Air Serbia's CEO resigns

Dane Kondić has resigned from his post as the CEO of Air Serbia for personal reasons after more than four years at the company's helm. Duncan Naysmith, who is currently the airline’s Chief Financial and Business Transformation Officer, has been appointed as Interim Chief Executive Officer while the airline embarks on a search for a permanent replacement for Mr Kondić. Consistent with the company’s leadership transition plan, Mr Naysmith will assume full management responsibilities effective immediately, with a handover period in place until Mr Kondić leaves Air Serbia at the end of January 2018. The development comes just a week after the Emirati carrier replaced the head of Air Seychelles in which it owns a 40% stake. Mr Kondić was initially contracted to run Serbia's national airline for a five-year period. He became the CEO of Jat Airways in September 2013 and steered the carrier's relaunch into Air Serbia. He is credited with managing the airline through its transitional period, which resulted in fleet and product renewal, the resumption of transatlantic flights, significant growth in passenger numbers, as well as three consecutive years of profit.

The Chairman of Air Serbia's Supervisory Board, Siniša Mali, said, “On behalf of the Supervisory Board, I extend my personal thanks to Dane Kondić, who, during his tenure, has overseen a period of significant achievements and milestones including the expansion of the route network, which extends as far as New York, the upgrade of the product, the introduction of a modern fleet, and an improved financial performance". He added, "Duncan Naysmith is an experienced leader and has the complete confidence of the Board as we reposition the business for continued development". Kevin Knight, Etihad Aviation Group Chief Strategy and Planning Officer and Vice Chairman of the Board of Air Serbia, said, “Air Serbia has made great strides in all areas of its operations since its launch in 2013 and stands today as an excellent example of a successful corporate transformation. Dane Kondić has successfully led this part of the Air Serbia story and we thank him for his tremendous contribution and dedication". He added, “The new leadership will focus on a clear strategy to meet the challenges ahead and ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for the airline. We know we can rely on Duncan Naysmith’s proven skills and experience to lead Air Serbia during this time. Etihad is committed to providing its expertise and on-going support to Air Serbia both as a major shareholder and partner".

Mr Kondić was born in Sydney to Serbian parents. He graduated economics at the University of New South Wales in Sydney and started his career with Qantas before becoming the General Manager of Worldwide Sales at Malaysia Airlines. He subsequently moved to take on the role of managing a tour operator, and was heading the North Asia region for a major wholesaler, based in Hong Kong before taking up a post at Etihad Airways. Mr Kondić become the first non-political appointment to head Serbia's national airline. However, his critics have noted that the company's initial strategy was a miss, which has resulted in a year of cost cutting and rationalisation, and that the airline would have struggled had it not received financial support from the Serbian government.

Duncan Naysmith

In July, Air Serbia announced solid half-year operational results, carrying 1.12 million passengers during the first six months of 2017, representing an increase of 3% over the same period in the previous year, and achieving an average load factor of 70.5%. The airline’s cargo operations also recorded significant double-digit growth of 54.6% over the corresponding period in 2016.


  1. this was supposed to be a day off for admin? :D

  2. Anonymous16:43

    It's a Christmas miracle. This is what the airline needed. It's time for this man to go. He has singlehandedly ruined ASL by chasing most of the competent workforce and has replaced them with crony, brainless servants.

    I hope Duncan doesn't stick around, he isn't much better.

    1. Anonymous18:16


    2. Anonymous18:58

      My Christmas is two weeks away but I see how this is your Christmas and your Christmas miracle. Everyone that hates success Air Serbia made since 2013 hopes this change would reverse Air Serbia fortunes and bring back incompetent political "management" that was in place before 2013. They are never coming back. Original JU/EY agreement allowed Etihad to have certain management functions and this change is just a continuation of that function. Haters that hope W6 or LH will suddenly take over, or they won't "have to pay taxes any more" are in deep denial.

    3. Dejan19:09

      @Anonymous 6:58 PM
      On a day such as this please stop eating the company sandwich. Try turkey instead!

    4. Anonymous23:07

      Dejan: I live on a different continent and I am not affiliated with any airline or political party. Do you have any facts to bring to this argument?

