Air Serbia’s fleet to grow up to 24 aircraft by 2016
Air Serbia has revealed plans for its future fleet which will be based around narrow body Airbus jets and regional turboprop aircraft. While government officials previously announced that two leased Airbus A319s would enter the fleet this month, the airline’s new management says the two aircraft, which will feature the Air Serbia livery and cabins, will enter service on October 1, with a further eight progressively entering the fleet until the end of the year. The aircraft will have a layout of 138 economy class seats and further eight seats in business class. The jets will carry out a total of four daily rotations, ensuring maximum utilisation.
Air Serbia is expected to place an order for ten aircraft from the Airbus A320 family later on this year for delivery by 2015. The airline will finance the aircraft through a financial bank loan which will be guaranteed by Etihad. In addition, while it has previously been stated that Dash aircraft are likely to replace the ATR fleet, the management is now considering replacing the ATRs with the newer generation ATR72-600s. Initially three ATRs (owned by Jat) would be replaced while the other two will be replaced once their four year lease is up. Current medium term plans outline that the Serbian carrier will have a fleet of up to 24 aircraft by 2016, with fourteen to sixteen narrow body jets and an additional six to eight turboprops planned.
Jat Airways pilots and cabin crew will begin training for the new aircraft in October. Pilots will undergo training at both the Etihad and Air Berlin training centres, which will take up to 24 days. Cabin crew members will undergo a week long training course in Belgrade. By the end of 2013 the entire crew will be able to work on the new aircraft. The first set of crew members have already been selected for training. The first two Airbuses will be piloted by Etihad staff until late October.