Monday, July 8, 2013

The end of the Jat brand

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.

50 comments:

  1. Good news, especially since he worked for reputable airlines such as British Airways, Qantas and Malaysian Airlines.

    Finally a professional airline CEO in the region.

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  2. Well, everything in this news is pretty much ok except the debt part. Jat has reported 180 mil EUR but Etihad has found another 80 mil EUR making operational debt 260 mil EUR. Except this, Government has said if would pay extra labors that should leave Jat. Therefore, Etihad takeover currently costs the Serbian tax payers at least 280 mil EUR (with current fleet lease costs). Additionally, there are almost no news regarding Etihad plans with Jat, is Jat becoming a feeder or leader? And can Jat keep its slots and IATA/ICAO codes if it changes name and ownership structure?

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    1. Jat, and the Serbian tax payer, got the very best deal it could possibly get.

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    2. Bearing in mind that Jat is not the only thing in the Serbian airline industry (aside from catering and technics) sold to the Etihad the offer is it not even close to fair.

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    3. But 280 million EUR! 280 million.... 280! Come on, Serbia does not have this kind of money! Jesus, where will they take that money?

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    4. Jat fetched what it was worth.

      How would you value a company with all its planes heading for the junk yard and 280 million in debt and no hope for the future?

      Jat is lucky that anyone was interested in this fixer-upper project.

      The debt was the Serbian government's anyway. Now, at least, the company is getting an injection of 50 million, some decent managers for once and it's fleet renewed. The travelling public gets a new (decent) operator and the government has 50% of something instead of 100% of nothing.

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    5. 98% of that debt is owed to Serbian state owned companies. They will just write it off like all the other governments in the ex-Yu did for their airlines. Jat actually has no debt to any foreign company.

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    6. I agree, a big part of the debt is owed to Serbian state owned companies (for example EUR 48 Mio. to national suppliers such as BEG airport, SMATSA, Jat Tehnika, NIS etc. or EUR 35 Mio. to Narodna Banka Srbije), but that is not 98%.

      My question is: What does mean debt-free? Which debts have to be paid back?

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  3. It´squite redicilous that Etihad is insiting on the name "Air Serbia", which is hardly pronounced in English, easy to be confused with Siberia, and have no sense in respect of the shortages JAT/JU which are not the subject of change. The idea not to keep the shortage JAT and to replace it with "Air Serbia" may only harm Etihad´s efforts to put a new regional market standards for JAT. The Southeast Euroean region was left with out serious carriers during the last 10 years, and it would be a challenge to put a new Souteeast European compnay - JAT.

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    1. Well, like it or not, easy to pronounce or not, but Serbia is the name of our country. If some uneducated persons mix Sebia with Siberia, that's their problem. Better change their ignorance than to escape name of the country for ignorants' sake.
      Maybe you didn't hear for JET AIRWAYS, a much bigger and prosperous Indian airline.So, Jat Airways, Jet Airways might not make a confusion?

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    2. But for sure Air Serbia for at least another 10-15 years will be obstacle for expansion in region. If they really want to make regional carrier than Air Serbia is not good option. For sure that will not help in Croatia, part of Bosnia and Kosovo. So, I presume they just want to have feeder in Serbia and Montenegro without any other plans.

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    3. So, in 10-15 years, following your way of thinking, Air France, Air Canada, Turkish Airlines will be confined only to national borders?Passengers with irrational reasons would never fly Serbian carrier, no matter what its (politically correct "regional") name is. Only in Serbia we find this way of thinking!

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    4. All i'm going to say is that if you have a good airline with good network and safe reliable product all at a good price point you can call it whatever you want and you'll succeed. I agree that at the very beginning there might be people at PRN who are going to pay more to fly with TK for example but that's not going to last forever. It's a simplest principle of market economy.

      Also, for every argument you make why it shouldn't be called one way there is equal number of arguments against it. Only time will show what the best approach is. I think in this case the change has more to do with the similarity to Jet airways than anything else (ass several people noted here).

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    5. There are really people that think people from Kosovo or Bosnia would fly a Serbian airline...
      I mean most people (not all )from this areas are living in their personal dzhihad and never would even consider this in their wildest dreams.
      A very popular slogan in Kosovo for example is "Buy Albanian".
      It is stupid but a fact about our people.
      Even suggesting to my family members(Croats) going for some days to Belgrade or buying Serbian products would make them going wild about me!
      So i would never even dare to tell them.
      Unfortunately people especially here in former Yugo neither use their brains nor act like rational people.
      But a lot of people live still in a dream world of Bratstvo i Jedinstvo.

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    6. Well if your name is Turkish airlines you will not be very successful in Greece, if it is Air France, for sure you will not be popular in Britain. But those company has market of several dozens million. Air Serbia must try to attract passengers from Croatia, Kosovo, Bosnia. And with that name for sure they will not be as successful as if they have neutral name. Of course name is nothing if you don't have good product in same time.

