Jat reacts to Wizz Air

Jat launching new marketing campaign
Serbia’s Jat is beginning to react to the recent news that Wizz Air will open a base at its hub Belgrade. Jat’s advertising department has been working hard since December last year when visa free travel to the European Union for Serbian citizens came into effect. Under the slogan “Europe for all of us”, Jat launched an intensive sales campaign after both Niki and AirBaltic announced that they were to begin flights to Serbia. Since January 2010, the airline has been broadcasting “Jat News”, shown on several television networks and thirteen radio stations across the country which sees Jat’s PR manager advertising flights and services several times a day. Recently, the airline launched “The new charm of Jat” campaign. Jat’s new cabin crew smiles from eighty nine billboards in Belgrade in order to silence critics that the airline’s crew is old. Now, the airline is launching yet another advertising campaign. Entitled “In safe hands”, filming of the new commercials took place last week at Jat’s hangers in Belgrade with fifteen pilots participating. The new campaign puts the emphasis on Jat’s relatively sound safety record. The airline has also been undertaking other marketing moves this year such as handing out its summer schedule at key sporting and music events, advertising on the Belgrade Arena, advertisements on Serbia’s most popular websites and newspapers and sponsoring the Exit music festival, the Jat Media Centre reports.

Jat’s latest push to counter the Wizz Air invasion is to reduce prices on select routes and introduce the long awaited free taxi service. In an interview to Tanjug given after Wizz Air's announcment, Jat’s CEO Srdjan Radovanović, said that Jat is not backing down from the implementation of the free taxi service for all of its passengers with a return ticket. Passengers will have the ability to hitch a free ride from Belgrade Airport to anywhere in the city and vice versa. The free taxi shuttle would compliment other new services the airline has introduced recently such as new catering, free health insurance and free plastic wrapping for baggage, he outlined. Radovanović said that new competition is healthy and standard for a European country. He says that Jat’s main competitors are well established world carriers operating to Belgrade such as Lufthansa. He outlines that low cost airlines have their own market and have made Jat improve its own services which allows passengers to get much more than what’s on offer at low cost airlines.


  1. frequentflyer09:44

    Sorry, but where in that article does it actually say WHERE or HOW the airline is reacting to its new-found competition?? Where is the announcement of fleet or frequency upgrades, an increase in frequent flyer points or services offered? That article reads like a propaganda sheet straight from JATs PR department!

    In other news, KF has announced new flights next May HEL-PUY, their 3rd Croatian coastal destination. Good on them, flights to be operated by 717s - OU should be actively codesharing with its *A partner on the route and offering feeder flights etc...

  2. Anonymous10:03

    It actually did say how it's reacting to Wizzair making its base in Belgrade, by lowering the prices on certain routes and starting a new marketing campaign. In addition to that it also said that they plan on introducing the taxi ride. Even if the taxi ride has been mentioned before I am sure that it made Jat rethink it again.
    Fleet and frequency upgreades will be announced with the winter schedule which should come out soon. Anyway the frequency upgreade was indirectly announced in the article where it was said that all the plane will be up in the air.

    On the other hand their summer schedule looked amazing, it was bright and creative...really nice!
    I am happy that they are doing something with themselves. Good for them!

  3. Anonymous10:37

    JAT's CEO has obviously never taken a single business course in his life. To say that low-cost airlines do not represent competition is childish, to say the least. They are direct competition for point-to-point passengers. JAT may still be safe when it comes to transfer passengers, but that won's last forever.
    Looking forward to EasyJet.After they introduced Zagreb, it won't take long to add Belgrade

  4. frequentflyer10:44

    @ Anonymous (#2)

    But weren't we reading about and discussing the taxi proposal (on this very forum) months ago? It could have even been last year! And we were laughing at the apparent 'good safety record' just last week. It's re-hashed, *old* news from the airline - hence my point that nothing in this article directly relates to the recent announcement of W6s latest hub.

