Jat secures short term 737 lease
Jat Airways continues to surprise as the airline announces the short term lease of two Boeing 737-300s. Only last week, the Serbian carrier said it would not be leasing any other aircraft with the airline to move to an Airbus dominated fleet from late October. However, the aircraft are needed for the next few months as Jat continues to deal with a fleet shortage which has plagued the airline since the 2012 summer season, forcing it to cancel hundreds of flights. This is despite the fact that most of Jat’s aircraft are now operational and the airline has recently leased two ATR72-500s.
The two Boeing 737-300s, on lease from Bulgaria Air, are 21 and 23 years old respectively. The aircraft will be arriving in the Serbian capital this week and should be in service by the end of the month. Original plans to lease the two Boeings were blocked by Etihad Airways after Jat was unable to secure a short term lease of the aircraft, however, circumstances have changed. With the lease of the two ATRs and two Boeing 737-300s as well as the B737-200 on loan from Aviogenex, the Serbian carrier will have an operational fleet of sixteen aircraft for the rest of the summer, although one Boeing 737-300 will undergo scheduled maintenance by the end of the month and will be out of service for some time.
Meanwhile, the Serbian government and Etihad Airways are set to finalise the 49% takeover agreement of Jat. Serbian media quoted today as a possible date for the agreement to be signed, though the deal is to be finalised by the end of the month. Another high ranking Etihad delegation visited the Serbian capital last week and held talks with Jat and government officials, with the two sides finalising Jat’s 2013/14 winter season timetable.