Air Serbia: Ending Marathon cooperation inevitable

Air Serbia has said the termination of its wet-lease contract with Marathon Airlines for five Embraer aircraft was inevitable and a necessity after the events on February 18 when an E195 jet made contact with airport equipment upon take-off, in what the Center for Investigation of Accidents in Transport of the Republic of Serbia (CINS) has now categorised as an accident. Air Serbia's CEO, Jiri Marek, said, “This was a very serious incident, we are aware of the potential consequences that could have occurred. That's why we very quickly made the decision to terminate cooperation with Marathon Airlines, regardless of the fact that it is a certified European airline. The decision was necessary because the safety of our passengers comes first. We will wait for the final results of the investigation, but this step was inevitable". He added, "We will contact all passengers from the flight, familiarise them with the procedure, what to do and how to fill out the compensation form. We will take appropriate measures as a matter of priority and in accordance with our regulations".

The decision to terminate the contract for five aircraft arises the question as to how Air Serbia will manage to deal with the equipment deficit. Today, just four departing flights were scheduled to operate with the Embraers, including two services to Frankfurt, one to Milan and one to Bucharest. All are operating today with Airbus A319 jets instead. For tomorrow, eight departing flights were to be maintained by Embraers. However, in March alone, the airline had scheduled the Marathon-operated aircraft on 12.5% of all of its flights. While some have been swapped over to other equipment, some flights on routes where there are multiple daily departures have been cancelled and passengers put on one of the other daily options. The airline is yet to publicly address how it will deal with the fleet shortage, although it said yesterday Embraer flights would “now be operated by other aircraft in the fleet to maintain traffic continuity".

CINS has made its first public comments on the accident. Its head, Nebojša Petrović, said, “What has been undoubtedly established and what I can share with you is that Air Traffic Control gave clear instructions to the pilots from where to enter the runway for take-off, and that they [pilots] did not comply with that information. This points our investigation in a certain direction. However, the case itself is much more complex and will consist of two parts. First, information and data from domestic institutions and authorities will be collected, then, for the second part of the investigation, information must be submitted from five more countries - Poland and Italy - from where the pilots are from, Denmark, where the plane is registered, Brazil, where it was manufactured and Greece, where Marathon Airlines is registered. According to our estimates, the investigation will last at least three months”. He added, “All of these countries can join our investigation, either directly or through our teams”.

The Higher Public Prosecutor's Office in Belgrade, in cooperation with the police, have opened an investigation into the matter. “The police have been ordered to determine what happened on this occasion, as well as to potentially identify the responsible persons. It is necessary to check how this event unfolded, the damage to the plane, whether the passengers and crew were in danger at any time, as well as conduct interviews with employees of Air Traffic Control, the pilot and crew”, the Higher Public Prosecutor's Office said.


  1. Anonymous09:01

    I see the Marathon planes are already leaving for Athens.

    1. Anonymous09:03

      All of them are already in Athens apart from OY-GDA which didn't operate a single JU flight

    2. Aэrologic11:59

      I think this was a total knee-jerk overraction.

      Were there any other incidents with Marathon for the past year?

      Why not simply fire the pilots or the pilot responsible?

      Unless this decision came from the top, it's very short-sighted.

      Marathon will have no problem placing their aircraft, but Air Serbia WILL.

      In that case the government should finally purchase them some A320/A321s.

      Taking off in that direction was suicidal from a litteral point of view.

      This move now by Air Servia is suicidal from an operational/economical point of view.

      So i guess they were the right match for eachother..

      As they say: birds of a feather flock together. -->

    3. Aэrologic12:25

      Personally i would have used this situation to extract further discounts from Marathon and threaten them with contract termination.

      That would be a win-win situation.

      Air Serbia gets cheaper lease, Marathon keeps the contract, passengers don't get their flights cancelled.

      Turkish has a tradition of runway overruns and of totalizing one to two frames each year. Only last year they missed the 'goal'. Yet people don't care. They keep flying with them despite a sub-par safety and general culture. But they care about schedule reshuffle, cancelling, money spent on events they won't be able to attend etc etc. Already now they're writing thousands of messages about it.

      Nobody is gonna say 'thank you' to Air Serbia for this rash decision.

      Wish they had as many brains as Eagles on their tail.

    4. Anonymous12:29

      This is the perfect example of how to turn a bad situation into worse.

    5. Anonymous15:21

      Maybe it is a welcome "opportunity" for Air Serbia to do so now? A lot of flights and some destinations did not perform to the satisfation of JU in the slow months. But who know if some destination in summer are not overdimensioned and the A/C simply not needed too. If they need them though, there are some operators that offer ACMI in summer yet.

    6. Anonymous15:33

      All of that notwithstanding, in the airline business you're dead if the public loses trust in your safety. It's a matter of judgement whether things had gotten that bad. Perhaps it was not just the incident itself but also the way JU themselves handled it initially by trying to cover it up and saying it was nothing major. Possibly after that, the only way to regain trust was to have a clean break at any cost

    7. Anonymous16:06

      Stupid in both cases.

    8. Anonymous16:10

      Turkish has regular overruns and they don't fire their whole flight crew cause of it. Although this was pretty bad, i admit. Most overruns occur on landing and not on take off.

      But in reality they'll endanger people even more now when far less pilots will have to perform far more flights, especially in summer season.

      Unless they urgently find a replacement for Marathon.