    So I ask you to please re-read the very first sentence of today's post. W6s recent entry into the BEG market is a different situation all together, and somehow I don't think JAT would have been able to hobble something together in the few short days since the announcement of Wizz's intention of basing a single plane at BEG.

    Anonymous said:
    Fleet and frequency upgreades will be announced with the winter schedule which should come out soon.

    Please, fleet upgrades? That has to be one of the oldest jokes going around when it comes to JAT. Will they? Won't they? Place an order, then cancel it... it goes on and on.

    I'll believe it when I see it. It will happen eventually, but there's just been too many false starts and broken promises in recent years.

  5. Anonymous11:25

    JAT Airways announced that all aircraft are in the air. What a shame! This should be normal. And to make am immage campaign about the safety record will not change the public opinion that JAT aicraft are old and not very well maintened. Lots of incidents this summer.......
    Bring new aircraft in, lower prices considerably, increase the number of flights.....that will convince the public!

  6. Anonymous11:26

    ^ frequentflyer I’m certain Jat knew about W6 plans weeks ago. They didn’t just accidently start a new ad campaign when Wizz announces new flights, start talking about reducing prices to Montenegro, their tickets to Rome accidently drop 40 Euros from mid November, their CEO gives a big interview to a state news agency about low cost airlines the same day Wizz announces flights. Please...

  7. Anonymous11:50

    First of all, Visa free is not for EU, it for Schengen Area + Bulgaria and Romania, and there is a difference as Ireland and most importantly Uk are not the part of this agreement.

    Second, I think it is important to add the names of the airports , on new destinations side, especially for big cities such Stockholm, Rome, etc, which airport they will be flying to.

    Third, Jat has started doing and Ex YU clearly stated, you just have to read carefuly, what all national airlines were doing and still are doing where competiotion such this one has existed for years now, taht's why very foten you find cheaper tickets with TAP, Lufthansa, BA etc rather than Easyjet, Wizzair, FR etc.... That is the point, a healthy competition and low prices for customers.

  8. Anonymous12:15

    Have you ever thought that the reason why Jat still didn't place an order or lease new planes is because they first wanted to have all their current aircraft in the air?
    What is the point of their 737-700 arriving if their 733s are grounded?
    The reason why Jat is in such a bad state is because of the Serbian government not the managment of the airline!! The government which desperately needs money and is incapable of making it themselves (since they sold pretty much anything that could be sold) are using Jat for that!
    With everything that Jat had to fight from sanctions to its own people refusing to fly with it I am happy that Jat is here where it is today!!

  9. Anonymous13:06

    new ads, old crappy airline

    prices are still too high for most in fmr yugoslavia to fly regularly

  10. Anonymous14:30

    Why should everbody be able to fly? I am against this, flying should be something which is need to bussines and for vacation few times per year (or back home trip), but not for weekends pleasure. But with LCC, you get some "turists" which are there for a few days, go by bus or train if you do not have money.

  11. Anonymous14:42

    EX YU please would you please be so kind and delete this ignorant's comment before mine!

  12. Anonymous15:52

    Even if I do not agree with the before last anonymous I do not think that his comment should be deleted. I thought we lived in a free world where everyone had a right to speak their mind.

    Anyway there are alawys going to be better and less better airlines around. If you have more money then you will fly Jat, Lufthansa or Austrian. If you don't have that much money airlines like Germanwings, Wizzair, Ryanair are always there.
    I will always fly Jat simply because I want and can support the Serbian economy. I do not see why I should pay more and fly Lufthansa within Europe when their service is actually worse than Jat's. On regional flights like let's say to Montenegro I would always chose Jat no matter what, most importantly because I do not trust the Montenegrans when it comes to safety of their fleet! However that is another story.

  13. Anonymous17:45

    first of all lufthansa has one of the best services in the world. let's just make that clear. second, i also fly with jat because i want to support the serbian economy. that is a good thing to do and i hope there are many others who follow suite. but i will say this, jat needs to be in the hands of a businessman, not the serbian government. if i were the serbian government, i would simply have a small, 15-30% stake in the airline and sell the rest. that way the government will be actually making more money than it is now, assuming that the airline is in good hands, and another major company becomes privatized.

