Jat Airways to operate under new name from 26 October

Source: Flightglobal.com
This story is sourced from Flightglobal.com

Airline and government officials have confirmed 26 October as the date for Jat Airways' relaunch as Air Serbia.

Its new identity is a product of its strategic alliance with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, which is taking a 49% stake in the Serbian carrier.

The first two Airbus A319s to appear in Air Serbia colours are former Volaris airframes: MSNs 1140 and 1159. These had been in storage in Phoenix, Arizona. They are listed in Flightglobal's Ascend Online database as being owned by FLY Leasing and managed by BBAM.

An additional two aircraft have been obtained from European sources.

All four aircraft are fitted with International Aero Engines V2500 powerplants, and configured with 120 economy and eight business-class seats in an "all-new" interior.

A further four A319s are to be leased – including MSNs 2277 and 2621. Lessor CIT owns 2277, while 2621 is, again, owned by FLY Leasing and managed by BBAM.

The eight A319s, plus two A320, will form the core of the fleet, supplemented by ATR 72-200 and -500 turboprops.

Etihad is to provide Air Serbia with training and logistics support in order to create a "common product", in the line with Etihad's equity alliance policy. A first group of Air Serbia cabin crew members has completed training on Airbus narrowbodies Etihad's academy in Abu Dhabi. Jat's loyalty programme has been incorporated into Etihad's.

A five-year contract to manage Jat was awarded to Etihad as part of the partnership deal, confirmed on 1 August, and the Serbian government took on debt amount to some €170 million ($230 million).

More than 360 staff members have left Jat under a government-funded social programme.