Jat begins fleet renewal

fAirbus and Jat Airways negotiations begin
Today, Jat Airways will begin talks to renew its aging fleet of Boeing B737s and ATR72s for the first time since 1998. The delegation from Airbus will be arriving in Belgrade today to discuss the order made by Jat more than a decade ago for 8 Airbus A319s. In 1998 the Yugoslav government made the order which was extremely damaging to the Serbian carrier. This was revealed after the fall of the government in late 2000. The aircrafts were extremely expensive and although Jat has already paid millions for the aircraft it owes much more. Jat no longer wants the aircraft, which were never delivered and in 2006 tried to offer the order to another carrier. No airline was willing to accept and Jat has been left with the order for many years. Now there is hope that the Airbus deal can be resolved. Jat’s management also named the 3 member team which will, in June, travel to the Paris Air Show to carry out negotiations with aircraft manufacturers. The team will be made up of pilot and instructor Nenad Petrović and vice presidents of Jat’s board of directors Tanja Jovanović and Mića Jovanović. Jat will receive a total of 4 new aircraft in 2010.

On Monday, June 1, the airline’s management officially passed the plan for a new visual look as well as a new name for the Serbian carrier, to be applied in 2010. The airline’s management also announced that all sectors of Jat will have younger employees replacing current ones, something which will not go down well with the unions within Jat, especially cabin crew. From tomorrow evening Jat will have a new CEO. The Serbian government will, during its usual Thursday afternoon ministry meeting, select and name the airline’s new CEO.

Meanwhile, a resolution to the war between Jat Airways and Turkish charter companies is nowhere in sight. The Turkish government will not issue a licence to Jat to begin charter flights to Antalya while the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate will not issue licenses to a total of 6 Turkish charter companies wanting to begin flights to Belgrade. Many Serbian tourists travelling to Turkey with Jat this summer are anxious to see a resolution to this problem. Jat’s management has said that if the airline does not receive a license for charter flights to Turkey it will apply for a license for regular flights between Belgrade and Antalya. Reports also suggest that the Serbian national carrier has received the green light from the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency to commence flights to Dubrovnik from July this year.


  1. frequentflyer15:36

    A new airbus fleet may not be such a bad thing for JAT (or whatever they're going to be called next year). Replacing 120-seat ageing 737s with fuel efficient 130- or 140-seat 319s could actually prove a cost saving/profit to them!

    How much money was already spent/put as a deposit? Was it a serious investment? And why wouldn't any other airline take over JAT's order of 8 319s?

    Is it they don't want the aircraft because they feel they have been harshly done by, or they genuinely wish to keep one of the major global aircraft makers out of business, especially one run by an organisation Serbia may wish to join in the future (aka the EU), then it may be time to put the tissues away and stop sulking. That said, it may actually be a very sensible reason.

    This is good progress that they're talking, but perplexing.

    Could any fleet orders that JAT makes go to MAT (of which then, shouldn't more new planes have been ordered)? Or will we see MAT get its old fleet back from the lessors?

    In the other matter listed about charter flights, OSI and connecting 90-min bus trip is a good alternative if they can't get in at BEG (as Lotus Air have chosen from Egypt).

  2. Anonymous00:03

    There's no chance in hell Jat will be taking any of those Airbus'. That contract is signed by blood - the ex Serbian PM who signed the contract is dead, if he weren't, he'd be sat in a prison in The Hague.

    The visit is nothing more than a 'courtesy' visit, and these are typical bi-annual events.

  3. Plus, I heard ealier Jat prefers Boeing planes especially due to the fact that most Jat pilots are more accustomed to the Boeing cockpits/controls than the Airbus ones.

    In my opinion, Jat definetly needs a plan to replace those really old 737s. The planes are already 23-24 years old, right? It's only a matter of time before their D checks will cost about the same or even more than the frames themselves, and it would potentially be financial suicide if Jat were forced to keep using these planes if an event like this were to happen.

  4. @ frequenttflyer, the deal with Airbus amounts to 580 million US dollars. Jat has deposited 23.5 million so far. No airline wanted to take the order because they find it extremely expensive. The entire deal is very murky as were most things at the time and ir is believed that Airbus also didn't play fair. Because of the nature of the deal no changes can be maid to it. Furthermore Jat would not own any of the aircraft until the total 580 million would be paid. If Jat maid regular payments from the beginning it would have been the owner of the aircraft in 2015 (17 years after the order and 15 years after the first expected delivery). Also, as one reader says Jat pilots do not see this as a good deal because they are used to Boeing aircraft and Jat Tehnika has no Airbus spare parts which would also have to be bought.

  5. Also, I think Boeing had plans to establish a service centre in Belgrade. If I can remember correctly, this could have been one of the reasons why Jat did no go ahead with the deal at that time.

    I do not know if Boeing still have these plans but I also remember people in Croatia were upset that OU went to Airbus and did not go Boeing in the hope that Boeing might consider Zagreb over Belgrade. Anyway this could be very old new now.

  6. Old news now (is what I ment to say)

  7. frequentflyer15:27

    Thanks ex-YU and Q400.

    Even Blind Freddy could see that $570m was a rip-off then (even now with the average price of a singluar new 319 around $70m, and better prices for buying in bulk), so is the contract so iron-clad that all the money invested is forever lost? $23.5m would buy you a new Sukhoi 100 or even an ATR72 with change!!

    The best solution would be that Airbus uses that money already paid by JAT for a new contract at much reasonable levels. Both sides would gain from the experience and could retreat without losing face.

    It's not impossible for an airline to change its fleet, but somehow though from reading the above notes it probably won't happen!!

  8. They have had huge problems with Airbus over the past years and I assume the public doesn’t even know half of the story. Your observations are correct but we will have to wait and see what happens. Overall it can be seen what a very bad deal this was

  9. Anonymous19:29

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Anonymous01:37

    Dear Ex-YU aviation:

    With all due respect, you're merely guessing at the details and reality of the Airbus contract based on media speculation. Your assertion of the price, or the relationship between Airbus & Jat, plus the comments on the Jat Tehnika 'issues' - are all totally wrong. Sorry.

    Do you really think that Airbus would have sold planes to Jat without a support clause in the contract that would have included training and certification courses for the mechanics? (Getting a depot of spare A319 parts is the least complicated aspect of changing to a new fleet type)

    Please respond constructively rather than merely deleting posts that don't you agree with, otherwise you're devaluing the objectivity of your own site.

  11. Your comment was deleted due to your overall tone and it was the first comment that was ever deleted from here. The news item is based on media reports. Nowhere in here does it say that this is some sort of exclusive or insider news. The price of the deal has been disclosed by many of Jat’s CEO (present and past) as well as the government so we can only speculate that it is true. Yesterday evening the Union of Serbian Aircraft Mechanics released a statement: “Želimo samo da upozorimo NA vreme šta se može desiti ako nespremni dočekamo dolazak novih aviona. poučeni iskustvom možemo samo da pretpostavimo da ćemo se opet u nekom trenutku, kada dođu novi avioni hvatati za glavu optužujući jedni druge ko je za šta više kriv. Upozoravamo da JAT Tehnika nije opremljena za rad na Erbasovima, da nemamo školovanog kadra bilo kog profila kao i to da će se onda postavlja pitanje samog ugovora sa JAT Airways-om ukoliko nabavi novu flotu koju mi za sada ne možemo da održavamo!” So as you can see there is obviously a problem there.


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