  14. Anonymous01:48

    interesting article, but never gonna happen: http://www.seebiz.eu/hr/tvrtke/transport/jat-i-montenegro-airlines-pozivamo-croatiu-airlines-i-adriu-airways-na-udruzivanje,90779.html

  15. milos07:42

    As opposed to people flying JAT to support the Serbian economy, I don't fly JAT to show my discontent with them, call it a boycott if you will, money talks.

  16. @milos
    Fully agree. I also avoid flying Jat, even on the routes where they have direct flights. I prefer to pay a higher price, fly longer with a connection, than to support a crappy airline, think about safety, delays, etc.

    Jat's current management is crappy. Don't blame it on the state. They could have done so many things easily that they haven't done. Instead, they have introduced services that no other airline in the world has even thought about (eg. travel insurance, baggage wrapping(?!), and the planned taxi service to all pax to/from Belgrade airport among others).
    Furthermore the current management is directly responsible for several embarrassments, such as the strike last year, the copilot flying without a license (never ever happened in the history of the airline before), etc.

  17. Anonymous08:35

    Lufthansa has far from the best service around!
    Airlines like Lot, Swiss, Aeroflot, Aegean, Turkish are miles better! Even their trans-atlantic flights are not that great!
    I do not see why we are attacking Jat so much they are doing what others are doing as well. Look at the prices of Austrian Airlines, not just to Belgrade but to many many destinations before Niki became what it is today.. completely different story. Other airline do it too. I fly Jat because I enjoy their service and because theu usually have good times out of Belgrade! I would rather fly Jat for 200 euros to Rome then 100 on Wizzair but have my comfort... In addition to that Jat flies relatively often to its destinations as opposed to other 'cheaper alternatives'...
    Jat will survive Wizzair as they will have something Wizzair will never have and that is a loyal customer base. The group of people who will fly it always be it in Business or Economy where as those that are flying Wizz would not have a problem flying Jat if it was cheaper.

  18. Anonymous08:42

    @Beg long haul

    First of all the government is to blame because they have refused for the longest time to guarantee a loan to Jat. Then, they are to blame because they have put in place previous morons as CEOs like the previous one, I forgot his name that completely withdrew from Montenegro.
    At least this one is doing something, he needed to gather funds which he did. The only way to do it was by cutting costs, cutting costs when your competition has never been worse is never easy, of course he is not going to be popular. The result was an obvious improvement of inflight service, the entire fleet being up in the air, younger cabin crew, getting the safety award, complete refurbishment of the cabin, return to the Montenegran market, almost launched Dubrovnik...
    So what if they had a strike? Which airline doesn't? Look at Lufthansa the so called Alpha and Omega of aviation, their pilots almost went on strike. The most important thing was that they have overcome that by treating their passengers with respect. That is something that a lot of airlines forget to do today!
    Maybe you should stop avoiding Jat from time to time and actually give them a chance!

  19. @anonymous

    I actually fly a lot, and I agree that strikes happen everywhere, but Jat's strike was due to the current management (Srdjan Radovanovic) who had no airline knowledge nor management skills, and he pissed off the guy from Tehnika, completely unnecessarily...

    Instead of decreasing costs, he's just spinning of companies off of Jat, and claiming to lower the number of employees, whereas these people are just going to new companies.

    He has so far managed to increase costs of Jat by introducing or planning to introduce those services that I have talked about. Think about it why NO other successful airline in the world does it? It's because it's an unnecessary cost, and because airlines focus on their core business, not on something frivolous such as taxi service for economy class pax. For God's sake, Jat is an airline, not a taxi service provider.

    There are so many areas where they could be decreasing costs in a rather easy and simple way, but they are not doing it. Why? Lack of knowledge, lack of care...? Who knows...

    They got all the fleet in the air? Hip hip, hooray! They did it at the start of the winter season, when timetables are heavily reduced, so will have those aircraft seating idle at the airport. Smart move if you ask me.

