Air Serbia is looking into the renewal of its regional fleet, which the carrier says is part of its five-year development plan. The airline currently operates six 66-seat ATR 72 aircraft. Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News, Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, said, "There are a few options we are looking at as part of the five-year plan. We are still wedded to the ATRs as an aircraft type, that's for sure, because the ATR has great economics. It is not as fast as the [Bombardier Dash] Q400 and does not carry as many people but on the short routes that we employ those aircraft the ATR is the perfect aircraft".
Air Serbia inherited part of its ATR fleet from JAT Yugoslav Airlines, meaning some of its turboprops will turn 27 this summer. They were delivered new to the carrier in 1990. "We have three aircraft which are fully owned and cost us nothing in terms of lease costs versus three that are payed in excess of $100.000 a month. When you remove a few of the older aircraft you are adding $300.000 a month to the business without the ability to improve the revenue, so they are not easy decisions to make", Mr Kondić noted. Over the past few months, Russian plane manufacturer Sukhoi said it was pitching its 108-seat Superjet 100 to the Serbian carrier, while Canada's Bombardier has noted that a good solution for Air Serbia would be two prone - the Q400 and C-series aircraft.
In 2015 Air Serbia leased an additional ATR, stating it was a "logical step". "These aircraft are well known for their reliability in diverse flight conditions and are ideally suited for our regional routes. Our pilots and crew know this type of aircraft very well, so the latest addition to our fleet can be deployed immediately after the completion of required formalities and provide additional capacity during the peak of the summer season", the carrier noted. Etihad Airways' equity partners operate a mixed regional fleet. Alitalia utilises Embraer jets, while ATR is preferred by Jet Airways. Virgin Australia operates both ATRs and Embraers, while Etihad Regional uses ATRs and Saab aircraft. On the other hand, Air Berlin has opted for the Bombardier Dash 8s.