Jat Airways will launch flights from Belgrade to Banja Luka at the start of the 2013/14 winter season. The new route is one of many to be inaugurated by Jat this winter. The Serbian government confirmed the launch of the new service yesterday at a joint cabinet session of the Serbian and Republika Srpska governments. “We are finalising talks with our Emirati partner for the stabilisation and normalisation of Jat. We are in a position of already having the timetable for the new Belgrade - Banja Luka flights”, the Serbian Minister for Transport, Milutin Mrkonjić, said.
Jat’s winter timetable has already been drafted in cooperation with Etihad Airways. At this present time the new routes to be launched cannot be published but include new destinations both in the region and beyond. According to the draft timetable, flights to Banja Luka will operate with an ATR72 on a daily basis. Jat Airways has operated flights to Banja Luka on and off for several years. Services were cancelled each time due to extremely poor loads. With subsidies of four million euros, Jat planned to resume services to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s second largest city last December, but a chronic fleet shortage within the Serbian carrier forced it to cancel such plans.
Meanwhile, Jat is set to receive a leased ATR72-500 either today or in the next few days, which should enter service next week, bringing the total number of ATRs in the fleet to four. Jat will not lease any other aircraft this summer. Plans were made over the past few weeks to lease two Boeing 737s, after earlier plans to lease two Airbus jets fell through. However, Jat was unable to secure short term leases while Etihad prevented the long term lease of Boeing aircraft as it will shift Jat to an all Airbus fleet this winter. As a result, by the end of July, Jat will have fourteen operational aircraft in its fleet.