Jat’s first major fleet renewal in decades
Seven leasing companies have submitted their bids to Jat Airways for the carrier’s fleet renewal. The task group in charge of restructuring the national carrier will review the bids later this week and choose the most suitable (cheapest) option for the airline. Jat Airways will renew its fleet this summer with six aircraft - two ATR72-500s and four Airbus jets. The aircraft will begin arriving from April, with the two ATRs to touch down first while the Airbuses will begin arriving in May. The Serbian carrier will also utilise Aviogenex’s Boeing 737-200 and will operate it on certain routes until June.
Jat’s fleet problems began in January when half of its aircraft were grounded. While some jets will be retired, some were simply in need of spare parts. As a result, the Serbian carrier has been forced to rationalise its network. The situation has somewhat improved with the first grounded Boeing 737s returning to the sky this month. The Deputy Minister for Transport in charge of aviation, Milutin Popović, says the government will continue talks with Airbus in an attempt settle the controversial 1998 order for eight jets. “We will form a team of experts who will decide which kind of aircraft Jat needs for delivery in 2015. Talks with Airbus should continue as soon as possible but that doesn’t mean we won’t consider other manufacturers”, Mr. Popović says.
Meanwhile, from next week, Jat’s employees will be able to sign up for voluntary leave from the company. The Serbian government has allocated four million euros in financial incentives. Each employee that chooses to leave the company will receive 300 euros for every year he/she has worked in the company. It is part of the airline’s plan to cut down on its workforce by 600 employees.