A week left until Air Serbia's official launch
In exactly a week’s time, Air Serbia will officially begin operations as the successor to Jat Airways. However, the coming week will be packed with many important events for the new look national carrier. It all started yesterday with the arrival of the airline’s first leased Airbus A319, registered YU-APC. Arriving from Dusseldorf, where it underwent cabin reconfiguration, the aircraft was escorted by MiG-29 fighter jets upon entry into Serbian airspace. It arrived to a water cannon salute at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport where it was welcomed by the airline’s CEO Dane Kondić. Air Serbia has so far leased five A319s, all of which have received the corporate livery and are currently in Germany. Air Serbia will receive six of its eight A319s this year, each configured to seat 128 passengers (eight in business class and 120 in economy). Another two A319s will be delivered early next year and two larger A320s are expected to arrive in late March 2014. Stage two of Air Serbia’s fleet renewal will be a competitive tender for the acquisition of additional aircraft from 2016.
Meanwhile, preparations are underway for next week’s official launch. On October 23 the airline will unveil its rebranded sales office in central Belgrade. It will be followed by Air Serbia’s official presentation on October 25. The day will start with a tour of the new A319 by Jat Airways employees, followed by a media presentation which is scheduled to begin at 13.30 CEST at Jat Tehnika’s hanger. EX-YU Aviation News will offer live coverage of the event. In the evening, a special VIP party will be held for government officials, celebrities and other personalities. On October 26, Air Serbia will operate its first revenue flight to Abu Dhabi, which will also be used for promotional purposes. The following day, the airline will officially begin operations. On October 28, passengers flying Air Serbia will be able to start using the carrier’s new frequent flyer programme which has been integrated with the Etihad Guest programme.
Over the week, Etihad Airways has operated a cargo flight to Belgrade bringing supplies to its latest subsidiary. The cargo included crew uniforms, office furniture, gift packages as well as gadgets for its in-flight entertainment system. Business class guests will have access to iPads and noise cancelling headsets with a choice of several Hollywood movies, all with Serbian subtitles, as well as twenty TV programmes, over forty audio channels and ten games.