Air Serbia to retire Boeing fleet by 2020


Air Serbia is likely to phase out its remaining three Boeing 737-300 classic jets, used by its dedicated charter brand Aviolet, by 2020. As reported by the "TangoSix" portal, the Aeronautical Museum in Belgrade has requested for one of the aircraft to be preserved upon the type's retirement from Air Serbia so it could be displayed at its premises. Branislav Malović, Air Serbia's Officer for Relations with Government Bodies & Organisations, responded that the carrier would consider the proposal, noting that the B737 registered YU-AND, the first aircraft of its type to operate in Europe and the oldest still in operation on the continent, would be retired by 2020.

The arrival of Europe's first B737-300 (YU-AND) in Belgrade, August 5, 1985

Air Serbia retired one of its B737s earlier this year and currently has three in operation. All of them are owned by the airline and were delivered new to its predecessor over thirty years ago. Despite their old age, most have had a low utilisation rate since the majority were grounded for the better part of the 1990s. Air Serbia runs an average of three rotations per day with the B737s during the summer season on charter flights. The jets are also used as a replacement on mainline operations in case of technical issues or delays with other aircraft. Commenting on the future of the Aviolet brand, which relies on the aircraft, the airline said last year, "Aviolet was created as a brand to take advantage of the old aircraft in terms of how we gave them separation to the mainline fleet. We will always be in the charter market, because that is the nature of the outbound Serbian market. While we have those aircraft, they will be branded as Aviolet. Aviolet remains a good option for us but the interesting thing is to see if it has legs to do something more than just what it is currently doing".

"The most modern aircraft in JAT's fleet", 1986 ad

Last year, Air Serbia's Chief Operations Officer, Declan Keller, said the carrier could invest in the B737 jets and thus extend their utilisation by a further four to five years. However, such a move would require a costly engine overhaul and cabin refurbishment. Alternatively, Mr Keller noted that the airline would consider retiring the aircraft. Initially, the airline planned to retire the jets in 2014. In addition to the three B737s still in operation, Air Serbia's other aircraft of the same type, which have been grounded, are now being cut up and sold for spare parts. In June, the airline sold ten spare engines used by its former Boeing 737-300 jets to Icarus International Group, an aircraft engine parts and component supplier. The ten engines in question are all CFM56-3B1.

Comments

  1. They were so sexy in that rip of AA livery!

    I remember my first ever flight on one of them (BEG-PUY via RJK).

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    Replies
    1. I think the reason they took up this livery at the time was to save on fuel since there was a global fuel crisis.

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  2. What are the registrations of the Boeing plane which are still in the fleet?

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    Replies
    1. ANKica, ANDjelka i ANIca :-)

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    2. If I am not wrong the former PM even claimed at one point that those planes are about to start crashing! And 5 years later they are still flying frequently! Love B737 fleet.

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    3. Crashing? I do not think that even HE can say something like that. Aviation rules are known and all the maintanance must be done according to them

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    4. Exactly. Luckily we had both then and now serious people working on the maintenance. Just remember things they were saying about Jat then...

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  3. About 10 years too late

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    1. Why too late? While flying since 2013 these 4 made good money on charters and were always there when atrs or airbusus were out.
      Smart move keeping them

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  4. To be more precise most of B733 did not fly international routes from June 1992 until November 1995 (UN sanctions - however during that time JAT was flying with B733 to Montenegro which was at that time domestic route) and during the NATO agression of Serbia (approx. 3 months in 1999). So, it can't be said that they were "grounded better part of 1990s"

    Also, B733's are these days not used only for replacement of Airbus fleet. If you check winter schedule 2018/2019 B733 is planned to fly every Saturday BEG-FRA-BEG

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    Replies
    1. They needed one plane to fly to Montenegro. And most donestic routes were with ATRs. Also there were numerous sanctions in 90s, not just UN. There weren EU sanctions at one point where they had to stop flying to all EU destinations.

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    2. Actually it was more than 1 plane especiallly during the summer season to Montenegro. At certain dates even DC-10 was flying to TIV.

      Yes, there were some EU sanctions as well but do not forget that EU in 1991-1992 was not the same as today's and you JAT could have flown to Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary etc.

      At the same time only UN sanctions affected the flights to Middle East, North Africa, Russia, Turkey, so JAT could fly there before June 1992.

