Currently there is no resumption of services on behalf of MAT in sight. This leaves 180 employees in doubt of their position within the carrier. With MAT grounded, Serbia’s Jat Airways has now become the largest carrier operating out of Macedonia with a total of 11 weekly flights, which will be increased to 13, starting June 1.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
However, Stamenković says that the charter carriers from these countries are not to blame rather that it is “individual interests”. “The Government of Serbia sent a letter earlier this year to travel agents in the country stating that during the summer seasons the same rules will apply as last year, which means that foreign charter carriers will not transport Serbian tourists. Upon this order 97% of travel agencies made an agreement with Jat Airways for summer charters. However, 1 tourist agent made an agreement with foreign carriers, even though this is illegal. This is how the problem began”, explains YUTA’s director. He did not wish to name which tour operator is in question. Serbian passengers do not care with which carrier they will travel to their summer vacation since ticket prices are all included in their holiday packages. Stamenković says that if the government does not care for Jat to make 25 million Euros, like it did last year thanks to charter traffic, then it should clearly announce this.
No matter of the outcome of Jat’s charter operations to Egypt and Turkey this summer, all of Jat’s scheduled services to Istanbul are not affected by this decision as charter licenses are spate from regular licensed flights. In a study conducted during February and March this summer Serbs have chosen Greece as their number one holiday destination followed by Bulgaria, Turkey and Egypt.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
However, Niš could be getting a major boost this year. Turkish companies such as Atlasjet, Pegasus Airlines and Sky Airlines are interested in commencing services and Jat is hoping of starting services from Niš to Vienna. Niš is Serbia’s third largest city but it cannot rely on wide scale passenger traffic. The city lacks foreign investment therefore limiting business travel. However, it is attractive to some carrier because of its extreme low costs (many airlines have been offered free handling fees for the first 6 months of operations) and its close proximity to the mountain resort of Kopaonik is an added plus. Other carriers which used to operate flights to Niš were Montenegro Airlines on a seasonal basis (from Tivat) although it has decided not to return this year and Thompsonfly which continues with winter charters to London and Sofia. The authorities believe that the airport’s future lies in cargo operations and plans have begun to develop the airport in a major cargo hub for South Eastern Europe. Niš and its airport were heavily damaged during the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia while the airport was reopened in 2004 after its reconstruction was funded by the Norwegian Royal Family. Late last year the airport was cleared of all cassette bombs which were found in close proximity, undetonated since 1999. This work was carried out by Russian experts.
Monday, April 27, 2009
YUTA believes that letting foreign charter carriers commence services to Serbia could be a move which will directly harm the national interests of the country and the national carrier. Although Jat does not decide which carrier is allowed to fly to Serbia it has joined YUTA in its pursuit to get rid of these airlines. In order for other carriers to fly to Serbia they need to be issued a license by the Serbian Civil Aviation Authority. The authority informs Jat of which airline would like to commence services to Serbia and Jat gives their opinion if these should go ahead or not. However, Jat’s decision is not binding and is simply in place to see what the national carrier thinks. The trouble is that the Turkish and Egyptian authorities are now angry at Serbia and will take away Jat’s charter license if their carriers are not allowed to commence services to Belgrade and Niš.
Nevertheless it seems that the issue has been resolved for now, at least when Jat is in question, as the airline’s charter flights to Cairo, Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheik and Antalya all departed on Sunday and arrived in Belgrade today.
The airlines which are interested to commence charter services to Serbia is the Egyptian Lotus Air which would fly to Belgrade from Marsa Alam from June 15 to October 29 and the Turkish charter companies Pegasus Airlines, Atlasjet and Sky Airlines which would connect Antalya to Belgrade via Niš.Jat’s charter services have been a big success since Montenegro Airlines ended charter operations from Belgrade in the summer of 2006. With practically a 100% share of the charter flights it would be difficult for Jat to lose it now, particularly when its struggling in the scheduled flights sector. The only charter carrier which has been issued with a license so far is the Tunisian Nouvelair from Monastir to Belgrade.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
MAT’s management says that passengers were never in danger and that the airline’s pilots and technicians would never allow the aircraft to operate have passengers ever been in danger. Furthermore the carrier says the last time the Macedonian Civil Aviation Authority undertook a safety review of the airline they found no faults. MAT says that it has ordered the replacement part which will take a few days to arrive because “it cannot just arrive over night”, Kristevski said. The replacement will cost the airline 50.000 American dollars, a major figure for the cash strapped carrier. The latest turn in the MAT drama has led to the cancellation of all flights this weekend which included flights from Skopje to Zurich and Istanbul.
It is now uncertain what awaits MAT. The latest development can only intensify the takeover of the carrier, with Serbia’s Jat Airways expected to be the new owners. MAT's managment is hoping that once the replacement part arrives the carrier will be able to fly again. He accuses the Macedonian Civil Aviation Authority of double standards as they have issued the Turkish charter carrier Tarhan Tower Airlines with a license to fly from Macedonia even though the Turkish Civil Aviation authority revoked the airline’s license in 2007 and the airline has been bankrupt ever since.
