Jat Airways has rolled out the first aircraft in its new livery, as it prepares to standardise its fleet on the Boeing 737.

Belgrade-based Serbian flag carrier Jat Airways was previously the national carrier of the former Yugoslavia (JAT - Jugoslovenski Aerotransport - Yugoslav Airlines), and rebranded last year as Jat Airways.

The airline will operate a fleet of 11 737-300/400s on routes in Europe and to the Mediterranean this year. It operates nine 737s (eight -300s and one -400), and will take three ex-US Airways -400s on three-year leases next month. These will replace the airline's Boeing 727-200s, most of which have already been withdrawn. Jat Airways' four remaining McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30s will also be retired and offered for lease.

Jat's order for eight Airbus A319s, signed in 1997, is on ice and it remains unclear when the aircraft will be delivered, if ever. The airline is believed to have handed over around $23 million in downpayments to the manufacturer.

With the beginning of its summer timetable Jat Airways will launch its regional subsidiary Interair link with five ATR 72s. Jat will transfer its four ATRs, and the fifth aircraft is scheduled to arrive in the second quarter. New destinations planned for 2004 include Dubrovnik, Kuwait, Sofia and Tehran.

Jat Airways saw its passenger numbers grow 6% during the first 10 months of 2003, to 1,180,000. Operating costs have been reduced and revenue increased 12% on 2002 to $156 million.

Source: Flight International