      Talking about when the solution is worse than the problem itself.

    9. Anonymous17:58

      @Anon 15:33: +1

    10. Anonymous19:46

      Is it already a fact that this issue was the fault of the pilot or Marathon?

    11. Anonymous20:01


  2. Anonymous09:02

    Marek addressed the incident perfectly, if there wasn't that godawful first statement, AirSerbia would've handled this perfectly.
    My flight got canceled and I got moved to another one, but I'm fine with that - better than being flown by a questionable airline

    1. Anonymous12:14

      There is still no explanation as to why there was no emergency evacuation of the plane and why the plane was connected to the airport building endangering 100s of people. It was only sheer luck that prevented a major tragedy that day.

  3. Anonymous09:06

    It's best Air Serbia operates all flights directly from now on, then they can guarantee all safety standards have been met and will be fully responsible for their operations.

    1. Anonymous09:12

      Well that's not happening. GetJet Airlines is flying today:

      KlasJet is also operating

      And there will be one more rotation but which has not had an aircraft assigned yet.

      And that's just today!

    2. Anonymous09:15

      TBF GetJet and KlasJet are a reliable and well known partners with years of A320 and B737 ops

    3. Anonymous09:20

      If you lease planes than you are always fully responsible for your passengers who book aflight with you.

    4. Anonymous09:36

      Now is the chance for Air Pink to step in!

    5. Anonymous09:58

      Yes, Mitrovics have proven record of keeping up to safety standards in traffic.

    6. Anonymous09:59

      Well, in air traffic they have.

    7. Anonymous10:09

      And that's only important? I believe any due diligance will show the guy is open to shady business and that means no job for him in sensitive industries, if you ask me.

    8. Anonymous10:30

      Nobody ask you. His company provides air taxi more then decade even Luka Modric used them. Mitrovic is scumbag but people like his program all over exYU. I would not like him in cockpit but he has valid license for it.

    9. Anonymous12:52

      Good for you. I'm not getting into his planes. I'm not eating Peconi's food either. Heck, there are many options, it's good we can choose.

    10. Anonymous12:53

      You can't get onto his plane anyway. It's not even an option, so what's the point of your rant?

    11. Anonymous12:56

      The topic is option of him dealing with Air Serbia's fleet, I'm wondering why you comment if you didn't read previous discussion...

    12. Anonymous12:58

      It's not an option because his company flies business jets, not commercial ones.

    13. Anonymous13:01

      They purchased or leased E145 plain. They are going in that directions.

    14. Anonymous13:45

      The commentator is obviously not aware of it but has no problem in joining discussion in aggressive fashion. So typical. Btw, it was reported here:

    15. Anonymous13:47

      I have read the article. Where did you see wet leasing to JU, or that they even decided to start commercial ops? It says theh are thinking about it and the article is from Septmber 2023

    16. Anonymous14:04

      OMG. I saw it in the comment at 09:36 and responded to it, that's how discussion started. It is a speculative option to which I am negatively oriented. Deal with it.

    17. Anonymous16:55

      For those of you trying to put blame on Air Serbia, keep in mind that Air Serbia didn't operate the flight. On the other hand, Alaska Airlines sold tickets and operated the flight 1282 when plug door blew out. Alaska offered compensation to passengers but that does not mean Alaska is responsible for the accident. A preliminary report focuses on Boeing records and missing bolts.

  4. Anonymous09:07

    Have the Montenegrin pilots been fired? They really can't catch a break. First Montenegro Airlines and now this.

    1. Anonymous09:08

      "Poland and Italy - from where the pilots are from" what are you on about?

    2. Anonymous09:11

      Question is probably about other pilots flying ebraers, not the ones that was part of the accident

    3. Anonymous09:57

      It exactly means what it states. Captain Italian, co-pilot Pole.

    4. Anonymous09:59

      At lease the one right thing those pilots did was to bring the aircraft back in one piece.

    5. Anonymous10:42

      The question is about the pilots from Montenegro who are clearly no longer flying for Air Serbia.

    6. Anonymous10:57

      12 montenegrin pilots are still working for marathon, they haven't been fired yet

    7. Anonymous12:47

      Anonymous09:59 It was them mess

    8. Anonymous18:05

      At least one of the pilots of ASL72D on Sunday was speaking serbian to the passengers including me. At least as far as I could identify it. If he had some dialect or accent, therefore my serbian is not good enough. So he could have been from CG

    9. Anonymous18:08

      ^ the pilot was Italian and copilot Polish. Passengers who were publicaly interviewed all said that all announcements were made in English, so I highly doubt anyone spoke to you in Serbian

    10. Anonymous18:36

      I’m talking about ASL72D to Frankfurt where I was sitting inside, observing ASL86C from the window while it made its low altitude flight over the runway that tower could check landing gear.

  5. Anonymous09:07

    Has Marathon Airlines issued any statements on the accident?

    1. Anonymous09:08

      No - radio silence so far.

    2. Anonymous09:52

      they dont care lmao

    3. Anonymous10:38

      Wow. That's just crazy

    4. Anonymous10:42

      Shame on Air Serbia for getting into bed with this horrible company. What a disgrace their post is.

    5. Anonymous10:56

      You are 100% correct. The CEO of air Serbia should resign. This is what happens when airlines outsource their work. Airlines should not be allowed have cheaper airlines doing routes as they can not make it work themselves. There will be a huge fall out on Air Serbia finances now.

