Jat’s new CEO sets his priorities
The newly appointed acting CEO of Jat Airways, Velibor Vukašinović, says his main priorities are to improve safety, reliability, profitability and the airline’s image. Serbia’s national carrier has recently been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons as its chronic fleet shortage continues to cause massive delays across its network. Following technical problems with one of its aircraft on Monday, a flight from Amsterdam to Belgrade was delayed by over 24 hours. “Better planning is needed in the future in order for us to avoid such situations. Furthermore, Aviogenex’s Boeing 737-200 (operating for Jat), which recently came from an aircraft maintenance check in France, has had several technical problems since, which is unusual”, Vukašinović says. Adria Airways will today finalise its lease of two Airbus A319s to Jat which will alleviate the fleet shortage. In addition, several aircraft which are undergoing regular maintenance checks are to return to service. “We will do everything in our power to end this fleet shortage but we must introduce better technical and employee etiquette, security and corporative culture”, Mr. Vukašinović says.
The acting CEO admits that one of Jat’s main problems is its shattered image. “We must work together to improve Jat’s image and we must never forget that Jat is a national airline which represents Serbia and has a long history. We don’t need a lot of money to do this, just some good will and hard work. For example, just a few days ago Jat marked the 65th anniversary since it launched flights to Frankfurt but no one bothered to mark the occasion. We have come to a point where our partners mark our anniversaries for us. Just imagine how many chances Jat has missed to position itself and make it known that it has been in existence for 86 years”, Mr. Vukašinović notes.
Mr. Vukašinović ended his visit to Abu Dhabi yesterday where he held talks with Etihad Airways which is expected to make a takeover offer to the Serbian government in a few days. Details of the offer are expected to be made public on June 15 when Etihad launches flights from Abu Dhabi to Belgrade.