Serbian charter carrier teams up with Delta Holding to create new budget airline

Serbian charter carrier Aviogenex has linked up with one of the country's biggest companies – Delta Holding – to create a low-cost airline that aims to launch by the middle of the year. Called Air Maxi, the airline will operate a newly acquired fleet of Boeing 737-300s or -400s, threatening to add to the woes of embattled national carrier Jat Airways.

The contract to create the new airline was signed by Delta vice-president Milka Forcan and the president of Aviogenex's parent company ICG, Milorad Savicevic, in Belgrade on 25 March. According to Forcan, the new airline will be low cost and focused on establishing a regional route network.

ICG's vice-president responsible for Aviogenex operations, Mija Todorovic, says Delta will handle sales, reservations and marketing while Aviogenex will provide the flights on a "charter basis".

Todorovic says the tie-up with Delta resulted from the airline's decision to seek funding from the company's banking arm to replace its ageing fleet of three Boeing 727-200 Advs and a single 737-200 (the latter currently flying for Sudan Airways on a two-year wet lease contract).

Instead of a pure financing deal, Aviogenex and Delta "entered the closer partnership" and the airline is now seeking to lease two 737-300s or -400s before the summer season to start Air Maxi operations.

Todorovic says the initial lease of two aircraft will be for "at least 18 months".

Air Maxi's general manager is the former Jat Airways boss Drasko Vujovic, who says the airline is eyeing destinations in the region not served from Belgrade, such as Bucharest, Sofia and Venice.

Other potential cities include those with a large number of Serbian ethnic travellers, popular holiday resorts in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and the Belgrade-Tivat "holiday" route that is currently served only by full-fare carriers Jat Airways and Montenegro Airlines.


Source: Flight International