21.30: Air Serbia's CEO Dane Kondić has confirmed that the second A319, which will arrive in Belgrade next week will be named Milica Mandić. Milica Mandić is the first person to bring an independent Serbia a gold medal at the Summer Olympic Games. She did so in London in 2012, winning gold in taekwondo. Milica will be inducted in the taekwondo hall of fame later this year in Las Vegas.
19.55: It has been officially confirmed that Air Serbia's first A319 will be named after tennis player Novak Djoković. Novak Djoković is currently the world's second ranked tennis player and a former world number one. He is a six time grand slam winner. In addition, he is the first Serbian player, male or female, to rank number one for more than 100 weeks and win multiple grand slams. Through the Novak Djoković foundation, millions of dollars have been donated to underpreivleged children in Serbia. All Air Serbia aircraft will bare the name of famous living Serbs.
Jat Airways staff pose in front of Air Serbia's first A319
18.15: Emotional scenes on many Jat Airways flights today as many cabin crew members put on their uniforms for the last time and perform their last flights for the carrier, following careers spanning several decades. Over 120 crew members are leaving the airline.
Economy class product
Business class seats
15.25: The media event has now finished. Asked whether the first A319 will be named after tennis player Novak Djoković, Mr. Kondić said that while Djoković is deserving of such an honour, there are many other famous Serbs as well.
14.10: All Air Serbia aircraft will be named. The name of the first A319 will be known tonight. It will be after a famous living Serb.
14.05: Air Serbia's A319 is presented. The media will now tour the aircraft.
13.55: Serbian Deputy PM is about to speak. "Air Serbia shows that Serbia can be a modern country. We expect the company will become profitable in less than a year", Mr. Vučić says.
13.50: Archive footage of Jat shown. Air Serbia CEO is now speaking. "Jat Airways will always have a special place in our heart", Kondić says. He adds, "Air Serbia will be the pride of Serbia. Look at what we have achieved in only three months. We hope Air Serbia will meet all expectations. The new Air Serbia is the evolution of Jat Airways. We will become a world airline".
13.35: The media event is about to begin.
13.10: Long lines reported in front of Air Serbia sales office in Belgrade. Special thanks to reader Miroslav Mešanović for this photo.
11.25: The media presentation will begin soon. You can follow the live stream here which will be available at 13.30.
11.15: By 2016 Air Serbia plans to have 5.000 employees. The head of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Željko Sertić, says, “Air Serbia’s plan to have between 3.500 and 5.000 employees in the next two years is realistic. A new management, new style, design and how you are greeted when boarding your flight. All this is important for building up the image of your country”.
10.10: In another perk for business class passengers, Air Serbia will become the first airline in the former Yugoslavia to provide amenity kits. They will be offered to all guests in business class.
10.00: As mentioned, Air Serbia’s media presentation begins at 13.30, attended by the airline’s CEO Dane Kondić, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić and Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan. Mr. Kondić and Mr Vučić will be the first to address the media. The unveiling of the aircraft is set to take place at 13.50, followed by a Q&A session for the media. A live stream will be available.
09.45: A qucik reminder of the new look cabins
09.30: In an important development, EX-YU Aviation News can reveal reconstruction work on Belgrade Airport’s terminal one will begin by the end of this yesr. The terminal will be used exclusively by Air Serbia and Etihad Airways. Meanwhile, the tender for the second phase of the airport’s expansion and overhaul of both terminal one and two gates and departure lounges has come to a close. Work is expected to begin next month.
09.20: Yesterday’s promotional ticket sale, allowing passengers to book two tickets for the price of one, has produced a lot of buzz among the public, forcing the airline to send extra staff to its newly opened sales office in Belgrade to deal with the crowd. The promo sale, which will last until Saturday, is available for passengers booking their tickets at the sales office or over the phone.
