Aeroflot courts JAT

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Serbia's newly elected government expects by the end of this month to kick off the process of privatising state-owned national carrier JAT Airways.

Serbian infrastructure minister Velimir Ilic has been quoted by local media as saying that the "best proposal so far" has come from Russian flag carrier Aeroflot. "They offered to keep the entire workforce, to pay off the debts and to buy new planes in order to make JAT one of the leading companies in south-eastern Europe," said Ilic.

The minister says privatisation is the best solution for the flag carrier, which is "in need of fleet renewal and is unable to finance new aircraft acquisitions on its own".

The Serbian government and JAT Airways have announced on several occasions plans for a fleet renewal, including a revision of a long-standing Airbus order and purchasing Bombardier or Embraer regional jets, but no deal has been closed.