Jat gets the go ahead to lease new aircraft
Last Friday, the task group in charge of restructuring the Serbian national carrier approved the financial lease of six aircraft (two ATR72s, two A319s and two A320s), which are to enter Jat’s fleet this summer season. The leased aircraft will end the airline’s ongoing fleet shortage which has seen it cut down on flights in the past several weeks. The Serbian government will have to give its final seal of approval for the lease of the aircraft, with the decision expected to be made at the end of February. Furthermore, the task group has announced that talks with the European plane manufacturer Airbus will be continued, with an order for four aircraft to be finalised this year and delivered in 2015.
The airline’s summer season operations rest on the arrival of the new aircraft. Jat plans to boost frequencies on seasonal flights to Croatia and resume services to Girona, Malta, Monastir and London Gatwick. In addition, the airline will operate double daily flights to Paris and Moscow and up to three daily flights on selected days to Vienna. Jat believes it will handle just over 1.5 million passengers by the end of the year.
During 2013 Jat anticipates cutting its workforce down by 600 employees, through voluntary pay leave packages. The airline hopes to have 156 pilots and co-pilots, 200 cabin crew members, 98 ground handlers, 145 staff in sales and 140 head office employees by the end of the year. By cutting down on 40% of its work force the airline estimates it will save up to 4.4 million euros. Jat expects to halve its losses by the end of the year, ending 2013 with a 15 million euro loss.