itself in. During the summer of 2012 the Serbian carrier experienced similar problems. It was forced to revise its schedule and significantly cut down on frequencies. However, sources close to the airline state Mr. Ognjenović is not the one running the show. In fact, it is his Chief of Cabinet, Stanimir Jovanović, that is pulling the strings. Neither one of them has been held accountable for the state of the national carrier finds itself in.