    My hard earned money will keep going to airlines that respect me as a customer. Other people are following suit... just check the airport numbers for the year, and Jat's numbers. The difference is big (increase in numbers for Aerodrom Beograd and a decrease for Jat comparing to last year).

  20. Anonymous09:01

    The decrease in passengers was expected when so many airlines announced their flights to Belgrade. Jat had a monopoly for a long time, naturally that people pissed off by the usual anti Jat arguments are going to give their money to some other airlines.
    I am not saying that this managment is a good one, it is a better one when compared to what we had before. Taxi service is probably one of the most stupid things ever but when you try to balance what has been done during this guy and the previous one there is a clear improvement.
    Like I said if I have a choice between Jat and Lufthansa I would always go with Jat as Lufthansa is actually nothing special... If I have a choice between LH and let's say LO I would always go with LO.
    I do not live in Serbia and Jat flies to my city 5 times a week with more than decent times, I always prefere to pay them and have a good flight home rather than to fly through some third airport... then again, that is just me.

  21. @anonymous

    Do not agree. You've been claiming that it's not the same customer base that flies Jat and the low cost... so the low cost should not be taking away customers away from Jat, as these are, as you say, so loyal to the company.

    People just do not want delays (remember the 12 hour delay in Rome last month, or the delay in Ljubljana, or the delay in Athens, or...). They prefer safety, and don't want to fly on airlines where screws unfasten from plane parts, they want clean aircraft... and business people want better operating hours.

    There are companies that provide all of the above, and Jat is not one of them.

  22. Anonymous09:31

    It is not only low cost that started flights to Belgrade in the past few months. We had Tarom, Malév, Aegean, airBaltic... additional flights by Austrian, Lot, CSA...
    You mentioned a few delays so what..? It happens to any airline, look at Turkish Airlines, number one by delays but people still fly them. Jat's planes are always clean, their ATRs tend to look dirty as they are quite old. Jat's Business Class is extremly comfortable and their service has been improved to offer warm meals on flights, that is more than Lufthansa which give a plate of cold food.
    The times? Well they are not that bad especially as Jat codeshares with many airlines to cover up for the lack of frequencies on their own metal. Early morning departures to Rome, Amsterdam, Paris,London... on all these flights you have an afternoon return. Paria and London on Jat (not daily but still), Rome on Alitalia and now Amsterdam that has proven to be a success will surely see additional flights.
    The problem with Jat is that it needs smaller planes, 737-300 is too big especially for the flights to Germany, Belgium and Scandinavia where a 733 is just to big, E175 would be much better!

  23. JATBEGMEL10:41

    I think JAT is doing good and that the new CEO is being creative, which i think is good. The taxi service to me is an intresting move. Most passengers anyway are collected at the airport, so i dont see how it would cost JAT that much, maybe having emptier cabins cost JAT more. As for the baggage thingy, Belgrade Airport should offer this like in normal airports such as AMS. Again, it is optional, and probably a service that a minority will use. Maybe it should just be left for pax with more than 1 stop, ie: N America or Asia/Oceania bound pax.

    People tend to forget that JAT brang debt from the SFRY days and that JAT wasnt managed properly during the 1990's, nor has it had the attention it needed in 20 years. To continue, the government is more focused on selling off companies rather then improving them, and more talk has gone on about selling it rather than fixing the issue. Belgrade Airport management offers more assistance to other airlines other than JAT who is based at the airport, such as lower taxes.

    @ frequentflyer

    you name 1 accident that JAT was responsible for that resaulted in a loss of life and i will keep quiet. JAT has an excellent safety record in its 81 years of flying. I certainly wasnt laughing at news that JAT ranked high in regards to safety so speak for yourself.

  24. Anonymous15:51

    this is the first time belgrade has been linked up with london with the prices that are fair. thank god for wizz to start off

  25. JATBEGMEL11:11

    @ anonymous

    this weekend BEG-LON return

    Wizz 18.400 din. BEG-LTN
    BA 34.400 din. BEG-LHR
    JAT 42.200 din. BEG-LHR


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