    6. Anonymous11:23

      I understand Marathon not giving a statement. They definitely don't want to draw attention to themselves. But being so tone-deaf as to posting promotional crap on social media at a time when your pilots nearly killed over 100 people due to their negligence and lack of following instructions is astounding.

    7. Anonymous11:42

      Outsourcing has become the norm for aviation around the world, not that its the correct thing but managements do it to make themselves look better with profits they achieve as a result of it, long term is not their concern as they wont be around then, similar to politicians and their pursuit of privatising everything to mates or donors and when they need a bail out the taxpayer comes to the rescue

    8. Anonymous13:54

      Marathon is correct about one thing. They certainly provided a flight experience.

  6. Anonymous09:09

    And who and why made a decision on ACMI with an airline that does not have IOSA?

    1. Anonymous10:12

      IOSA means nothing.

    2. Anonymous16:44

      Many airlines are not IATA members. Look how Air Montenegro started.

  7. Anonymous09:09

    I don't think this will affect Marathon in their operations , they never had any serious operations . Air Serbia will have the most problem with this lack of airplanes . Cancelations ans delays are on the way .

    1. Anonymous09:10

      Better that than flying with risky company.

    2. Anonymous09:10

      So far today, not a single cancellation. No flights are cancelled tomorrow either.

    3. Anonymous09:11

      The airline didn't become risky overnight. Don't play the 'risky' card, as it goes back to Air Serbia for having selected a 'risky' carrier.

    4. Anonymous09:14

      No flights have been cancelled today but delays are inevitable. Barely any aircraft have been assigned for afternoon departures yet.

    5. Anonymous09:54

      The airline was not risky at any point, after all there is no difference between Swiss and Marathon - both are certified safe and allowed to operate by the EU.

    6. Anonymous10:34

      And Swiss also has a lot airplanes hired like Marathon.

    7. Anonymous10:43

      Swiss mostly works with Helvetic which is a Swiss company following same strict rules like LX.

      They have some BT A220 but overall it's a small percentage.

    8. Anonymous10:44

      If you think SWISS is on part with Marathon just because they are both certified, then you must be a troll. By the way, Switzerland is not in the EU so the comparison makes no sense to begin with. And, while Greece is in the EU, it is still Greece.

    9. Anonymous10:48

      Switzerland adheres to all EU regulation regarding aviation, so in practice they are member of the EU in that regard. Greece has had a stellar record regarding aviation and their airlines have numerous times the pax the entire region has. No need to involve us in your superiority complex.

    10. Anonymous11:58

      No, they are not "a member of the EU" "in practice". The Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation is completely independent.

    11. Anonymous17:47

      BAZL follows EASA rules. BAZL can have stricter rules than EASA but not the other way around. EU/non-EU here does not matter.

  8. Anonymous09:14

    I think people have a wrong opinion about Marathon - they weren't an unsafe airline, they were flying since 2019 without an incident, imo what went wrong is them expanding and rushing too fast. They went from 3 E175 to 4 E175 and 5 190/5s in 6 months, probably rushing everything while promising JU dates that weren't realistic. Let's remember than wet lease was signed fro 3 E195s by the end of 2023 and OY-GDA came to Belgrade only a week or so ago. They were rushing their ops and it costed them

    1. Anonymous10:12

      Maybe they were just lucky. It's all about what type of corporate culture they had and how they went about enforcing what would have been a part of their standard operating procedure.
      If one of their "instructors" had a cowboy attitude towards safety, then the entire operation is probably infested with similar. I wouldn't be surprised if they soon become restricted in terms of what their AOC covers. They could completely lose their AOC too.

    2. Anonymous10:45

      The real question is whether the pilots who crashed the aircraft on Sunday were new or not. If they were new and they were hired because Marathon saw it could get lots of money by expanding with Air Serbia then that is a very different story.

    3. Anonymous12:07

      The real question is what the investigation will bring to the table.

      Airline bashing, Pilot bashing. ACMI is absolutely normal, almost every airline does it.

      A company is full of individuals, and a company culture can only influence actions by a certain degree.

    4. Anonymous14:20


      What you have to understand, is that gaining and holding on to an AOC, especially one which approves a company to serve paying passengers for reward (commercial RPT/Charter ops) is not something which easy to get, hold onto and maintain.
      The company (Marathon) would have had to have as part of their AOC application, have a set of standard operating procedures (SOPS) and would have had to demonstrate to the appropriate authorities, how these procedures are implemented, policed, enforced. If it becomes clear that, when it comes to the approved operating procedures, they were not adhered to or followed, then they could easily in the name of safety have their AOC cancelled or restricted. Happens all the time.

    5. Anonymous22:27

      They were expanding and probably just didn't hire the right pilots - that's all. But now it's too late, to learn from that mistake.

  9. Anonymous09:15

    A much better statement would be that they scrutinized all take offs for the last month and it was the only case when JU or one of their ACMI operators did not start the take off at the start of the runaway. Still we all know they cannot say that.

  10. Anonymous09:18

    I find the statement that safety is a priority questionable. Will you address the corruption within AirSerbia? This rings all alarms for me:
    The technicians get ruling party related pressures to allow planes to fly even if the planes aren’t ready yet. This is a scandal. Everyone speaking of Marathon as a questionable airline, how is Air Serbia not?

    1. Anonymous09:56

      Do you know what ACMI stands for? Marathon deal was ACMI.

