EX-YU national carriers to develop younger fleets
The national carriers of the former Yugoslavia have all made plans to renew their fleets in the coming years as they look to operate younger, lighter, more fuel efficient and comfortable aircraft. Croatia Airlines currently has the youngest fleet in the former Yugoslavia with its twelve aircraft averaging only 9.6 years. While its Airbus jets are now approaching fifteen years of age, the carrier undertook a fleet modernisation program in 2008 by replacing its ATR42s with the larger Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft. The airline recently retired one of its Airbus A320s which has been scrapped in the Netherlands. Recently, Croatia Airlines’ CEO, Krešimir Kučko, revealed plans to expand the carrier’s fleet in 2015. The airline is looking at adding aircraft with the capacity to seat up to 100 passenger since they would be best suited to operate not only during the summer but also during the slow winter months. In addition, the airline says the aircraft would not be too small like the Bombardier Dash 8 or too large like the Airbus A319/A320 jets it currently features in its fleet. Croatia Airlines has four A319s on order, however, the carrier has delayed their arrival by several years and is looking at completely cancelling the controversial order. The current delivery date of the is now set for 2017 but is likely to be renegotiated.
Adria Airways has made changes to its fleet in 2013. It sold one of its CRJ200s as it looks to ease its reliance on the gas guzzling jet. Another two out of the four CRJ200s are set to be sold by the end of this year with the airline expected to replace them with the extended range version of the CRJ900. Adra’s fleet is currently ten years old with its single A320 entering its twenties. However, both the much younger A319s and the A320 will stay part of the Slovenian carrier’s fleet in the coming years according to its CEO Mark Anžur.
Montenegro Airlines now has some of the oldest Fokker 100s still operating in the world and will have to look for their replacement sooner rather than later. At 23.5 years of age only two other airlines operate older aircraft of the same type. However, the Montenegrin carrier also features some of the youngest planes in the former Yugoslavia. At only four year of age, its Embraer fleet will be bolstered by the arrival of a fourth member this year. The aircraft’s arrival has originally been slated for this April, in time for the 2014 summer season.
With only two aircraft, B&H Airlines’ fleet is now eighteen years old. During last year the Bosnian carrier planned to lease a jet engine aircraft, a Fokker 100, and resume operations to cities such as Amsterdam and Stockholm. However, a difficult financial situation brought to an end such plans. There are currently no means to renew the carrier’s fleet though the financial lease of its two ATRs will expire in 2016. The Bosnian government has revealed the lease agreement has been extremely damaging for the national carrier since it will still be unable to own the aircraft after the financial lease with the Hypo Alpe Adria Bank expires in two years time.
Air Serbia currently has the oldest fleet in the former Yugoslavia at a whopping average age of 22 years. The statistic is dragged down with the airline operating some of the oldest Boeing 737-300s in the world. However, this is expected to change during the year as the carrier phases out all of its B737s. A total of four will be kept for the coming summer season where they will cater exclusively for charters, after which they will end their long run. The airline will continue to add Airbus aircraft this year with the arrival of a further three A319s and another two A320s by April which is further set to bring down its fleet’s average age. It is also believed the carrier will lease additional ATR72s. Air Serbia currently has ten Airbus A320neos on order which will be delivered new to the airline from 2018. The jets will be the first brand new aircraft the carrier has seen since the delivery of an ATR72, registered YU-ALP, on January 29, 1991.