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    3. There were EU sanctions in 98 too.

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    4. Turkey held one of JAT's B737 for years.

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    5. Yes, it was one of them only. YU-ANJ

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    6. It is really not possible to claim that planes were underutilized. There were number of JAT operations and initiatives to utilise the fleet in 90es - operations from Romania, leasing of planes, helping develop African airlines etc.

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    7. B733 is also in Ljubljana sometimes on Saturdays

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  5. Love the ancient feel ...

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  6. I dont get Malovic comment, what is there to consider? Would he rather see the aircraft rot next to the Jat Tehnika? This is what happens when you place people with only high school and no English skills to run the company.

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  7. It's nice to hear that they will save one of the B737s. They deserve it.

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    1. Right next to the Caravelle on display :)

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    2. Hoope it will be in better condition than Caravelle

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    3. And I hope they restore it into JU 80s B737 livery.

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    4. We already have Caravelle with old "egg" livery.
      Maybe this time YU-AND should wear "flame" livery. It was also one of the nicest despite it was used in the times that were not so nice.
      And if any Atr 72-200 goes soon to museum that plane could wear Air Serbia livery.
      I do not wish to see 3 dots in museum

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    5. Unfortunately, the B737 will go in Aviolet livery to the museum. They won't spend any money to repaint them.

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  8. And to think they declared those planes rubbish 5 years ago when the new management came and said how they would retire them ASAP only to turn out that those planes have been a saviour for JU on so many occasions.

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    1. It's funny how they outlived those people who wanted to retire them. :D

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    2. Exactly.
      YU-ANI was retired in February 2018 together with YU-ANJ, but they made to bring that plane again to the traffic.
      Shame they could not do it with YU-ANJ

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    3. @9.28 very true

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  9. Air Serbia, the flying museum. When a museum is ready to display equipment that you plan to use for at least another 2 years then you know you have a unique selling point.

    Also, could someone please define the 'low utilisation rate?' If, say, in 2000 a 15 year old aircraft was not utilised for 7.5 years then OK, but saying an aircraft was not used much for a few years over 20 years ago hence it has a low utilisation rate sounds ridiculous. If the aircraft was delivered new in 2000 it would be classified as old, very old.

    Oh, and I am likely to have an apartment in Monaco by 2020, I just need to keep playing the lottery hard, really, really hard. Fingers crossed!

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    Replies
    1. Past 2020 it will simply be to expensive to keep these planes in the air.

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  10. Timeless classic :)

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  11. Turned out these B733 were just fantastic, really sad they will be gone to history.

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    1. If ever there was a type of plane that has been fully exploted by an airline then it was this one. Time to let the old birds go now.

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    2. They served their company well :)

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    3. @19 November 2018 at 09:47

      Well Delta's DC9s and MD80s come to mind. Even JATs own DC9s.

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  12. Air Serbia seriously needs to start thinking about what it is going to do with its fleet. They just don't seem to have any strategy at the moment.

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    1. When people who are running the company are counting down the days until they leave, it's no surprise really.

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    2. And new management will be "experts" placed tere by GoS

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    3. Probably Malovic himself...

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    4. Or Vlaisavljevic...

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    5. Problem with both is that they don't know any English.

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    6. I am not sure that it is the only problem two of them have...

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    7. i would be suprised if vlaisavljević doesn't become the next ceo. his tenure at BEG will finish in couple of weeks, just in time to start transition for the new position

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    8. With this amount of state support even with him company can survive :)

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  13. Well done Jat/JU/Aviolet.
    At the end of the day, operating 33 years of aircraft without a single fatality is simply remarkable. This makes the companies one of the oldest and safest in the world.

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  14. I definitely think they could do more with Aviolet outside of summer charters. They could get 2-3 new generation Boeings and could have operated that as a low cost unit. Obviously that is not going to happen with the change in business model at JU but just my two cents.

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    1. I hope they keep Aviolet. It's good to distinguish charters from the main airline

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    2. They are doing that less and less. They have even abandoned the Aviolet uniform.

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    3. Do you mean on charter or on regular flights they abandoned Aviolet uniform?

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    4. This year on charters. The reason is that during the summer many crew did one short regional rotation on Air Serbia and then an Aviolet charter (or viceversa). So there was no time to change since they go from flight to flight. They just take off their scarf and I think the men their tie.