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    7. I repeat, irrational people will not fly serbian flag carrier no matter what its name is. At least, "neutral" name will be with visible Serbian flag on the fuselage (oh, would this might "offend" certain people?!). Despite all the discussion, I personally don't think that too Serbian name could affect regional success. If Air Serbia will have modern fleet, superb service, excellent connections, good prices....I am SURE it will be uccessful. So, good luck to Air Serbia!

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  4. I didn't see what was insulting in that comment "teaching pigs to fly". What's bad or offensive about that? I see it more as a joke. Take yourself few lessons of having the sense of humour.

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    1. What's the "funny" point in putting pigs in this context? Make me/ us a lesson, please. Thanks.

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  5. All good and right but this name change to Air Serbia just doesn't do it for me. The main reason I come to this blog and what makes ex YU aviation interesting is Jat and its history. I thought that most of us here have that nostalgia of old glorious days when Jat meant something and have been hoping those days would come back with Etihad's involvement. Air Serbia is going to be a dis-continuum of something all of us born in once common country had for a symbol of aviation that used to connect us. I thought Etihad would be smarter about the name change. If the Jat name didn't work for them they could have tried with a name that has more regional significance. Oh well...I guess it's time I move on and explore other interests as this blog with Air Serbia and Croatia news will definitely not have the same meaning for me.

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    1. JAT Yugoslav Airlines will never exist more. But, the point is to make a profitable airline in Serbia, with respectable service. Point.

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  6. I dont mind the name of the airline as long they offer a good product...
    Air Serbia,Flying Carpet...Twinky Winkie Airlines.
    Okay Jat would have been the best name but i also think there are much more important issues about this airline than its name!
    I really hate it when people only focus about names ,brands instead
    of the basics.

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    1. You are substantially right, but this text is about changing the name of the company.

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  7. ERO SRBIJA...
    Erotic Serbia hehehe...!!!
    What i dont like is that the government will sell only 49% of the airline.
    Hello - we are not part of the EU !
    Thank god...
    And i also would like to see them offering Etihad a bigger stake.
    I definitely support closer ties to the Arab Emirates!!!
    I know it sounds crazy but i would love to see soon Air Arabia in Belgrade.

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  8. One note to the Ex-Yu aviation news:
    Ex-Yu it is good that you inform us about news from aviation BUT please! some information are already in the air like the one about BEG airport yesterday and today´s about new name. The thing is that if you posting already known news than you should make same investigation and predictions. It would be much more interesting and useful than just posting already known facts. Copy-Past is not journalism. Otherwise you are pretty fine :)

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    1. blogging isn't journalism

      You sure expect a lot of someone who's doing this for free as a hobby

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    2. excuse me.... he never printed information on Ex- Yu aviation about Belgrade Airport and other stuff. It is nice that Ex- Yu reports EVERYTHING, so even if you "heard about it" somewhere, he will confirm it here.

      Bravo Ex- Yu keep it up.

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  9. I think JAT (and to some extent Jat Airways, as well)is a reputable brand. With all the ups and downs, old fleet, flight cancellations and nearly retired cabin crew associated with Jat Airways, JAT remains a brand closely connected to former Yugoslavia. We all know it was a country associated with positive feelings for the most, and JAT was a company where professionals did their jobs. It is one of the oldest airlines in Europe, first to fly Boeing 737, with spotless safety record. The changes to the operational and organisational processes, as well as fleet renewal within are nevertheless, crucial.

    However, my humble opinion is that remaining positive associations with the JAT brand are not to be thrown away. Sorry, but Air Serbia is a bad decision (no offence, just taking note of the recent past and associations with the brand Serbia).

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    1. I just love how precious people are about a brand that has become so broken, so damaged and is on its last legs. What world do you people live in ?? It makes me think that the last time any of you flew with JAT, was when Yugoslavia still existed ... Yes, perhaps back then it was ok ... But so was Yugoslavia ... But guess what .. in case somebody missed the news, Yugoslavia died in what, 1991/2 - what's that, over 20 yrs ago ??? Out of that mess, new countries and new national carriers were born ... Croatia Airlines, BiH Airlines, Montenegro Airlines and NO ONE has paid any critical remarks or comments to their respective brands reflecting the new reality on the ground that these airlines carry the name of their nations ... So why then is it a problem for Serbia (that's right, that's the name of our country), to have its name reflected in the name of its national carrier ?? WTF is wrong with that ?? These comments reflect the poor regard and lack of pride that all of you have in our country - no more no less ... Besides, if you are so dead against it, then put your mouth in your pocket and cough up the money to buy the airline and then call it whatever the fuck you want ... While at it, buy the country's debt and you can call it Yugoslavia again if you have such a hard on for symbols, names and logos that have long been discredited ... The right to name, rename or change whatever, is very much vested in the entity that buys something ... So Etihad, do whatever you feel you need to do and give us an airline that we can be proud of, but more importantly, stops us taxpeyers from having to foot the bill for an airline that is otherwise a sinkhole for throwing good hard earned money into a shithole .... Amen !!