    5. Anonymous07:00

      People are actually cheering because this is great news for JU and now we all know that there is hope! So chill Anon 06.58

    6. Anonymous16:52

      New CEO notwithstanding, what great news do you expect for JU?

  3. Is it true that Ethihad quits AirSerbia, too?

    1. Anonymous16:45

      Read the artocle.

      "Etihad is committed to providing its expertise and on-going support to Air Serbia both as a major shareholder and partner".

    2. Anonymous16:53


    3. Anonymous17:10

      That's somebody's wet dream only.

    4. It is not my dream at all! Just heard the rumors.

      P.S. I did read the article.

    5. Anonymous18:17

      The fact that Etihad named the new CEO and not the Serbian government is an indication that they are here to stay.

    6. Anonymous18:26

      Etihad named the new INTERIM CEO.

    7. Anonymous18:28

      If they were not interested they would not have named anyone. It is obviously part of a new organisation inside what they have left. The new CEO of Air Seychelles also named last week as mentioned in the text.

  4. Anonymous16:48


  5. Anonymous16:52

    Idi Dane da nam svane!

    1. Anonymous19:05

      Kao da se Dane za nešto pitao ?

      Jedno pitanje : koliko još starih Boinga, koji već dugo ne lete, je u planu da se reaktivira ? Onda bi neki od Erbaseva bili višak ... Da ne bude zabune, ovo je sasvim ozbiljno pitanje.

  6. Anonymous17:00

    Good luck to the new CEO.

  7. Anonymous17:01

    Maybe there is room for him at Gulf Air.

    1. Anonymous19:37

      Hahahaha, good one, I like it :) :) :)

    2. Anonymous02:41

      I met Dane in NYC. I believe it was in 2005. He was presenting himself as a Bosnian since his parents were from Prijedor. This is what he told to his employer, Malaysian Airlines, at the time. He will probably read this post, and he may remember me negotiating with Malaysian Airlines. He made it all the way from Malaysia to participate and made sure our deal did not go through... Thank you Dane! You saved me from, a bunch of hurdles.

  8. Anonymous17:01

    Business Transformation Officer o.O I assume he was the one who brought in all the cost cutting changes.

  9. Anonymous17:03

    I'm crying tears of joy. There may yet be hope for this company.

    My sincere congratulations to all JU employees.

  10. Nemjee17:12

    I guess we now know why the concession announcement was postponed.

  11. Anonymous17:18

    Really bad news for all foreign carriers in BEG!

    1. That is VERY true!
      Especially if the substitute is not someone from Etihad group's school of "management" but someone who is actually competent.

    2. Anonymous19:16

      Dane managed to get rid of horrible Bulgarian 737 leases, to get FAs to deliver quality service for the first time in decades, introduce decent Airbus planes into fleet, expand destinations, LF and pax numbers that also helped BEG break 4 and 5M records and multiply airport value, increase brand recognition and value, increase on-time performance, introduce everything jat didn't have, from online checkin to onboard wifi and streaming media, brought back transatlantic service after quarter of a century, list goes on. And YOU call that incompetent? What more did YOU do in aviation in the last 5 years?

    3. Anonymous21:11


    4. Napravio je on dosta toga pozitivnong i uspešnog za AS. Od propalog JATa uspeo je da napravi donekle uspešnu i stabilnu kompaniju. Naravno nije niko savršen pa tako nije ni on. Čovek nije bio u mogućnosti da upravlja AS sam pošto naravno i EY i vlada Srbije imaju dosta uticaja na razvoj kompanije. Dosta je tu špekulacija da on odlazi zbog famijarnih razloga kao i da je bio u odnosima sa jednom od radnica AS i da se Etihad menažmentu nije dopalo i morao je da ode. Ko zna šta je tu prava istina. Bitno je da dođe neko ko će AS povući u dalji razvoj i napredak .

