United in air

EX-YU airlines react to unification proposal
Airlines in the former Yugoslavia have begun to react after the Association of European Airlines announced that the only solution for the aviation industry in the region is the formation of a single national carrier for the EX-YU countries. The news was followed by Adria Airways’ statement that it would take a leading role in the creation of the new airline if its privatisation process, which will take place this year, fails. Jat Airways has said it has learnt about the initiative via the media while B&H Airlines stated that it still hasn’t been contacted on the matter. Croatia Airlines claims that any such idea is unrealistic and unacceptable, although notes that a united front in the marketing division is possible only if the Croatian carrier takes a leading role.

However, the idea of a more united approach in the region was first suggested by Jat Airways in 2010 when it proposed an EX-YU alliance. The alliance was to function so airlines of the former Yugoslavia had lower handling fees at each other’s airports, would code share on each other’s flights and have an integrated booking system. Montenegro Airlines and Skywings International from Macedonia (which has since gone bankrupt) both agreed to the alliance, while Adria showed interest, although said it would have to take control over the alliance if it were to join. Croatia Airlines rejected its invitation. In the end the alliance never saw the light of day.

Today, the airlines of the former Yugoslavia handle some five million passengers annually, which is just a fraction above what JAT Yugoslav Airlines handled back in 1987. The central problem for all of the national carriers is that they are losing money at an alarming rate and all rely on government subsidies - some more, some less. With the exception of Croatia Airlines, all of the EX-YU carriers have at least one code share agreement with another airline in the former Yugoslavia. On the other hand, Croatia Airlines and Adria enjoy a common business plan model agreement. The two airlines agreed to strengthen ties and cooperate on jet leasing as a means of improving efficiency and streamlining fleet utilisation. The Association of European Airlines concludes, “The once single Yugoslav market is now fragmented and a regional solution is necessary. The region needs an airline that would cover local needs and connect with global hubs”.


  1. Anonymous09:27

    yes, they should unite only because of profit.. there is no airliner flying to US, Canada, Australia, Asia from the region of exYU. and it is shame. now, in 2012 austrian airlines, swiss and many more bestknown airliners do not fly to cities where JAT was flying 25 years ago, so think about it.

    1. No airlines from Italy, Greece, Spain, France and all of Europe except Britain and just barley Germany has flights to Australia so what makes you think the Former Yugo should?

  2. Anonymous10:30

    Croatia Airlines would only merge with Adria Airways for obvious reasons. Both have modern fleets and are in the Star Alliance...and Croatia will soon join Slovenia in the EU. There will always be Croatia Airlines and an Adria Airways..just united under one umbrella :) Let the Western Balkans form their own alliance. There is no way the Croatian Government will allow their modern planes being used by Serbia....the very country that took the entire JAT fleet for themselves in 1991...the same planes that are still in their now outdated fleet

  3. Anonymous10:55

    ^ and what did you think that would happen? That the Serbs would say, you wanna dissolve a country, here's a couple of DC10s as a gift.
    Anyways, not for this move at the cost of closing Jat forever and ever. Again we see, yes Adria would join if it had a leading role, Croatia should have a leading role, everyone wants to be the boss... So never integration..

  4. Anonymous11:02

    I hope it never materializes. I am sick of my tax money going to the looser of CTN, i don't want to finance for more losers from the region. Thank you, but no thank you.

    1. What tax money went to OU??? If anything its more likely the other way around which would explain the OU losses which are really not that explainable.

  5. Anonymous11:07


    Croatia Airlines- Enjoy!

    Adria Airways - Croatia Airlines-Star Alliance

  6. frequentflyer11:15

    Sretan Uskrs to all those who celebrated yesterday!

    There is NO way we will see anything resembling pre-breakup JAT returning to the skies. It's not feasible politically, geographically nor economically. You don't combine two (or in this case, 6 or 7) loss-making companies and suddenly they turn a profit - that's not only illogical, it is reckless and will lead to ruin.

