Review by Christos T. Panagopoulos –
Air Serbia has recorded a 12% passenger increase in its first week of operations as a rebranded airline and has seen an extreme surge in bookings as it looks to win back the trust of passengers lost during the final years of Jat Airways. However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the carrier as it had to deal with delays on many of its flights. In a press release the airline explains the delays have come down to its new catering offer. Flights are now taking much longer to stock with food and drinks due to a selection of several meal choices available on each flight while there is an inadequate number of catering trucks to serve all aircraft, many of which now depart at exactly the same time or in five minute intervals.
Despite some early hiccups, Air Serbia’s CEO, Dane Kondić, believes it is important for the airline to continue to grow. “It is important for us because we need to get this branch of the Serbian economy, air transport, growing again. That means providing more choices for our guests – flying where they want and when they want. So we are launching five new destinations this year, with another twelve coming in 2014. Our country and our people need this so we can all move ahead and keep pace with the rest of the world”. Mr. Kondić explains the airline has also been faced with opposition. “We no longer fly to Ataturk Airport in Istanbul as they wanted to secure better slots for their national airline so we were given a departure time of 02.50 in the morning. We want to be a profitable company and that means offering our guests timing which best suits them”.
This week the Serbian carrier is set to receive its third Airbus A319 aircraft. “It’s an exceptional aircraft but for Air Serbia it’s just the first step on our way towards the airline’s better future. An aircraft like this will allow us to modernise our fleet and expand our network and that’s just what we’ve done. Now we have made the first step, we are starting to look at the longer term. We’ve started a tender process for a major fleet expansion to introduce the latest Boeing, Airbus or Bombardier aircraft with deliveries starting in 2016. The A319s are great, but whichever aircraft we select for this second phase will be the most modern and state of the art on the market”, Mr. Kondić explains.
On October 29, the Jat brand officially ceased to exist as the Serbian Register Agency listed Air Serbia as Jat’s successor. “I think we should all respect the Jat brand as it has played an important part in the history of our nation and in the lives of many of our people. But the industry has changed and we need to evolve and grow new wings for our future flights. That’s why the time is right to welcome a new player into the national scene. Air Serbia is a brand, an airline and a concept that will play a key role in our country’s future”, CEO Kondić concludes.
Source: EXYU Aviation News