    2. Anonymous09:57

      What an absolute word and opinion salad of an article. A new company which is growing is poaching employees from another company by giving them higher salaries? And N1 somehow made a huge-ass article out of that never before seen occurrence in capitalism.

    3. Anonymous10:05

      Both Anon: I know what they are and I ask you to not patronize me. The problem is here not only Marathon but AirSerbia as well, and what is written in the article is very serious. I am sure the employees know better what is going on than you. Pressures from the government to fly an unsafe plane is ok for you? It’s not something unheard of in capitalism, as you would say.

    4. Anonymous16:35

      >firma koja je donedavno samo prala avione Er Srbije. Od perača aviona postali su firma koja popravlja avione

      This is the type of argument technicians have? Are they aware of things they are saying? It is completely normal for a company to change focus or branch out and pursue another opportunity. Tesla makes cars but also solar panels. Menzies didn't start as an aviation services company. Apple didn't start as a phone business.

  11. Anonymous09:24

    The question now is to find the craft to replace Marathon, and that won't be an easy task.
    I assume some people are having sleepless nights already.
    Good luck.

    1. Anonymous10:37

      Blgar Air has 4 E190 and 12 Montenegro pilots are now free.

    2. Anonymous10:38

      Free from what? No one at Marathon has lost their job.

    3. Anonymous10:54

      Ma ubijace se od posla. Ovaj na beogradskom mogu da raskopusaju i sastave onaj u Podgorici sto im stoji na parkinga.

  12. Anonymous09:27

    I'm pretty sure they will find some solution to replace these aircraft, although it won't be easy.

    1. Anonymous09:33

      But how exactly. Finding spare capacity a month before summer starts will not be easy,

    2. Anonymous09:48

      Especially with many airline experiencing neo issues, they are not relinquishing their ceo Airbuses or are wet leasing as well

    3. Anonymous15:25

      Aproach to BT, if they stil have spare A220's and hire them like Swiss do. It's more or less the same capacity of Embraers.

  13. Anonymous09:32

    Good luck Air Serbia. You will need it,

  14. Anonymous09:33

    A lesson not to simply chase the cheapest leasing deals around.

  15. Anonymous09:33

    Will be interesting to see how this will impact their network, hopefully minimally.

  16. Nemjee09:34

    Like I wrote many times before, appointing Marek as the CEO was the worst thing JU could have done.

    His legacy so far:

    1. insisting on wet leases from various airlines thus killing product standardization in the process. These leased planes don't even have business class. I remember he was saying how A320s will offer business class yet if you try to book it it's not there. So what gives?

    2. Unreasonable expansion without first making sure his team can handle it. This resulted in several rounds of flight cancellations in the period November-February. Several months ago I was attacked for saying they should not exceed growth of more than 10% per annum. They went overboard and we had an operational meltdown in summer and widespread cancellations in winter.

    Let's not forget this gem:

    3. No commercial policy whatsoever. We are still waiting for him to roll out the much anticipated loyalty program both for corporate and regular passengers. It's been years and there is no competitive program for either group of travelers. Even their app is still experiencing glitches and has operational issues.

    4. Cabin of both A330s are in a really bad shape and next to nothing is being done to fix the hard product.

    5. Deal with TK was presented as the next best thing for JU but in the end Air Serbia was massacred in Turkey. They more or less discontinued winter flying to Izmir and Ankara while IST was reduced to doubly daily. TK on the other hand launched ABD , ESB and SAW while IST was boosted from 14 to 21 weekly. All sorts of deals were announced with TK and nothing became of it in the end.

    Many pilots and HQ employees have left since covid. JU is struggling to keep high quality employees who can sustain not only all this expansion but day to day operations as well.

    With this contract being terminated and no valid alternative in place, Air Serbia will have to go through another round of cancellations. This accident, no matter how serious, will be forgotten in about a month or two. They should have weathered the storm in order to maintain their operations. Looking back at post-covid JU we can see them running a relatively chaotic operation while struggling to create any kind of serious passenger volume.

    I hope someone more competent will eventually replace Marek so that JU can once again become a serious and respectable carrier. Like someone wrote the other day, JU is lucky that Serbian economy is performing well otherwise they would be struggling even more. Someone pointed out that even with all this growth they are still struggling to get past 50% marketshare in BEG. They should do some soul searching and ask themselves why is that.

    January 2024:
    BEG: 569.972 (+27.8%)
    JU: 269.725 (+23%)

    Market share: 47.3%

    In reality it's a bit less as JU numbers include INI and KVO. Real number is somewhere between 46.5% and 47%.

    Good luck to Air Serbia and I hope they finally find their way out of this mess.

    1. Anonymous09:40

      Finally somebody with some sense. People here are either 'don't be negative' or 'good for JU cancelling Marathon contract'.

    2. Anonymous11:05

      Nemjee +1000
      Prepare for the management cheerleaders to attack you.

    3. Nemjee11:34

      The summer meltdown mostly happened because JU scheduled summer growth without making sure their planes arrived on time. Major mess started when Dan Air A320 got delayed so it created an unfortunate series of events. Why didn't Marek make sure the plane was scheduled to arrive to BEG two weeks before summer increases? If you know there are all sorts of delays then logic dictates that you always make sure there is a buffer zone between two major events or in this case the arrival of leased planes and their entry into service.
      As for BEG, there is no excuse for the mess they created but JU took a long time to react and to take matters into their own hands. Wasn't it in August that JU hired people to work on the ramp? Why didn't they do it in June or July? They knew very well that BEG was not going to be ready to cope with all this growth.