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    5. Interesting.

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    6. There is no need to keep confusing charter brand with so little operations. With new fleet it can all be AirSerbia.

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  15. They have started cutting up some of the old B737s at BEG this month. A sad sight.

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  16. How many seats do JU B737s have?

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    1. Thanks do they still have the JatAirways seats on it?

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    2. No, the cabins have been refurbished. They use the old Lufthansa leather seats.

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    3. Ok interesting, thanks. Although JatAirways did have a different product on each of its planes in its last year. I think they too had the old Lufthansa seats on one plane, some blue leather seats on another and the old-style cloth seats on other planes.

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    4. Yes, it was the case in 2011-2012

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    5. Doesn't YU-ANI still feature the old Jat textile seats?

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    6. YU-AND has old leather Lufthansa seats, and YU-ANJ. YU-ANI and YU-ANK still have old Jat textile seats

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    7. But YU-ANJ is retired.

      It would be logical leather seats to be taken out and installled on the planes that still fly especially as YU-ANK does not fly these days at all, but it is still not retired.

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  17. And yet they are hiring new Boeing pilots...

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    Replies
    1. For next summer obviously. Many of the JU B737 pilots have retired or now fly the Airbuses.

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  18. Krajem osamdesetih, za vreme strajka domacih kompanija Aseta i Trans Australian Airlines, dva aviona iz Srbije su leteli na domacim linijama ovde u Sidneju. Bio je to AND i ANJ. Tada sam radio u Qantas-u i imao priliku ida upoznam i osoblje i avione. Moram reci da sam se radovao kada vidim tri aviona na terminalima na Kingsford Smith aerodromu. Sva tri, dva B737 i DC 10 su se cesto videli na gejtovima.
    Sada sam u penziji. Moj zivot se nastavio u letovima izmedju Australije i Srbije do sada vec osamdeset puta. Nadam se da cu "sretati" i Boingov B 737 na platou vazduhoplovnog muzeja u toj glavnoj Srpskoj luci. Jer je prvenac flote B733. U nadi da se investira u novu flotu Er Srbije i preobrazaju aerodroma Nikola Tesla, sirok i iskreni pozdrav pred dolazak na zimovanje pored aerodroma Morava. Rodney, Sydney.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cika Rodney pa vi ste radili za Qantas?! Cool!

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    2. Da postovani Anon 15:24. Blizu cetvrt veka sam proveo u Qantas-u do penzije. Iskreno nikada ga nisam napustio. Niti mogu. Suvise je deo mene... Prije par godina sam napisao knigu sa 238 strana na Srpskom i Engleskom u posveti stogodisnjici velikog Qantas-a. Kao i mojih 50 godina letenja izmedju moje Otadzbine Srbije i Domovine Australije. Naziv knjige je, Od Polarisa do Juznog Krsta. Dugo traje moja saga prema avionima, aerodromima i ljudima koji rade ili su radili u civilnom vazduhoplovstvu. Razume se i putnika neumorno putujucih. Vama svako dobro, i nadom preobrazenja Beogradskog aerodroma i modernizacije Er Srbije.
      Rodney Marinkovic, Kings Park Sydney

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  19. I really don't see what's the difference between Air Serbia and Aviolet on-board product. Actually the only one I can think of is the blocked middle seat at the front of the plane acting as "Business Class".

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    1. Air Serbia planes are younger :-)

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    2. Interiors are better obviously. Seat pitch on refited fleet is very good. However, catering on Aviolet is better.

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  20. Just a question (I know that they have new engines and they are exploited less than the Airbuses)...
    How long can the 737s stay active?

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    Replies
    1. It says in the text. If they were to change the engines, another 4-5 years.

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  21. Love the vintage pics.

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    Replies
    1. Me too. Once a company to have the first aircraft of its type in Europe and now...

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  22. The good thing about Aviolet is that it's a neutral name and has neutral branding. Maybe they could have used it to base a plane in Banja Luka or Sarajevo

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    Replies
    1. On what basis ? JU is not an airline with an EU AOC - so no can do. The only way to base an aircraft in BiH as a non-EU carrier, is to apply for a Bosnian AOC and to do that, it would need to have majority Bosnian ownership (ie. 51%).

      So your suggestion is good in theory, but much harder to implement in practice.

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    2. I wonder who would have problem with Air Serbia title in Banja Luka?