    5. Anonymous23:16

      Bez obzira na razloge odlaska mora se priznati da ostavlja firmu mnogo bolju nego sto je zatekao. Nije moguce biti savrsen u okolnostima dva ponekad suprostavljena suvlasnika, u okolnostima gde druge drzave u okruzenju sprecavaju sirenje i preuzimanje njihovih avio kompanija i tuze te, gde LH i W6 vrse pritisak preko EK i na druge nacine protiv tebe itd. Kondic ce jednog dana kad se spusti prasina biti upisan zlatnim slovima u istoriju vazduhoplovstva Srbije.

    6. Jovan A.06:59

      Dane je dobro odrađivao posao dok je bilo kapitala da se sprovode reforme.
      Nakon toga morao je da se dokaže i da pokaže svima da je sposoban menadžer što očito nije bio. Svi mi možemo da uvodimo nove uniforme, ofarbamo avione (za koje mi nismo pregovarali btw), zaposlimo nove ljude... ali njegova primarna dužnost je bila da napravi profitabilnu i stabilnu firmu. E tu je okinuo.

      Firma je gubila sve više para. Svaki čas je menjala korporativnu politku, od legasija do niskobužetne za svega 4 godina postojanja. Povlačenje sa mnogih tržišta. Neuspeh u privlačenju transfernih putnika. Smanjenje učestalosti na ključnim tržistima poput CDG, STR, DUS...

      Mnoge je otpustio a mnogi su i otišli sami. I dalje se sećam jedne dame koja je došla iz Švajcarske gde je radila za Qatar. Posle nedelju dana napustila je firmu zbog loših uslova i mobinga.

      Ne zaboravimo Danetovu brilijantnu ideju gde je odlučio da posada čisti avion te im je svima obezbedio Brisko.
      Zahvaljujući tom istom Danetu inspekcije na stranim aerodromima su redovna pojava. WC-i na mnogim letovima ne rade jer se štedi na svemu.

      Dakle nije Dane ništa spektakularno uradio. Sve što je pozitivno urađeno je rezultat političke volje i naređenja iz Etihada.
      Ove sulude odluke u prethodnih nekoliko godina, e dragi moji, to vam je Dane.

    7. Hot Lane... apsolutno se slazem. Znaci dolazi neko da vodi kompaniju koja je uskoro bila zatvorena. Ima on sta iza sebe da je ostavio koje je pozitivno. Upravljati firmom koja nema finansije nije lako, a ovi koji tvrde da je pravio greske neka sr postave na njegovo mesto, kada vide da taj posao znaci 10-15 sata radnog dana pa i vikende uglavnom poslovne ima da se pitaju posle kada je uspevao sve da postigne i da dovede Air Srbiju na nivou gde i danas jeste.

    8. Anonymous15:05

      Jovan A: "Svi mi možemo da uvodimo nove uniforme, ofarbamo avione"

      tvoj jat nije mogao cak ni to. avioni su bili sa tri tacke ili beli. Nije valjda da su ljudi vec zaboravili kako je to izgledalo, kakav je ovo pokusaj falsifikata istorije? jat je tokom decenija sprzio mnogo vise para za mnogo manje rezultata.

      "Svaki čas je menjala korporativnu politku". Svaki cas?!? Bila je samo jedna (polu) promena sa novim sedistima i naplacivanjem. Promene destinacija su normalne u svakoj drugoj firmi na svetu.

      "Povlačenje sa mnogih tržišta. Neuspeh u privlačenju transfernih putnika". I dalje lete na mnogo vise trzista nego jat 2012 i imaju mnogo vise putnika i prihoda. Kakav neuspeh sa transfernim trzistima, pa Tirana, Bejrut, Grcka i gomila drugih mesta zivi od transfernih putnika.

      "Mnoge je otpustio a mnogi su i otišli sami." Bas tako treba da bude. Nema razlike u odnosu na globalne firme.

      "Dakle nije Dane ništa spektakularno uradio" Pogledaj sve ono sto je nabrojano u komentaru od 7:16 a to je samo deo napretka. To je bukvalno spektakularno u odnosu na vreme pre 2013.

  12. Anonymous17:51

    Mixed feelings about the man... he had a good start but then either became complaisant or overwhelmed by SNS leading group and lost focus on growth. The future will only tell if he was that bad as CEO.