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    2. Sorry, but you are totally being ignorant. For Croats, Bosniaks and so on, building a national company was a question of nationalistic (not) national time, and even so the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s was still recognizable as a period of so national carriers, whose main aim was to connect politically interesting and important capital cities with the own capital, regardless of the economical interest. It is exectly a model of businness that (semi)privatisation of the company should eliminate. Meanwhile, important international treaties on the sky freedom have been signed, and binding a carrier with the name to one narrow - Serbian - market is a luxus. Especially in the part of the world where each national market is having some 5-8 million passangers and less, making a nationalistic company in the 21st century is not only a luxus, it is just silly.

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  10. I strongly disagree that JAT or Jat Airways was a good brand or had that good reputation. This was certainly so, from a Yugoslav way of perception since our neighbors had Tupolews and Antonows and the country was living at a better standard then the rest of the eastern neighbors. But this was long ago. In the west the JAT reputation was questionable. It declined since the break up of the country continuously. Now, the name Air Serbia is questionable from a linguistic point of view since it is not as fluent as Serbian Airlines or Airways. Secondly from a commercial point of view since I hope that Etihad wants to create a regional leader and nucleus for more airlines to come under its umbrella. This is not possible with a name of one country only-----> see SAS. For me it would better named Balkan Serbian Airlines and if more countries join later they could be named Balkan Montenegro Airlines, Balkan Macedonian Airlines, Balkan Bulgarian....Balkan Bosnian and so on......

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    1. and WeAreNotBalkan Croatian airlines

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    2. It is not about he reputation among the passangers from the Western country. They have never heard about JAT if they are not interested into the aviation industry, and in the very same way they have never heard about British airways or Iberia if they live in Germany or Netherlands and did not fly that companies for many time. - It is, however, about he reputation JAT is having among the professionals who are now having executive positions on the airports, in other companies, in international organizations. Most of them were just to start carrier when they were young and when JAT was one of not so many European companies from that classy era. They have respect for erverything from that period, and so for JAT (which was Europ´s 5th-10th busiest airliner).

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    3. Oh really. The "top-period" is some 30 years ago....so how old are your respected managers and professionals now? 55-60 ?
      I live abroad, I work in the airline business since 1989 and I know plenty of them. No one has a really high opinion. They all place JAT in the same basket like old Alitalia, Olympic and Sabena. Yes, JAT was better then Tarom or LOT but JAT was never in league of LH, Swiss or BA. Sorry!

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    4. Well is it a shame to be in a same basket with Alitali or Sabena. We are not talking abou the destiny of those companies during the last 20 years. Even the best companies such as Swissair or Panam don´t exist any more. But they all (Panam, Alitalia, JAT etc.) were part of clasical aviation era and enjoy respect in respective international commities and many airports on behalf of that. Sorry, dude, but if you cannot catch that, I doubt that your work include more than supervizing few ramps on an airport.

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  11. JAT is short for Jugoslovenski AeroTransport.
    Jat Airways has Jat in it which isn't short for anything, just a name. I personally think it would be better if they kept the name, the name suits possible regional expansion.

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  12. Can anyone tell why Jat are code sharing to three Pakistan cities and not any in India?

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    1. Interesting point. I can't imagine that there is more demand to Pakistan than there is to India.
      What might happen is that they are waiting for all this to sort out so that Jat can sign an agreement with Jet in stead of Etihad.

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    2. India and Serbia do not have a bilateral air agreement, hence no codeshare is possible

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    3. JAT used to serve Bombay and Calcutta, was that ASA only for Yugoslavia and not each place that formed the country?

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  13. Why is everyone so excited about the name. Most passengers don't really care, all they are looking for is the cheapest option out there. If Jat, Air Serbia or anything else can offer it then they will go for it.

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  14. http://www.atvbl.com/pregled-dana/99034

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  15. WELL DONE, SERBIA! Live long and prosper, Air Serbia! Greetings from Montenegro. We hope that Air Serbia will decrease prices on flights to Montenegro.120 euros is shame price for that short flight return line Belgrade-Podgorica.We expected half price decreasing, at least.Farewell my old friend JAT, and welcome aboard Air Serbia!

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  16. What happened with AEROPUT name? No one single mention of it? AEROPUT was first regional airline,and mother/father of JAT!

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  17. JAT mi je sve u zivotu dao. Necasno me otpustio zbog jebenog rata jer nisam bio podoban. Neki Pijuk iz Interne kontrole/bezbednosti je bio inicijator otkaza, jebat ga ! Bilo pa proslo !
    Svoje najbolje koke sam imao u JAT-u, svoje najbolje drugove, svoje najljepse izlete u BEG, kad su svi isli po bijelom svijetu i glumili turiste , ja sam isao u Beograd, ZAgreb, Sarajevo, Skoplje itd itd. Meni je JAT sve u zivotu dao, i ne samo meni, mnogima ! ! I zato bi ime JAT trebalo da ostane a neka bude Air Serbia, to me ne interesuje, JAT je JAT ! For ever !

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  18. JAT acronym should be revived renaming the airline Juznoslovenski Aero Transport Serbia, on tail will be just JAT on fuselage Serbia with small Juznoslovenski Aero Transport title applied nesxt to it.

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  19. Aeroput??? Sta je sa AEROPUT imenom?

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  20. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeroput

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