New charter airline in the works
Air Serbia’s aging Boeing fleet will stay in the skies for at least another summer season and will be utilised for charter flights. In January 2014 the Serbian government will decide whether to create a new charter airline which would operate the Boeing 737-300s as well as Aviogenex’s sole B737-200. The government believes it would profit from such a venture with the airline to employ former Jat Airways staff. However, such a decision will be made in cooperation with Air Serbia over the following months in order for the new charter airline to take off next summer.
Air Serbia will phase out all of its Boeing aircraft, most of which are now over 25 years old, on scheduled passenger flights by April 2014. However, during the week, the airline officially confirmed it will utilise three of its youngest Boeings for summer charters next year. The aircraft will be in a high density, all economy class layout, with tour operators to be given the freedom to decide on how the aircraft will be branded.
If a new charter airline is created it is likely to be operated under the name Aeromak, which is a Macedonian subsidiary of Serbia’s former national carrier Jat Airways. Jat attempted to launch flights out of Macedonia under the Aeromak name several years ago but was not granted a license by Macedonian authorities. The CEO of Niš Airport in eastern Serbia, Dragan Bugarinović, has previously said his airport would play a central role in Aeromak’s development. This winter the airport has been left without a single flight following Montenegro Airlines’ suspension of its Podgorica - Niš service.
Meanwhile, Aviogenex’s B737-200, which operated flights for Jat over the summer months, is now in Benin in Africa with Serbian crew operating flights on behalf of Westair Benin. The aircraft is set to return to Serbia by the start of next year’s summer season. The government believes the creation of a new charter airline would also put an end to Aviogenex’s problems.