09.10: As described below, Air Serbia will significantly improve its onboard catering. The dining experience will be inspired entirely by Serbian delicacies. These are some of the meals that will be on offer to passengers this winter. For ultra short haul and short haul flights snacks will include: proja, djevrek, perece, pogačice, mekike, pita and burek. Lunch and dinner options will include ćevapčići, sarma, punjene paprike, punjene tikvice, leskovački roštilj, karadjordjeva šnicla, prebranac, podvarak, djuveč and mućkalica. For breakfast, a traditional Serbian and continental breakfast will be offered. The Serbian version includes burek, kačamak and proja. Among the alcoholic beverages on offer, the Serbian plum brandy Slivovitz will also be served.
09.00: Air Serbia employees are now taking a tour of the new aircraft and are being presented with the new product.
Fresh start for Serbia's national carrier
Air Serbia will today officially unveil its product to the world with just a day left until it launches operations. Several special events are planned throughout the day and EX-YU Aviation News will be providing live coverage starting at 09.00 CEST. The successor to Jat Airways yesterday revealed its brand new sales office and crew uniforms, while EX-YU Aviation News has given you an exclusive glimpse of the new business and economy class cabins that will be available on its Airbus and ATR fleet.
The day begins at 09.00 as Jat Airways/Air Serbia staff will be bussed to the Jat Tehnika VIP hanger where the carrier’s first Airbus A319 will be on show. At 13.30, the airline will present itself to the media and public. The event will be attended by Air Serbia’s CEO Dane Kondić, the CEO of Etihad Airways James Hogan and the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić. The day will continue with a glitzy VIPs only event at 18.30 to be attended by government officials, members of the diplomatic corps to Serbia and celebrities from various spheres of public life.
Air Serbia says, “Through strategic changes, we are committed to continuing to play an integral role in the development of Serbia’s aviation, travel and tourism industry”.
✈ Catering ✈
The Serbian carrier will be offering a significantly more advanced onboard product than its predecessor. The airline says, “Our emphasis on quality and freshness is reflected in our onboard dining experience, and the local produce we use in our meals. We are also proud to offer a uniquely Serbian cuisine and beverages in both business and economy class cabins. Our hospitality and service standards are a testament to the best that Serbia has to offer”.
BUSINESS CLASS - Passengers flying business class will be able to enjoy an aperitif with warm nuts on all flights. Passengers flying on routes up to an hour will be offered a choice of canapés. On services between one and two hours passengers will be offered an a la carte menu accompanied by a range of beverages. Those travelling on flights between two and three hours will also see an a la carte menu while those on flights lasting longer than three hours will be offered a menu of three main courses.
ECONOMY CLASS - On ultra short haul and short haul flights (up to two hours) the airline will offer a café service and a range of Serbian snacks. Flights ranging between two and three hours will see a choice of cold snacks or a main hot meal service and a complimentary bar service. Passengers travelling on flights longer than three hours will be offered a complete meal with a choice of several main courses, hot beverages and refreshments as well as a complimentary bar service.
✈ Inflight entertainment ✈
The latest movies, TV shows, music and various entertainment selections will be offered exclusively to business class passengers. Guests will enjoy access to a personal iPad and noise cancelling headsets. Air Serbia will offer a choice of four films and Hollywood movies with Serbian (Latin) subtitles and a selection of European language dubbing options. A choice of twenty TV programmes, of which eight will be Serbian TV shows, will be on offer. Fifty CD library channels including twelve Serbian artists along with Italian, German, Russian and French albums will also be available for passengers. For those young at heart, twelve different games will be on offer as well.
✈ Fleet ✈
By April 2014 Air Serbia will operate a fleet of eight Airbus A319s, two A320s and four ATR72s. The airline’s second A319 will arrive in Belgrade by the end of next week and another four will join the fleet by the end of the year. In early 2014 a further two will come into service while the A320s will join the fleet at the end of March. All four ATR72s will be painted in the airline’s livery and receive the new interior. Several Boeing aircraft are expected to stay in the fleet in order to operate charter flights over the 2014 summer season. They too will receive new cabins with an all economy class layout from March 2014.