    If we see anything in the next few years, it will be some consolidation: we may end up with two or three airlines, or as JP has been doing, basing aircraft away from home in attempts to better utilise fleets.

    @ Anonymous 0130am

    Yes, but neither OU or JP has government-free management or exactly the 'right fleet' for their current needs: OU needs at least 2 more Q400s and won't have the aged 320s out of the fleet for the next 2 years, and JP has no need for their Airbus fleet (~100-seaters would be far better), and must replace thirsty CR2s with props ASAP as jet fuel continues to skyrocket.

  7. Anonymous11:33

    Both JP and OU are such a profitable companies. They together without the fast growing market of Serbia would not have any chance. Anyway, if domestic carriers do not see a chance, change will be taken by other airlines. If you ask me, even better, because aviation in ex YU is so low, and dominated by amateurs.

  8. Anonymous12:16

    A union between OU and JP would work as both are in *A and have modern fleets. The real benefit could come through JP flying from ZAD, SPU and DBV in the summer months to help OU who's fleet is stretched in the summer months.

  9. Anonymous12:47

    There's no stupid idea like this! Honestly, don't fool the people by telling it's econimically neccessary to unite the air airlines. Someone just feels a bit too yugostalgic. If it's a financial matter, why isn't Serbia looking towards its Eastern neighbours? I am sure this would make much more sense. Especially Southern Serbia could profit from being close to Sofia. It just doesn't feel right ! I hope this won't work!

  10. Anonymous13:40

    Dear brothers and sisters,

    dont wash the brain to each other! Lufthansa will do! :) Sooner as we can expect and we will have to accept it :)

    I vote for 2 airlines:
    1) ex-yu (SAS) version multinational airliner
    2) whole Balkan region low cost airliner

    the whole should be reorganized by professional management. :)

    I hope not to spend even 1 EUR more taxes on all this shitty airliners!

  11. Anonymous16:21

    Just wait until Croatia joins the EU and then see where Croatia Airlines ends up. Does Malev ring a bell? Croatia Airlines will crumble within months without government subsidies. Their only hope will be if Lufthansa buys them out.

    I have a separate question though. Instead of trying to figure out a way of combining 4-6 separate airlines, why doesn't one of those airlines (or a brand new one) try and create a network that would resemble the old JAT?

  12. Anonymous18:08

    HEy guys can somebody please tell me is there a way to find out the loadfactor of each airline to and from destinations in ex yu, i dont think so but maybe there is.
    Greetings from Canada

  13. Anonymous20:01

    I am sick an tired of Croatians telling us that this is not going to happen. We know it's not going to happen, relax, because the Serbs do not want it either. It seems the Slovenians are the only ones who tend to like the idea. I much more prefer to see OU loosing 30-50 million € yearly playing LH poodle instead of setting up a proper network. The croatian goverment will not be able to help as from next year! The EU commission will have a watchful eye on that. Malev knows to tell a story about it.

  14. Anonymous01:59

    If only people could let go of the past and let these plans materialise. Nothing would be better than having these nations work together again :)

  15. Whatever may happen( whether they stay under one umbrella or not), I hope that the people from those regions will be benefited. And I guess it's nice to see those nations work together again.

    James David teaches people how to buy single engine airplanes & has a passion for the Cessna 177

  16. Anonymous12:00

    I am also sick of people saying how the croatian goveremnt will cease to finance OU once we are in the union. yes that will happen and yes OU will probalby follow Malev faith. survival of the fittest. same will happen to JAT also, one nice day when Serbia enters union. And yes i really hope this stupid idea never materializes, cause we don't need neo yugo anything.

    1. Anonymous13:49

      But Adria can can find always a way to be financed by taxpayers money.
      Till when -no deadline-?
      Always new eschamotages ... ahh Balkan

  17. Yes, "United" has been "in air" for decades. Based in Chicago, US, correct me if I'm wrong.

    And that's all I have to say about this stupid topic, stupid proposal, stupid headline and stupid comments, which are mostly either yugonostalgic or nationalistic, quite opposite to what we need...


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