The Jat name to be retired from late October
The Jat brand name is set to become history later this year after 66 years of continual use. According to reliable sources, Etihad Airways, which plans to take control of the Serbian national carrier, is insisting on changing the airline’s name with Air Serbia proposed as its replacement. Serbian media have recently begun questioning the sentimental value of Jat, once the tenth busiest airline in Europe and the 31st busiest IATA member. The “JAT” brand was introduced following World War Two. The recognisable “egg” livery first appeared in the 1950s. Following the breakup of Yugoslavia and the easing of international sanctions on Yugoslav air travel, the “flame/wing” livery was introduced, in 1994. Finally, in 2003, as the name Yugoslavia became history and the country was renamed to Serbia and Montenegro the airline changed its name to Jat Airways and introduced the “dot” livery created by a Slovenian design team, selected through an international competition.
However, Jat is not expected to disappear in its entirety. The callsign of Serbia’s national carrier is set to remain “JAT” while its IATA designator is to remain “JU”. This is in order for the newly named carrier to maintain international agreement, slots, and assets owned by Jat Airways.
Meanwhile, Etihad Airways and the Serbian government reached an agreement on Friday for the Emirati carrier to take over Jat’s 1998 order for eight Airbus A319, which have never been delivered. Etihad’s involvement in the deal will allow for a speedy delivery of the aircraft. On the other hand, the Serbian government will take over the debt accumulated by Jat over the past two decades to the tune of 180 million euros, giving the Serbian carrier a fresh, debt free, start. Etihad is also interested in taking over Jat Tehnika and Jat Catering, the airline’s mechanical and catering divisions which were separated from the company in 2004 by the government.
Etihad has suggested Danny Kondić as the new CEO of the Serbian national carrier. Mr. Kondić, born in Australia to Serbian parents, started his career with Qantas in Sydney and worked for British Airways as well before becoming the General Manager of Worldwide Sales for Malaysia Airlines. He subsequently moved to take on the challenge of managing a travel agency, and was heading the North Asia region for a major wholesaler, based in Hong Kong.