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    3. They wanted to use these planes to fly to PRN because of the name.

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    4. Air Serbia already flies to TIA, I would see no reason why they could not fly to PRN as well (if all political issues get resolved of course).

      After all, passengers in PRN would see that the destination of that plane is the capital of Republic of Serbia and the carrier has Serbian flag on it.

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    5. I don't believe anyone in Kosovo cares about the airline name. I am not sure if it's a mix of tabloid press mentality and diaspora misinformation bias or what, but as a counterargument MAT Macedonian Airlines operated at PRN at the height of armed conflict in Macedonia or soon after and no one paid any attention.

      What ordinary people and the civil aviation authority care about is the opening of air corridors and resulting shorter flight times (and possibly fare reductions too). Kosovo can live with and thrive even if the northern air corridors remain shut as is evident today, but it is unacceptable for Serbian authorities to request access to the market while on the other hand continuing a rather pointless partial airspace closure. Let civilian, and I must emphasize, civilian air traffic operate normally for everyone. You can enter the airspace, take-off and land as many times are you wish with whatever aircraft you wish and a livery that reads Air Serbia or Air Shumadija or Aeroput or Aviolet. The Albanian market has proven that the vast majority of people don't care what letters an airplane has outside as long as the price is right and the service is decent.

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    6. There is a logic in your post, but unfortunately in our relation logic is not very helpful.

      It is obvious that aviation and air corridors are just one of the points that needs to be discussed and agreed.

      We had a cases where Serbia agreed Kosovo* to use international dial code as a part of Brussels's agreement, we had cases where Serbia removed all the parallel institutions as a part of Brussels' agreement and from the other side we see there is still no ZSO established and additionally we see there are now additional 10 % customs fee for Serbian goods although Kosovo* is the member of CEFTA.

      I do not intend talking about the politics here, I just want to emphasize that giving benefits to only one side in negotiations would not resolve the problem. After all, is there any guarantee JU will get permission to fly to PRN even if air corridors get open?

      Of course not. It will be probably finished onthe same way like international dial code.

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    7. Good point @Visit Kodovo
      However, the other side will have to start providing substantial and tengible results/concessions in order to get opening of the air corridors which is basically what previous post explained

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  23. Njihov cfm56 mlazni motor i za danasne pojmove je moderan motor

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  24. What happpened to Caravelle cleaning?

    I can remember some enthusiasts wanted to remove dirt from it, but it seems they did not get far with it.

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  25. mi hocemo da formiramo novu aviokompaniju jeli neko zna kolika je cjena ovog Boeing737 aviona,ima jos mnogo godina eksploatacije u njemu.

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  26. Does anyone know what is the oldest B737 still in operation?

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    1. I mean -300 series.

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    2. The oldest one still in operation today was delivered in 1968. It now flies for Lignes Aeriennes Congolaises in DR Congo.

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    3. Thanks for the quick response. Oh my goodness that plane is 50 years old!! :O

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    4. You're welcome. The next one after that is with the Peruvian air force, delivered in 1970.

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    5. But these are not -300 series

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    6. So these JU classics still have a few decades in them :D

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    7. Yes I think it is a mistake. These are -200 series.

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    8. Aviogenex 737-200 is actually quite young?

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    9. Yes, it was one of the last B737-200s ever produced and is younger then all remaining JU B737-300s.

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  27. Serbia just love their Boeing 737-300's!

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  28. Are options such as the Max 9 or 10 a possible replacement of the current 737 classics?
    I hope JU negotiates with Boeing and strike a deal to upgrade the entire Aviolet fleet.
    The logo can be slightly modified but I think they should include some Serbian, traditional elements otherwise many people say the current Aviolet logo looks like Nouvelair Tunisie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, they don't know what will happen with NEO planes that have been ordered.

      Talking about any new generation of Boeing planes is science fiction!

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    2. strike a deal.... are you being serious? the only reason they kept boeings was because they didn't cost anything to own and maintain. now when engine overhaul time has finally come they are scrapping them.
      reality of every single carrier from ex-yu are leased 10y old planes. cashflows wouldn't be ale to absorb anything above that.

      to me is a mistery how will OU & JU finance any of those planes...if they ever come

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    3. Petar, why not?
      Airlines nowadays negotiate with loyal clients. JU has been a loyal Boeing client for more than 3 decades. If they order 5 aircraft at once, they can get a 10% discount for example.