      Their relationship with EY was all but dead so why keep their loyalty program? Any sensible businessmen would know that it's a drag and doesn't help them become more competitive. There is a reason why Marek spoke of joining AF-KL's or TK's loyalty program. It shows even Marek was aware of the shortfalls of being part of EY's program. That is why there are no excuses as to why they still don't have their own.

      As for profitability, once again we have to go back to the fact that they were helped by strong local market performance as seen from BEG's statistics. They also hold a monopoly when it comes to charter traffic to key destinations such as Turkey or Egypt. How often have we read on here that the Directorate blocked an Egyptian airlines to protect JU?

      And who is left from legacies between VIE and ATH? Tarom? Air Albania? Bulgaria Air? They would be useless if they were not better than they are.
      We can't ignore the fact that despite BEG's growth they are still struggling to get past 50% market share. This is their home market, they have to be stronger than that. Their treatment of customers is what is limiting their growth in BEG. Cuts, delays and all sorts of various ups and downs is what angers those who are supposed to pay a premium (JU is everything but cheap) to fly with them.

      Marek might have been the best from a long line of bad CEOs but if one is to look at his performance then there are many, many flaws. To me it seems like there is more focus on keeping up a facade rather than to focus on fixing core issues.

    4. Anonymous12:20

      As I said there is a portion of responsibility JU carries when we speak about last summer (including delay of A320), but we certainly can't say that it was JU fault that BEG did not have enough people on the ramp. JU was forced to cover that job once they saw how terribly Vinci was organizing whole working process, but they certainly should not have done it before Vinci showed their incompetence. How could they even know that Vinci won't be able to resolve that problem in few weeks?

      They keep EY FF program as they do not have anything better at the moment.

      BEG was always the strongest in EX YU and before FR and W6 same to SOF , Serbian capital was even at that time ahead of SOF, but stil nobody before Marek used that advantage to make profitable national airline. Let me remind you that charter flights have always been almpost strictly reserved for JU, but it did not help to any of previous CEO's to make the company profitable. Who has ever flown from AYT to BEG in the past? Nobody. Only JU. So, the situation did not change for that destination but JU was also the only carrier for charter flights to Bodrum or Izmir, but not anymore. Now, we have TK and JU flying on regular flights to these destinations and despite JU lost these destinations as charters they made a profit,

      Last time I checked AirCairo was flying year-round to HRG so even this destination is not reserved only for JU charters.

      Yes, there is Tarom and there is Croatia Airlines and both of them were ahead of JU in the decade behind us. Bulgaria is EU member, they have sea coast and their population is similar to Serbian. Why don't they have better airline? Obviously because it is not that easy to make the one and especially if you do not have sea coast and you are not an EU member.

      It is not necessary to talk about Croatia Airlines that is very good example what Air Serbia fortunately did not become.

      Depending from the season they are always around 50% of BEG market share, last year with all these new destinations there were even above 50% in some months, but would they have achieved that if they followed your idea of growing only 10% yearly?
      So, we have now the situation that you complain about JU market share in BEG, but at the same time you complain about their expansion which, if it had not happen, would have caused JU to have much, much lower market share in BEG. It sounds quite contradictory to me.

      In previous post I forgot to mention that Marek also managed to get rid of ancient ATR72-200, 500 and B733 and to introduce new type of ATR planes to Air Serbia - ATR72-600. This year they expect to have 10 of these planes in their fleet.

      It does not look like a facade to me.

    5. Anonymous12:29

      You guys are giving Jiri too much credit.
      The only reason Jiri was able to do what he did was because Naysmith controlled the finances impeccably. He is not a commercial guy who was there to make expansions - but a numbers guy who needed to cut losses and make sure JU was in a healthier place after the abysmal situation Kondic left them in. He achieved his task - empirically proven by the fact that Jiri had enough financial leeway to expand without GoS subsides.

      Cooperation with QR also didn’t come because Jiri made it happen, but because Naysmith became the second in command in QR and he parted with JU on good terms so he wanted to continue the cooperation with the same folks he worked with over the years. Jiri just took the credit.

      And to those questioning competencies - Al Baker hand picked and poached Naysmith for the CFO role in QR. I highly doubt that a person like Al Baker, who was known world wide for his approach to running QR would hire someone with questionable competencies.

    6. Anonymous13:30

      I would say that this was Marek's first big bad decision.

    7. Anonymous16:31

      11:34 Strong local market , Ju major routes expension and ofc we can'y ignore the Russia Ukraine war(Not the nicest reason but it defenitly helps for the passenger numbers)

    8. Anonymous22:36

      Marek had to make huge expansion, because moment was right. After covid pause, whole aviation was restarted and only the brave ones positioned themselves at the right place. So, necessity was to expand quickly in order to make profit. Now it's moment to stabilize system and that's exactly what just happening

    9. Nemjee06:17

      Anon 12.20

      JU should be in constant contact with BEG so as to synchronize their operations. In April and May BEG had ads all over Belgrade looking for employees. This should have been a clear sign to them that the airport failed to prepare itself for a busy season. That is when JU should have started preparing itself for what's coming. They should have had these guys on the ramp in June already, not in late August or whenever they came.
      Not only did JU ignore the red flags at the airport, they also failed to make sure their leased fleet was in BEG on time. So in reality Marek failed on two fronts and then he went on blaming supply chain issues. Every single industry struggled with this but we all found a way around it so as to maintain healthy business activities.

