Air Serbia (formerly Jat Airways) (Belgrade) reported its first half financial results showing growth in revenue, passengers and cargo following the investment by Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi), new Airbus aircraft and a brand overhaul. The airline is now confident it will be profitable by the end of 2014. Air Serbia has issued this first half financial statement:
Air Serbia, the national airline of the Republic of Serbia, has reported strong improvement in total revenue for the first half of 2014, with revenues increasing by 82 per cent to EUR102 million, compared to EUR 56 million for the same period in 2013.
A total of 944,000 passengers travelled with the airline between January and June this year, almost 70 per cent more than the same period last year.
Air Serbia Cargo also performed significantly better in H1 2014, carrying 907 tonnes of freight, a 65 per cent increase on H1 2013. Cargo revenue grew by 32 per cent, an important and burgeoning service for Air Serbia.
Air Serbia’s passenger carrying capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometers (ASKs), was 1,588 million by the end of first half of 2014, an increase of 85 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Since Air Serbia’s launch on 26 October 2013, the airline has inducted 9 Airbus aircraft, with two Airbus A320 aircraft delivered in the second quarter of 2014. This has resulted in the average age of the jet fleet being reduced from 25 years to 10 years.
Dane Kondić, Chief Executive Officer of Air Serbia, said: “The results are very pleasing and demonstrate how effectively the Air Serbia team is working to deliver on the strategy of sustainable growth. We are on track to deliver a profitable, strong airline by the end of the current financial year, in line with the commitment of our shareholders, the Government of Serbia and Etihad Airways.We expect to maintain the momentum for the second half of 2014, as we continue to reconnect the Balkan region and new markets, through a combination of direct flights, as well as expanding our codeshare partnerships. There is no doubt that we are bringing choice, convenience and comfort to travellers”, Mr Kondić said.
The fast-paced growth of Air Serbia’s regional route network to 38 destinations by the end of June 2014, one new and four expanded codeshare partnerships and a more modern and reliable fleet, are the key factors driving growth in passenger numbers and cargo volumes.
In the first half of the year, Air Serbia launched 11 new routes. In addition, codeshare agreements with Etihad Airways and airberlin have been expanded to include the holiday destinations of Colombo in Sri Lanka and Palma de Mallorca in Spain. The codeshare agreement with Romanian national airline Tarom was also expanded to include Chisinau, Moldova.
Furthermore, the Air Serbia’s codeshare agreement with Etihad Regional, signed on July 1, 2014, has now introduced the attractive Swiss destinations of Geneva and Lugano to travellers.
The growth of Air Serbia is also creating a significant number of new jobs for Serbian nationals. In the first half of 2014, the airline grew its workforce by 300 new professionals. Investing in the future, Air Serbia is planning to relaunch its cadet pilot scheme.
Elsewhere, 10 young graduates are currently attending a graduate management program in Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways and will, upon successful completion, join operating divisions across Air Serbia.
The technical department of Air Serbia has employed 44 engineers and technicians to establish the line maintenance facility at Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla International Airport.
Mr Kondić said Air Serbia needed more good people to join the team. “We have a number of vacancies and I encourage Serbian nationals to visit our website. We are a Serbian company that can offer rewarding career opportunities for the right people.”
Mr Kondić said that while the operational and network improvements of Air Serbia over the past six months were very important, he was proud that Air Serbia was able to make a significant contribution to Serbia’s humanitarian effort during the recent floods which devastated the country.
During the floods in May, Air Serbia transported a total of 154 tons of humanitarian aid (with a service value of approximately EUR 170,000), in the belly-hold capacity of its aircraft to Belgrade and also to Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 YU-APH (msn 2645) arrives in Zurich.
Air Serbia (formerly Jat Airways) (Belgrade) will now extend the date of the retirement date of its Jat Airways-painted Boeing 737-300s to October 24, 2014 according to Airline Route. The last routes will be to Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Podgorica. Air Serbia is replacing the older Boeing 737s with newer Airbus A319s and A320s.
Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-3H9 YU-AND (msn 23329) arrives in Zurich.
Air Serbia (Belgrade) will launch a new daily Airbus A319 Belgrade-Beirut route on June 1 per Airline Route.
Top Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-131 YU-APC (msn 2621) lands at Stockholm (Arlanda).
Bottom Copyright Photo: Air Serbia/Vladimir Turo. The Airbus A319 fleet gathers at the Belgrade hub.
Air Serbia (Belgrade) is planning to launch long-haul routes to North America, including Chicago (O’Hare) and Toronto (Pearson) using Airbus A330s, starting in late 2015 according to EX-YU Aviation News quoting Serbian Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić at a press conference. The PM also expects Air Serbia will soon be operating in the black, unlike the losses piled up by the former Jat Airways. Jat Airways in the past operated McDonnell Douglas DC-10s to North America.
Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. This would be the first long-haul aircraft for the revamped airline joining its current fleet of Airbus A319s and A320s, a new type which was just added. Airbus A320-232 YU-APH (msn 2645) prepares to land in Zurich.
Air Serbia Slide Show: CLICK HERE
Air Serbia (Belgrade) is currently planning to operate the last Boeing 737-300 flight on April 28. The aging Jat Airways Boeing 737-300 fleet is being upgraded and replaced with newer Airbus A319s. Currently the last Boeing 737-300 scheduled service is now scheduled for flight JU 415 from Stockholm (Arlanda) to Belgrade on April 28 according to Airline Route.
This will also be end of the Jat Airways (JAT) brand and name.
Top Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Because of the imminent retirement the former Jat Airways Boeing 737-300s are not being repainted in Air Serbia’s colors. Boeing 737-3H9 YU-ANJ (msn 23714) completes its final approach to the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport in the current 2004 livery.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. JAT was the first airline in Europe to order and operate the new Boeing 737-300 in 1985. The new type entered revenue service after the first (YU-AND) was delivered on July 31, 1985. The pictured 737-3H9 YU-ANL (msn 23716) displays the original 1963 livery worn by the type.
Air Serbia (Belgrade) will launch flights to six new destinations in Europe and the Middle East.
Flights will commence new routes to Beirut (Lebanon), Budapest (Hungary), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Varna (Bulgaria) on March 30, 2014, followed by Kiev (Ukraine) and Warsaw (Poland) on May 29, 2014.
The new routes will increase the total number of destinations to 35, a growth rate of 20 per cent in comparison to the present number.
Air Serbia will offer daily services to Budapest, Kiev, Sofia and Warsaw, while Beirut and Varna will commence with three flights a week and increase to daily frequencies from June 2014.
Services to Kiev, Warsaw and Beirut will be operated with Airbus A319 aircraft.
Budapest, Sofia and Varna flights will be operated with Air Serbia’s (former Jat Airways) ATR 72 aircraft.
Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Air Serbia’s Airbus A319-132 YU-APE (msn 3252) arrives at London (Heathrow).
Jat Airways (Belgrade) is no more. The national carrier of Serbia was succeeded by replacement carrier Air Serbia (Belgrade) yesterday (October 26). Air Serbia is the result of a new strategic partnership between the Government of Serbia and Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi). The majority 51 percent of the shares of new Air Serbia are now owned by the Serbian Government and the remaining 49 percent by Etihad Airways which has been on a spending spree to to partially acquire and transform underperforming national carriers to feed its own operations.
Jat Airways is now defunct.
Air Serbia’s inaugural flight departed Belgrade yesterday for Abu Dhabi.
Here is the history of troubled Jat Airways (from their website):
Jat Airways’s predecessor, the Society for Air Transport AEROPUT, was founded on June 17, 1927. This date marks the beginning of civil aviation in our country. The first aircraft to fly under the company name Yugoslav Airlines took off 20 years later, on April 1, 1947.
In mid-January 1947, the civil aviation traffic administration became part of the Transport Ministry, thereby confirming its civilian status. On March 17, 1947, pilots, navigators, radio operators and flight mechanics were transferred from the Transport Regiment to the newly formed company. In the meantime, the company acquired modified aircraft and the first flying season was launched on April 1, 1947.
After weathering the winds of war, AEROPUT pilots and mechanics joined Yugoslav Airlines crews in JAT’s earliest days.
Yugoslav Airlines kicked off with two Douglas C-47 aircraft modified into a DC-3 and two JU-52 Junkers. In the course of the year, the fleet grew by another JU-52, four DC-3s and one unmodified C-47 intended for cargo transport. These aircraft maintained regular traffic on domestic lines: Belgrade-Zagreb-Ljubljana and Zagreb-Sarajevo, and on international lines: Belgrade-Prague-Warsaw.
The first three Sud Aviation Caravelle airplanes joined the JAT fleet in 1963, and the fleet continued to grow six years later with the addition of the first Douglas DC-9, and seven years later with the first Boeing 707. At the same time, the last of the piston-engine veterans – the DC-3 and Convair – were withdrawn from the fleet. The introduction of jet engine aircraft enabled more comfortable and affordable flights – far exceeding the characteristics of piston engine aircraft. With increased capacity and range, these planes served as a basis for expanding the flight network, enabling the company to appear in third markets and make a bid for genuine air traffic growth. This was the main course of Yugoslav Airlines development through the early 1970s, a period tentatively termed by the company as “the beginning of jet aviation”.
Just as the beginning of the 1960s was decisive due to the introduction of the first jet-engine aircraft, so were the 1970s with the introduction of the “big Boeing” – the Boeing 707, after which the first charter lines were established to North America with regular traffic. In addition to the introduction of the Douglas DC-10-30, the first wide-body aircraft, in 1978, this period represented the beginning of one of the most important stages in JAT’s evolution.
