Etihad to double Jat’s fleet and halve its workforce
Etihad Airways has sent in its offer for a 49% stake in Jat Airways to the Serbian government, the country’s national daily “Politika” reports. The offer outlines Etihad’s plans for Jat over the next three years which includes doubling the airline’s fleet, halving the number of employees and operating with a profit. Etihad has given the government a June 15 deadline to respond to the offer. Since the Serbian government will take over all of Jat’s debt, Etihad plans to run the airline with a profit in 2014, which would amount to 25 million euros by the end of 2015.
The document, which outlines the strategic partnership between Etihad and Jat, also places great emphasis on the 1998 order for eight Airbus A319s, which have never been delivered. Last year Airbus revised the agreement, offering instead four Airbus A320s, crew training and simulators at a price of 190 million euros. However, the Serbian government never responded to the offer. After the planned takeover, a new proposal from Airbus will be sent directly to Etihad. The national carrier of the United Arab Emirates also plans to halve Jat’s workforce. From the current 1.243 employees, numbers will be cut to 800 in the initial phase and will eventually be brought down to 600. Cuts will mostly be made in administration rather than among pilots and cabin crew personnel.
Fleet wise, Etihad plans for the Serbian carrier to have between 14 and 16 mid size aircraft of up to 150 seats by 2015 and a further 8 ATRs for regional flights. In order to ease its current fleet problems, which are causing daily delays across its network, Jat held talks with Adria Airways for the lease of two Airbus A319s last week. The deal will materialise only if the Serbian government gives guarantees to Aer Cap (which owns the two aircraft) that Jat will pay its leasing fees on time.