      As for the loyalty program, that is what I am saying. It's been years and they have not yet addressed and fixed this issue despite realizing what a problem it is for them.

      Yes both RO and OU were ahead of us in the past but it was not Marek who made sure we overtake them. It happened before his time.
      Well, there is a reason why it's not only Bulgaria Air that struggles despite it being based in a tourist Mecca. Just look at Croatia Airlines, ITA Airways, TAP etc.
      So far it seems like only Greeks managed to replace a useless airline with a successful one (OA vs A3).

      As for the charter traffic, indeed Air Cairo had to be allowed but how many other players were blocked? Remember Al Masria which wanted to fly to BEG with the A330? They didn't want to do it because they were bored but rather because local (Serbian) tour operators wanted to work with them. Then there are all sorts of other carriers who applied only to be turned down. Talking of Air Cairo, didn't Serbia refuse to grant them a permit to operate flights from INI to Egypt? Instead JU took over and charter flights were terminated ahead of schedule. Could it be that JU offered them a price that was too high for passengers heading to Egypt?

      As for the marketshare, there is no contradiction. Point is that if they are growing so rapidly then their share at BEG should be much higher. Like this it is lower despite aggressively expanding left and right. If you are adding so many flights and you fail to considerably increase your share at your home airport, then it means you merely followed the market and did not become stronger in it. In other words, you grew but so did your competition.
      Since you mentioned China, don't forget that this winter JU actually reduced TSN to one weekly while Hainan kept on flying with 2 weekly flights, compared to just 1 last year.
      If they grew at a slower pace then their share would have been lower but their performance would have been much healthier and they would actually grow at a sustainable rate. Maybe JU would not have struggled in places such as Turkey or China which represent two key markets for Serbia. Why are airlines such as Hainan, Turkish Airlines, Pegasus and probably even Qatar profiting more from this than JU is? How can Turkish arrivals to Serbia grow at such a rate while JU is cutting flights to Turkey?

      Turkish arrivals in December 2023: 11.562 (+16.8%)
      It was in December that JU reduced IST and butchered ESB and ADB while TK actually expanded.

      Marek embarked on turbo growth which ended quite unfavorably both in terms of network cuts and now this accident.

      Please don't forget that Marek took over an airline which was already reformed. An airline that already restarted its long-haul flying, that modernized its core fleet and that already had a relatively well developed network with well coordinated waves of arrivals and departures. His main task was to keep on developing JU and to more or less modernize/upgrade it. So far besides launching a whole bunch of routes where many of them ended up suspended over the winter there isn't much he did.

    10. Anonymous14:38

      EY just made it a top priority for JU to come up with a viable FF program - as of June, only tier miles (and not segments) will be counted towards higher status, and then at least some will need to be flown on actual EY flights. Therefore, there will virtually be no chance for 95% of JU FFs to retain their status - which makes the program useless for anyone who expects their loyalty to be rewarded.

  17. Anonymous09:51

    Sve srećne airlines su iste, sve nesrećne airlines su nesrećne na svoj način - Tolstoj

  18. Anonymous10:05

    Well done, AS, for handling the matter efficiently, and all the best from SLO.

  19. Anonymous10:35

    I don't understand this. Yes, one pilot made a mistake. Fire him, procesute him, do whatever the law and rules tell you to do. And make sure this particular mistake never happens again. But apart from that, why cancel all other pilots and aircraft and the contract with Marathon altogether? They are not providing any logical explanation for that.

    What if Air Serbia's own pilot made that mistake? Would they then shut down Air Serbia?

    1. Anonymous10:46

      The pilot in charge was also mentor to the new pilots in Marathon. Imagine being mentored by a guy who went offroading

    2. Anonymous10:46

      My question too !

    3. Anonymous10:54

      Find a new mentor maybe then? Someone you fully trust, is reliable,... they could've stopped ejets for few weeks, find the right person to take care of the pilots... but now they need find a whole lot of replacement planes, new pilots to fly them (who knows how well they will do) and all that before may

    4. Anonymous11:19

      Just one guy called Nemjee brags about Marek but this was wet lease because it was better than establishing new type in air company.

    5. Nemjee11:37

      I am bragging about Marek? Hardly. I don't think you know the meaning of word brag.

      How can this scenario be better if it brought to where they are today? Had they invested in introducing a new model on time (dry lease) then the situation might have been different today.

    6. Anonymous11:39

      Air Serbia did a good job here. Belgrade grew hugely in passenger traffic because of the Russia situation, and saw Air Serbia expanded quickly with what was an excellent operator of Embraer aircraft. Aircraft that Air Serbia did not have. The commentary surrounding this incident is ridiculous. Air Serbia should have stuck with Marathon.

    7. Anonymous12:02

      Air Serbia had no choice here. Marathon Airlines is a small company and will most likely soon have a restricted AOC or maybe even completely canceled AOC. Easy company the European regulators can use to make an example of, so from an Air Serbia perspective, they are now an unreliable partner as their is no guarantee their planes will be flying anyway to cover the upcoming summer season.

