Velibor Vukašinović takes over
Velibor Vukašinović will today become the new acting CEO of Jat Airways, replacing Vladimir Ogjenović who has been running the carrier since 2010. Mr. Vukašinović has never worked at Jat. He had trained at the flight academy in Zadar before completing a degree at the University of Belgrade, majoring in philosophy. He has worked as a factory test pilot at Serbia’s UTVA general aviation plane manufacturer. From 2004 until 2009 Mr. Vukašinović worked as a flight inspector at the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate. He is currently a member of the task group in charge of restructuring Jat and is also a member of the United Arab Emirates - Serbia direct investment task group. Since March 18, 2013 he has served as an advisor to the outgoing CEO.
In his first interview, Mr. Vukašinović noted that it was important that the government had decided not to shut down the airline but admitted Jat was a “hot potato”. “My first job will be to renew the fleet so we can successfully carry out this year’s business plan”, he said. Mr. Vukašinović believes that a strategic partnership with Etihad Airways would be a privilege. “Etihad is currently in the process of screening Jat after which talks will be held to see what suits them and what suits us”.
Velibor Vukašinović replaces Vladimir Ognjenović whose legacy will be mixed. During his time in office the airline has halved its fleet and is currently experiencing a major aircraft shortage, forcing it to cancel flights and cut down on its operations. Furthermore, Mr. Ognjenović was instrumental in shutting down the airline’s representative offices across the world leading to tumbling sales in several markets. On the other hand, Jat has managed to maintain its passenger numbers in the face of fierce competition through constant promotional ticket sales, though this has hurt the airline’s finances. Two years ago, EX-YU Aviation News wrote about the string of disastrous choices made by the government in the past decade to run Jat. Mr. Ognjenović is now set to become the deputy CEO of the Serbian carrier.