Transition process continues
With less than two months left until the official launch of Air Serbia on October 27, rapid developments are taking place in the airline to finalise the transition process. The new look Serbian national carrier is set to receive regulatory clearance next week which will allow the new management team, appointed by minority shareholder Etihad, to take over. On Monday a total of forty Jat Airways pilots will begin training for the Airbus A319 in Berlin in order to operate the aircraft on scheduled flights from October 27. The first A319 is set to arrive in Belgrade on October 21. Yesterday, Jat Airways announced it was hiring an additional twenty co-pilots for the ATR72 aircraft. Simultaneously, the airline is hiring 43 new pilots holding operational certificates for the A319 jets.
After Jat Airways cabin crew members underwent examinations last week, the airline announced a surprise casting call for new cabin crew members, which was held on Thursday. New members of the cabin crew team are to be trained for all aircraft types in the fleet while Jat’s current crew will also receive formal training for the A319 jets in Belgrade in the first week of October. Meanwhile, an Etihad delegation visited the SMATSA Flight Academy (formerly Jat Airways Flight Academy) in Vršac in Northern Serbia on Tuesday after which it was announced the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates is considering training its own pilots at the Academy. The school boasts a fleet of twenty aircraft. “Etihad and SMATSA (Serbia & Montenegro Air Traffic Services Agency) will continue to discuss all possible models of cooperation as representatives from both companies were pleased with talks held in Vršac and Belgrade”, a press release reads.
In light of its new partnership with Etihad, Jat has continued expanding its relationship with equity partner Air Berlin. After the two airlines began codesharing on each other’s flights, the German airline has included Jat into its corporate program for business travellers. On all Jat Airways flights to and from Belgrade to Dusseldorf, Berlin, Frankfurt and Stuttgart, members of Air Berlin’s “Bonus Points” program can earn points for award flights or business class upgrades starting tomorrow. The accumulated points can be redeemed for domestic flights in Germany and flights within Europe and also for long haul flights such as Chicago, Los Angeles or New York. They may also be redeemed for a business class upgrade.
During the week, Serbia abolished its visa regime for UAE nationals. Within the next month the United Arab Emirates is also expected to abolish its visa requirements for Serbian citizens. Furthermore, the two countries are set to open their respective embassies in each other’s countries by the end of September.
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