  13. Anonymous17:55

    Duncan = another Brit = you must not trust!

  14. Anonymous18:14

    Posle Naysmitha dolazi Elzett.

    1. Anonymous18:18


    2. Anonymous18:40

      To je proizvođač brava za vrata. Hoće da kaže da je posle Duncana ključ u bravu...

    3. Anonymous20:08

      E sada sam siguran da 2018. pocinju da dolaze A320neo i jos jedan A332 za Toronto, Delhi, ...

    4. Anonymous20:19

      Ko pije, a ko plaća?

  15. Anonymous18:25

    This new guy was the CFO at Alitalia and look what he was responsible in doing there !!!!!

    GOD help us ....

    1. Anonymous18:35

      And people wish that EY stays at Air Serbia and continues with its "leadership"...

  16. Anonymous18:25

    Christmas came early in Serbija!

  17. LJUBICA18:43

    Good riddance. Marry Christmas to all Serbian people today and on the 7th of January.

  18. Anonymous18:52

    Well no wonder, he was not an example of how to run an airline anyway (although most of unreasonable decisions were probably not even made by him).
    Air Serbia indeed is a large progress compared to what Jat was, but they could have done so much more than they did.
    Considering it's location Belgrade has so much potential to become a Balkan hub and main transfer point, but there are countless markets where ASL has no presence yet they could. So many untapped cities (Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Dublin, Lyon, Naples, Oslo, Helsinki, Riga, Minsk, Baku, Rostov, Sochi, Casablanca, Cairo, Astana....), so many potential places in region that could feed their network with transfer passengers, some of which were even considered (Romania - Cluj, Oradea, Iasi; Croatia - Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Pula (could work during winter season); Mostar, Chisinau, even Debrecen, Lviv, Odessa, Polish cities...)
    They could have made an effort to cover closer markets before thinking about JFK, and only after they spread their presence in Europe launch New York, Chicago, Toronto, Beijing, Shanghai, Delhi, later on maybe even Seoul, Tokyo etc. All of this could realistically be done.
    They canceled Budapest, Warsaw, Kiev, ISTANBUL... How on earth did they manage to fail in these large markets is beyond me.

    1. Anonymous19:01

      Great post.

    2. Anonymous21:24

      Aerologic wrote a great article about it recently saying the same thing

    3. JU520 BEGLAX21:46

      Why IST, BUD did not work. Ask other airlines who quite for example IST. Government sponsored competitions who kill the market. Other challenge the LCC which are a threat to more and more legacy carriers around Europe, except there where IAG LH AF/KL created own LCC to fight Wizz Air, FR and EZY.
      JU was in no alliance and had code shares with two succesful European airlines: AZ, AB
      I say these since years, we need to come away from that thinking that each nation needs its own carriers. Those times are over. Serbia is LCC market and premium passengers prefer to fly on Gulf Carriers or via ZRH MUC LHR FRA etc to zhe world. I think what JU achieved in 4 years was remarkable but again how much money was government cash, I personally dont know but we can assume that under the circumstances with old JAT debts etc, it was a quite a lot. I think time has come where arabs have to achnowledge they should bake smaller rolls. What this will mean for EY partners we shall see

    4. Anonymous23:17

      RO, LO and A3 didn't quit IST so...

    5. Anonymous10:32

      Vise od polovine ovih gradova ne moze da leti bez dotacija tih gradova ili obaranja usluga kao u Nis. Bacanje samo imena samo znaci da slabo sta hebes i da si frustriran. Neozbilji postovi samo tako.

    6. LX quit Istanbul. From multiple flights a day as well. Why? ‘Major’ airlines are always pulling out of local markets. Also BEG-BUD I can’t picture being popular with majority of that market being in Vojvodina. Why would you spend an hour driving to BEG to fly backwards?! All these other markets can’t survive without point to point traffic to sustain it. You can’t rely just on transfer traffic. If AS did that and had <50% LF you would conplain how it’s a wasted market and just throwing money in the air.

      I still don’t understand how everyone knows what the problem is with AS, always claiming creative accounting practices, etc... why doesn’t everyone just put their hand up and apply for this job? Oh yeah I forgot you need the appropriate qualifications and business acumen which obviously Dane did or EY/JU wouldn’t hire him.