    8. Anonymous13:15

      The second incident of this kind with Marathon's metal would severely impact JU's image (maybe even to the irreparable level), so JU decided not to gamble. Can you imagine the outrage if anything similar with Marathon plane operated for Air Serbia happen again? This is good decision by Air Serbia.

  20. Anonymous11:46

    German Airways offers ACMI Services maybe an good but expensive Option.

  21. Anonymous12:33

    Air Serbia's reputation will be severely damaged by this incident (as it should)

    1. Anonymous15:31

      Reputation of Marathon and their pilots is severely damaged as there is expert consensus on them being most likely cause of this accident.

      Reputation of Air Serbia just went up as they cancelled all ties with Marathon and ensured Air Serbia passengers they will no longer fly with Marathon.

  22. Anonymous13:36

    I just don't understand the negative comments here... From my point of view, as a passenger, I am satisfied and support the decision of Air Serbia. I have the feeling that attacking AS is like a sport among the people here. So I will not pretend to be an airline pro as others do but come on..

    I can imagine that what happened was not the only reason for the termination of the contract. On the other side, we will see how AS will manage the shortage but also there, I think the will handle it.

  23. Anonymous14:01

    Maybe this unfortunate event pushes JU to buy new planes. Back on the article, I feel like there were incidents before with Marathon and that JU has had enough. I highly doubt they would cancel the contract if the cooperation was perfect until this incident, there must have been more.

    1. Anonymous15:39

      @anon 14:03
      Agree. Looks like it wasn't Marathon's first incident.

  24. Anonymous14:07

    Marathon website now shows "coming soon", they might just as well close it down

    1. Anonymous14:09

      It's showing up for me

    2. Anonymous14:11

      Oh lol their linkedin page connects you to:

    3. Anonymous14:29

      They should take down: Trusted by AirSerbia

    4. Anonymous14:36

      Lubeck went under too haha!

  25. Anonymous14:10

    I somewhat agree...terminating the contract with the greek organization is interesting 🤔 I'm curious what the decision process was like

  26. Anonymous14:13

    Marathon Airlines regrets to confirm that flight number JU324 from Belgrade (Serbia) to Düsseldorf (Germany), operated on behalf of Air Serbia, has been involved in an incident at Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade.

    The incident occurred at 17:39 (local time) during take-off. The aircraft involved was an Embraer E195LR (registered OY-GDC), carrying 106 passengers and 5 crew members.

    The aircraft landed safely back at the same airport at 18:36 (local time). There were no injuries to passengers or crew members on board.

    Marathon Airlines remains fully committed to cooperating with all relevant investigation authorities.

    Updated information will be provided through a new press release."

  27. Anonymous14:37

    I think there is more to the story regarding the contract being cancelled so fast. I suspect AS knew things happening at Marathon weren't above board but let it slide since they were letting them expand cheaply and there were tight deadlines. It has been a rushed expansion for both AS and marathon and some corners have probably been cut. AS trying to now distance themselves by cancelling the contract.

    1. Anonymous15:11

      That's what i'm saying. Makes no sense to cancel a whole contract due to a single incident. Can happen tomorrow on any Airbus etc.

    2. Anonymous19:07

      I agree, there is more to the story and it will become public. Not only AS knew things happening in Marathon, but AS knows things that will happen to Marathon because of this. It is likely that Marathon will loose EASA certification, then AS would have to drop them anyway. This way, at least, you separate AS as a brand from the subcontractor.

    3. Anonymous22:32

      Anonymous 15:11 what you still don't get is, this wasn't an incident. This was a major accident that almost led to a crash.

  28. Is it possible Air Serbia was looking to get out of this contract and this incident gave them the opportunity to do so? I didn't think they had this much slack in aircraft utilization to absorb the capacity, but they don't seem to be worried at the moment.

    1. Anonymous15:46

      Definitely not. They had more Marathon planes incoming. Utilisation was low for today because it is the middle of February.

  29. Anonymous16:13

    How realistic is it that they find a replacement for Marathon before the summer season starts?

  30. Anonymous16:25

    As a premium paying passanger, I want a premium product. Business class in both A330s is not good, wirh Tesla definitely better than Pupin, but still not good enough. There are so many alternatives from China to Europe but I am still usinf Air Serbia. Until I quit.

    1. Anonymous16:38

      What does your rant have to do with this article?

    2. Anonymous20:35

      I can tell you are so premium. You have no idea what premium, first or bussines even mean. Compare to others JU is very good . Let me tell you how bad it is from someone that often fly bussines class on AA and DL, their service and food is 2* compare to JU. It is embarrassing to even call their service a bussines. Flight crew does not even wear proper uniform. They are not clean or professional. Half food comes in plastic containers and cold. Again you have no idea how bad is the service at those airlines and they are from those G7 countries. Very poor compare to JU.

  31. Anonymous16:44

    Honest question from a non-professional: why don't ALL aircraft go to the start of the runway? Like why even have a choice between D4, D5, etc. I get you need multiple exits for convenience, emergencies etc. but at take off why not direct all planes to the same starting position? And if the plane is light and doesn't need the full runway, who cares? Wouldn't that eliminate one decision point, i.e. one more opportunity for error?

    1. Anonymous02:51

      The airline would have had strict guidelines and policies relating to just this that would be in their AOC and a part of their standard operating procedure which would have been approved by the authorities before they were issued with any type of licensee to operate aircraft for hire or reward.

