New aircraft to begin arriving from late March
On Tuesday evening the Serbian government approved for Jat Airways to financially lease six aircraft on a long term basis. The government’s approval was the final obstacle Jat faced in renewing its fleet. The aircraft are badly needed with half of the carrier’s fleet grounded. Progressively some of the grounded jets are to return to the air by the end of March. The Serbian carrier plans to significantly increase its flight offering this summer with double daily services to Moscow and Paris, up to three daily flights to Vienna on selected days and the resumption of seasonal flights such as Pula, Dubrovnik, Split, Ohrid, Malta, Girona, Monastir and London Gatwick. Furthermore, the airline will operate a significant number of charter flights throughout the summer.
As was first exclusively revealed by EX-YU Aviation News last month, the Serbian airline plans to lease two ATR72-500s and four Airbus jets (two A319s and two A320s). However, leasing Airbus aircraft could be problematic. Jat’s pilots and cabin crew need to complete training for the aircraft the airline has never operated, a procedure which could take several months. Since the airline will need the jets in its fleet as soon as possible, Jat is instead considering leasing new generation Boeing aircraft. The aircraft are to begin arriving from late March, with ATRs expected to enter the fleet first, while the larger aircraft are scheduled for arrival between April and June.
The Serbian government on Tuesday ordered Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport to reassess its pricing policy towards Jat. It has been revealed that the national carrier is paying higher fees at its home base than foreign carriers. Furthermore, the government has backed the continuation of negotiations with Airbus so the airline settles its controversial 1998 order for eight A319 jets. The government hopes that four aircraft will be purchased and delivered in 2015.
Photo by: Andreas Ranner