    7. Anonymous18:54

      Well, i don't know if BEG-BUD is realistic, but most of potential would not be people from Vojvodina but business people. They usually go by car, but it is about 4h drive from Belgrade plus you often need 1h or even more at the border. Sofia is similar driving distance...

  19. Komnen Soskic18:54

    Ako administrator dosledno sledi svoju politiku da ne sme da bude vredjanja (uklonio je moj komentar) onda treba da ukloni celu vest. Dotični CEO je bio uvreda za celu kompaniju

    1. Anonymous11:13

      And after all your years in the UK, you can't respond in English on a blog whose main language is infact English

    2. Komnen Soskic12:44

      Can't and not wanting to - they are completely different affairs. As his Serbian was poor and in order to understand what is going on he and his cronies set up English as an official company language. Luckily you and 99.99% commentators on this site understand Serbian

  20. Anonymous19:15

    Mozda novi koncesionar aerodroma nije po volji doticnom gospodinu, pa je zato resio da se povuce iz "licnih" razloga? ...

    1. Anonymous19:20

      Smena je dosla na zahtev Etihada, a ovo "licni razlozi" je samo fin i kulturan izgovor za razlaz koji ne steti nikome (on je kao morao, a ovi se eto kao slozili).

  21. Perhaps the new interim CEO had to leave Alitalia for personal reasons as well.

    Waiting to see what is hiding behind all this mess.

  22. Anonymous09:09

    People are so naive. They think Dane was the one who imposed all the restrictions and cost cutting measures, while in fact he was probably just doing what big bosses for UAE ordered him to do. I wouldnt be surprised he resigned because he stood up against them and their measures. They now brought another puppet to execute their demands.

  23. dane biggest mistakes are actually tasks that were put on him from the top. bad ideas that he didn't have the muscle to fight. but, i must admit he did it very efficiently.

    - taking etihad loans on 7% and putting that money into the bank with 2% interest rate. somebody would really need to sit in jail because of this

    - boutique approach when 90% of your flights are short hauls, market is poor and entire industry is struggling with lccs

    - starting money looser to JFK

    on the other hand he had some mistakes himself, mostly because he didn't understand some parts of the business, so he never really took control of those processes.
    here i mean route planning, revenue management and fleet planning that were sent to abu dhabi.
    with this core commercial functions out of the JU, he really never had any control of the business

    also, i don't know why, but he also left a lot of fleet issues open:
    - a320 delivery
    - replacement for 30y old atrs
    - no clear future on aging 737s charter business

    but lets admit he also had some really well executed projects:
    - creating company in 6 weeks
    - organizing company to fly to JFK (it is not profitable, but the execution deserves praise)
    - establishing JU maintenance unit
    - very good product, well trained cabin crew
    - sabre introduction
    - wifi on all airbuses


    one funny thing -

    kučko left as a big winner from far less glamorous job

    JU started as this big-faboulous-exclusive-etihad-fireworks-and-champagne project and dane was probably f*cked each day of the past year on account severe unprofitability of the business

    1. Anonymous16:35

      Look closely at the root cause. Most of perceived negative items were really driven by EY or the government.

  24. Anonymous21:40

    Since when ETD became ASL major shareholder (end of the 2nd paragraph? I truly hope ASL will soon decide its way and end this sad downfall they're experiencing a bit too long now.

    1. Anonymous00:22

      LOL!!! Air Serbia haters always make me laugh! How unintelligent do they have to be to call 1,5 million additional passengers, JFK route, additional aircraft, new destinations, improved service etc "sad downfall"! Sad pathetic haters, LOL!

  25. Anonymous13:17

    Read the comments , as a CEO he was out of his depth for the position of CEO . Maybe if he had more local support (management team) he would be more successful however that did not happen. Yes he was responsible for bringing the product to a whole different level. He brought the guy who managed the Guest Services- cabin crew for almost two years and made the initial boom with onboard services and cabin crew . However , from what i know that same guy left the company mire than 2 years ago


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