      It would read something similar to this.:
      Take off position would need to ensure enough runway is available in an event of an emergency at or prior to the V1 speed that the aircraft can safely stop on the remaining runway and clearway.
      During takeoff, the distance available should ensure the aircraft reaches (usually it is from memory) at least 50ft by the end of the runway threshold.
      This is why some aircraft (especially turbo prop types) will depart from an intersection as they have more than enough available runway length to meet these requirements.

      The pilots here (especially the "instructor captain") ignored standard safety and company takeoff procedure. This is why they will be most to blame but the airline too could be in jeopardy of maintaining their AOC if it is shown or proved that there was no system in place to ensure these and other standard procedures are followed.

  32. Anonymous18:22

    As a Bulgarian and following this blog for such a long time and even a non-Serb very angry and detached to the news because it is very important. I think JU is a good airline.
    Imo, the JU history of "boutique" airline at the very beginning with Etihad was very interesting and surprising for a Balkan country with an okay economy and improving.
    But, without sounding strange, the directors behind these companies MUST know the Balkan lands and system very well. We have a complex history but also geography. Mountains, fogs, difficult to approach airports, etc, etc. etc.
    I will be neutral about Marek because the investigation of this incident is still not official and we do not know the exact reasons - most likely pilot error or miscommunication with ATC because of the language. I listen to ATC conversations very often on LiveATC not because I am an expert but an aviation lover. Whenever the plane arrives from BEG to SOF, they speak in bratko mode and even if there are hurdles like with "military zones to be avoided", BEG pilots know SOF airport so well and most likely in the rest of the Balkan region and the conversations are very short, but very clear and with no hassles.
    Here, it seems that the pilots have no idea about BEG, no fluid communication as the official audio suggests, they dump fuel on places where more people live (obviously, they are not Serbs from what I read, but that does not matter now) and unsure why they were so long hovering the city.
    Idk, I am very interested in incidents but this one is quite strange and really dk if the ATC did a mistake, if the pilots were novice, if Vinci is behind this, if this plane had issues. Newer companies also have all the right to grow, but as Michael from Ryanair said, Europe will be left with very airlines. See what happened with the Estonian carrier. They have a nice brand, logo, etc but faced problems in Germany:

    Okay, we are all Europeans and must know our land, but honestly think that Balkan pilots are very good because they know their land and including Serbia in this aspect.
    In Bulgaria, we used to operate Soviet planes and had a poor record of safety similar to Malév or LOT, because the planes were crappy.
    The only big problem now is the lack of huge silence, we see videos and photos but nobody says anything from neither Marathon nor Air Serbia and this is really not good.
    In Bulgaria we also fly the very same Embraers for 12 years, but will need to know what happened soon and avoid it for the whole industry. Embraers are excellent, no doubt about it.
    One thing for sure that MUST be done imo is the profile of both pilots. There are many many examples in the industry especially MH 370 crash or germanwings BCN (ironically DUS again) in 2015. Also why did ATC allow such clearance? Was it a language barrier or because the runway is new and unknown?
    At the end of the day and thank God, everyone is safe but find this incident very interesting but for sure for sure will be a series of events that we will have to wait and see what the real experts say.
    notlufthansa gave very good arguments because he is more in "the kitchen" and has more knowledge. Uf, what will happen with the JU expansionor how many passengers will use BEG is so irrelevant. What is important now is safety, also stricter staff training and profiling if needed. Understand if they are "just working" or not well paid and motivated. The company culture.
    On Internet you are not blind, you clearly see that staff are not very happy and they are the core of your company.
    Also, the good period was when JU had only 2 aircraft models: ATRs and Airbuses. There were strange speculations about Sukhoi.
    Anyway, wishing JU all the best and to never have an incident again.

    1. Nenad23:32

      "Bratko mode" - you got me there! I agree with you.

    2. Anonymous07:25

      I've read in another aviation forum, that actually it's not possible to dump fuel from an Erj. But rather pilots were trying to "burn as much fuel as they can before landing". IMHO they should've landed back immediately.

    3. Anonymous21:28

      07:25 I disagree with that.

  33. Anonymous21:40

    Air Serbia will need 15 aircraft on lease for summer 2024. I expect Avion Express, Smartlynx Airlines, Get Jet Airlines, Heston Airlines. At that time, Marathon's E190s will quickly find a new tenant.

    1. Anonymous01:05

      They could, idk how airline/airplane insurance works, but I would assume their insurance rates will be much higher after this accident

    2. Anonymous10:00

      One would have to be insane to buy a ticket with JU for their summer holiday

  34. Anonymous14:45

    That fleet salad in general does not add efficiency or security to Air Serbia. Aegean which is bigger has only A321/320 Atr72/42 600. Though growth generally is needed at Air Serbia.

  35. Anonymous08:18

    As much eager they may be to clean their face, it is completely under JU responsibility. Malek shall go to the compliance department and ask
    for a report about the pre-audit process for Marathon. Permitting a line intro on ACMI is highly irresponsible. EU airspace is full of questionable ACMI operators, associated with dubious fundings serving major airlines which is just a ticking time bomb waiting for another accident to occur. It is only a matter of time before another accident happens.


Post a Comment

EX-YU Aviation News does not tolerate insults, excessive swearing, racist, homophobic or any other chauvinist remarks or provocative posts with the intention of creating further arguments. A full list of comment guidelines can be found here. Thank you for your cooperation.