|Aviogenex’s last aircraft on sale next week|
The auction of Aviogenex’s sole aircraft, a Boeing 737-200 jet, has been scheduled for next week following a judgment by Belgrade’s Basic Court made last summer. Aviogenex was found liable for outstanding debt owed towards Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport amounting to 200.000 euros. Since the payment has not been made, the bailiff has scheduled the aircraft’s sale, through a silent auction, for May 5, which would effectively bring about the end of what was once the former Yugoslavia’s busiest charter airline. Serbian media have stayed silent on the topic, with Aviogenex employees claiming the move is aimed at destroying the company, which was sent into liquidation by the government earlier this year despite interest from foreign investors.
Aviogenex’s 28 year-old Boeing 737-200, registered YU-ANP, is one of the last aircraft of its type produced by the US manufacturer and is younger than all four of Air Serbia’s Boeing 737-300 jets. The plane has been valued at 203.600 euros. The starting price for the May 5 auction will amount to 60% of the aircraft’s estimated value. If the auction is unsuccessful, a second round of bidding will take place, with the starting price to be set at no less than 30% of the estimated value of the aircraft. Aviogenex last operated flights during the 2013/14 winter season on behalf of Westair Benin to which it leased its aircraft, pilots, crew and maintenance staff. The jet returned to Belgrade in early 2014 and has been grounded ever since. In previous years, the airline operated on behalf of Jat Airways during the peak summer months, as the Serbian national carrier faced a chronic fleet shortage. Ironically, millions were invested in the aircraft’s overhaul just several years ago.
Prior to the break-up of Yugoslavia, Aviogenex was the busiest charter airline in the country, handling over half a million passengers per year in the late 1980s. However, the carrier has fallen on hard times. It counts 39 employees, which includes pilots, cabin crew, ground engineers and flight dispatchers, which have not been paid in over a year. Despite an attempt to privatise the airline, the Serbian government announced earlier this year that Aviogenex will be liquidated since no interest was shown. However, JetVision Balkan from Serbia, GLT Overseas (Middle East) from the United Arab Emirates, Euroswiss Investment Holding from Switzerland and Arctica Airlines from Russia all submitted letters of intent for the purchase of Aviogenex in August 2014. The company says its privatisation process has been mishandled by the government so as to protect the interests of the Etihad-backed Air Serbia. Its employees claim that the state does not want to create additional competition for its national airline. Aviogenex was set up in 1968. In 1990, its busiest year, it handled 633.932 passengers with a fleet of ten aircraft.