Persistent investment in modernization and the acquisition of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 guided Yugoslav Airlines to yet another phase of development, the so-called wide-body stage, which was followed several years later by the purchase of a medium-range aircraft – the Boeing 737. This acquisition, among the first in Europe, established a basic pre-condition for further expansion of traffic in nearly all directions. Also, existing lines in Europe, the Middle East and Africa were significantly extended, followed by network expansion to the US, Canada and Australia.
During those “golden years”, as some JAT chroniclers have dubbed the period, Yugoslav Airlines opened many offices abroad, carried five million passengers annually, continued to develop and modernize its technical operations parallel to developing service activities such as general aviation, hotel commerce, operating its own training centre and investing in infrastructure. JAT also constructed a large hangar to accommodate wide-body aircraft and a jet-engine test stand, which enabled the company to master the technique of examining engines and other components for modern fleets. Furthermore, the company proved excellent in business skills, successfully negotiating contracts with several third world companies.
Meanwhile, JAT developed its information system and introduced automatic ticket sales. In short, the company made a bid to meet its competition by responding to the growing demands and expectations of its passengers while continuing to satisfy regular passengers by living up to the famous company slogan – JAT is MORE THAN FLYING.
Yugoslav Aerotransport changed its name to Jat Airways on August 8, 2003.
Top Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. A fine taxiway study of Jat Airways’ Boeing 737-3Q4 YU-AON (msn 24208) in the last color scheme at Zurich. The Jat Airways Boeing 737-300s are being replaced with newer Air Serbia Airbus A319s, another narrow body customer loss for Boeing.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Greenwing/AirlinersGallery.com. Former TACA AIrbus A319-132 N473TA (msn 1140) has become A6-SAA on lease from Etihad Airways to Air Serbia.
The first Airbus A319 to arrive in Belgrade was welcomed by the airline’s CEO Dane Kondic with a traditional water cannon salute according to the Serbian carrier on Facebook.
Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) is acquiring a 49 percent share in the Serbian flag carrier. Jat Airways will be renamed Air Serbia later this year.
Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-131 YU-APC (msn 2621) is now full painted in the new colors of Air Serbia.
Air Serbia (Belgrade) will soon take delivery of the first of ten Airbus A319s as the airline reorganizes under the leadership of new partner Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi). The pictured A319-131 EI-EYA is seen at Dublin after emerging from the paint shop and undergoing engine runs on September 27, 2013. EI-EYA is the former VT-KFH of Kingfisher Airlines. Jat Airways (Belgrade) is expected to be replaced by the new Air Serbia on October 27, 2013. EI-EYA will become YU-APC on delivery. Three A319s will initially be delivered with two leased from Etihad Airways.
Air Serbia is the legal successor of Jat Airways (Belgrade) and will receive its own Air Operators Certificate (AOC) although it is expected to retain the JU/JAT codes of Jat Airways.
All 10 A319s are expected to be in service by March 2014.
Etihad will control 49 percent of the stock of the new company.
Copyright Photo: Paul Doyle/AirlinersGallery.com. The new airline also introduces this new livery.
Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) has no intention of joining one of the traditional airline alliances. Instead it is quickly building an alliance of aligned airlines in which its has an equity share. The latest target is reportedly loss-making Alitalia (2nd) (Rome).
Alitalia, which is currently 25 percent owned by the Air France-KLM Group (Air France and KLM are code-share partners of Etihad), was rescued from bankruptcy in 2008. It was acquired by a consortium of Italian companies including bank Intesa Sanpaolo and is reportedly discussing with Etihad Airways about a possible new partnership according to this report by Reuters.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Meanwhile Etihad Airways is moving ahead to increase its equity in Virgin Australia Airlines (Brisbane), following recent approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board to increase from a 10 percent shareholding to 19.9 percent.
Etihad Airways equity alliance is a planned alternative to the legacy airline alliances. The Etihad equity alliance now has five members, following a deal to invest in Serbia’s national airline, Air Serbia (Belgrade).
Etihad Airways also is awaiting regulatory approval for investment in a sixth airline, India’s Jet Airways (Mumbai), which gives the equity alliance a combined total of more than 420 destinations, 500 aircraft and more than 96 million passengers each year.
In other news, Etihad Airways has announced new services for the Australia market including:
- Airbus A380 aircraft from Sydney and Melbourne to Abu Dhabi
- Construction of premium lounges at Sydney and Melbourne Airports from 2014
- Additional flights from Melbourne and Brisbane to Abu Dhabi
- Commencement of nonstop flights between Perth and Abu Dhabi
Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Painted in the special Formula 1 livery to promote the Abu Dhabi’s Grand Prix, Airbus A340-642X A6-EHJ (msn 933) climbs away from the runway at Geneva.