      I see Aviolet fitting perfectly in this super bird:

      https://www.boeing.com/commercial/737max10/index.page

      The range also is quite decent.

      LO and TravelService already are flying with the new Max. If they can, they JU also can.

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    4. JU was a client but 35y ago. today JU is first airbus, then ATR and then in the end a boeing company. even boeing pilots are mostly hired seasonaly, as yo can see on the job ads.

      but even with that assumption removed, there is the question how to pay for it. new 737 even with the great discounts would cost 60mil USD
      to rent 10y old boeing for 10y would cost you somewhere around 30-35% of that figure (lower maintenance in starting years included).

      it would be a too big pain on the cashflow for our companies. one plane maybe, but several would be a bit that they cannot chew

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    5. Quick facts about Aviolet means it can easily have up to 5 new aircraft:

      Started Operations 24. May 2014
      Base / Main Hub Belgrade Nikola Tesla (Surcin) (BEG / LYBE)
      Fleet Size 4 Aircraft
      Average Fleet Age * 32.6 Years

      Boeing 737-500 series
      Seat Config: Mono economy 144 PAX

      So, maybe a very good replacement can be the Max 7 and not Max 10:

      Seats (2-class) 138 – 153
      Range nm (km) 3,850 (7,130) <<<<< Very serious range!

      Even though Max 10 is very good but filling 230 seats will be a tough job.
      Maybe 4 Max 7 and 1 Max 8 for busier charter routes to Spain and Egypt.
      The MAX 7 has a shorter range, but still those countries are not so far away and it will be easy to reach them.

      As for the JU brand, I see the 320 neo as the best option.

      If all goes well with JU and they recover completely then by 2025 we can see an all A320 neo + A220 replacing current ATR.
      Therefore:

      JU brand:
      3 A330
      8 A320 neo
      2 A321 neo or LR
      10 A220

      Aviolet:
      4 Max 7
      1 Max 10

      TOTAL: 40 aircraft

      By that time BEG would have a much bigger airport terminal, possibly a second runway and more transfer traffic if new markets are covered especially Canada, Caucaus, India, North Africa and seeking new bigger airlines to colaborate: Air India, American Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines and Cathay Pacific or Singapore Airlines.

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    6. 3 A330?!
      Try 5 A220 and 5 A320 and that is pretty much resonable fleet for JU that is not loosing too much money.

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    7. Yes, 3. How are they going to be able to launch YYZ if not? 3 is great, this way they can increase JFK to daily in the peak season and comfortably 3-4 weekly YYZ and possibly 2 weekly ORD.
      5 A320 is not enough if you want to well cover the capitals and big cities for transfer flights.
      Some cities already need more JU metal:
      Bucharest, Sofia, Venezia, Tivat, Heathrow, Paris, Prague, Athens and Thessaloniki.

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    8. This should be a new genre in literature - business fairy tales!

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    9. Yes, smaller fleet in order to stop loosing money.

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  29. inače posetio sam nedavno muzej vazduhoplovstva gde će poslednji 737 biti verovatno izložen. kakva je ono tuga, ljudi moji. definicija pojma "propada". pa to bi pojelo 5 miliona € investicija samo da se zakrpe osnovne stvari. mogu da zamislim koliko duguju za struju, poreze...

    inače kada ga budu izlagali bilo bi savršeno da ostane makar jedan red sedišta i osnovni instrumenti u kokpitu i da se livery prefarba u ovaj sa plakata, al to naravno samo ja sanjarim.

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    1. Takodje je planirano i B727 da se tu izlozi ali izgleda da ne mogu da ga preteraju sa aerodroma.

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  30. The other day flew a B733 Cayman Airways from Georgetown to Miami. Almost identical interior to JU AC. Had a great flight once again with that lovely bird...they will be missed!

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  31. Carry on the legacy! Buy 737 MAX

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  32. Hahaha...as if Air Serbia ever will get new planes. I bet these ancient 737 will be in their fleet till 2030 ! And i am not joking.

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    Replies
    1. and these 737 will be the only planes left in the fleet then.

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  33. YU-AND will be written off soon....

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    Replies
    1. Do you mean out of the traffic or scrapped?

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    2. It will be stored for spare parts and later moved to museum (hopefully).

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