MAT has now been left without any aircraft as its other fleet member, a CRJ900, has been stored in Ljubljana after MAT was unable to pay for its operations. According to a poll on this blog earlier this year 61% of those that voted believed that MAT will no longer be flying by the end of 2009.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
For those interested, Croatia Airlines has been a regional Star Alliance member since 2004, with its membership sponsored by the German giant Lufthansa.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Serbia’s largest airport has also reported that there will be an influx of new services this summer. Tunisian charter carrier Nouvelair will begin services to Belgrade from its hub in Monastir. Flights will operate twice per week which will add significant competition for the two carriers already operating on this line. There are a total of 11 weekly flights from Belgrade to Monastir with Jat Airways operating 7 flights and Tunisair operating the other 4. The new service will lead to 13 flights per week between the two cities. Meanwhile Turkish Airlines will increase its flights from 5 weekly to daily by the end of May, from Istanbul. The low-cost Norwegian Air Shuttle will introduce new services to Stockholm from May 23 while LOT Polish Airlines will begin with 4 weekly flights to Warsaw which will provide excellent short connection times for passengers transiting to New York, Chicago and Toronto. Jat will commence services to Abu Dhabi in May with flights operating twice per week.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
The main reason the carrier saw such large declines in most sectors is because of the absence of Easter. Last year Easter was in March which usually sees increased passenger activity. This year however the Easter holiday fell into the month of April. Jat will hope that with Easter and the launch of its popular Belgrade – Pula service it will see small declines in passenger numbers this April, if not even a modest rise in passengers.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Despite the fact that this year has been marked as the year of crisis, Uskoković said that they managed to reach a deal with one of the most important tour operators. “From April 10, 2009 until the end of October 2009, tour operator “Prodintour” will have a certain number of seats reserved under the fixed rental on Montenegro Airlines flights. Montenegro Airlines has put in effort into making its scheduled flights competitive on the market when compared to airline companies in the region “, Uskoković said. He explained that the Montenegrin carrier will have three flights per week to Paris until the middle of June when a fourth flight will be introduced. “By the end of this year, we intend to carry out 152 flights from Paris and thus transport more than 1.400 passengers which will be a new record for the airline”, Uskoković concluded.
Montenegro Airlines’ main competitor on the Podgorica to Paris line is Jat Airways via Belgrade.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The carrier has also announced a regional expansion with services to Zagreb, Podgorica and Skopje. The Skopje service would operate via Podgorica. However, these flights have not been listed in the reservation system and timetable. It remains to be seen how successful the new routes will be.
All flight details can be found in the new route launches section on the right hand side.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Q: Jat is interested in taking over shares in MAT Macedonian Airlines. Are there any plans for similar cooperation with other regional carriers?
Vlaisavljević: Our goal is to have strong and successful cooperation with all carriers in the region. In the second half of the year we will organise a large summit in Belgrade where representatives from all carriers in the region will be invited. It will give us an opportunity to improve relations and our business results.
Q: You are leaving the airline to become the city manager of Belgrade at a time when Jat is successfully managing to get itself out of the crisis caused by the failed privatisation and the economic situation. Why?
Vlaisavljević: The work undertaken by this management has now been successfully completed. Its main aim was for the airline to survive and this has been done. The next phase was to manage to revitalize the airline which will be done as we have secured a large loan from the Serbian government. I will be leaving the airline as soon as Jat signs a new agreement with its independent technical maintenance division Jat Tehnika as costs for maintaining the aircraft with Jat Tehnika is currently extremely costly.
Q: What will happen after this?
Vlaisavljević: After this is done a new management is expected, a new fleet will begin to arrive from 2010 and the carrier will be revived in many sectors. Therefore passengers can expect big changes within the next year.
Who will be Jat’s new CEO?
Serbian media have discovered that Jat’s next CEO will be named by Saša Vlaisavljević. The new CEO will most probably be one of Vlaisavljević’s closest aides. However, Vlaisavljević will remain on the company’s board of directors which will receive a great deal authority. Vlaisavljević will be Belgrade’s new city manager but will provide a few hours each week to actively engage in Jat. Vlaisavljević’s reign at Jat has mixed feelings amongst employees with many criticising the way the cost cutting measures have been carried out.
Jat’s much criticised “Flying Dots” livery could soon disappear. The carrier has asked young designers to create a new visual identity for the carrier at the upcoming Belgrade Design Week. The winning designers will receive free tickets from Jat to a destination of their choice however it is not expected that the carrier will apply the new look soon. The winning livery design could be applied in 2010 when new aircraft arrive. New cabin crew
Jat has called on males and females aged 18 to 25 to apply to become cabin crew at Jat Airways. The new cabin crew will go through a 3 week training course culminating with a swimming test. The new cabin crew must also be fluent in Serbian and English and have basic knowledge of a third language. A total of 25 new cabin crew will be accepted. Meanwhile 4 cabin crew members have been promoted to purser positions after a 10 week training course. From late April a further 10 cabin crew member will commence a 10 week training course to become members of the senior cabin crew. Jat Catering to improve
The independent company providing catering aboard Jat Airways flights, Jat Catering, has named its new CEO. Aleksandar Bogdanović, who has worked in Jat since 1983, has announced improvement in the catering offer at Serbia’s national carrier within the next few months with the launch of the new catering campaign “National company, national service”.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Founded in 1991, the EBRD uses the tools of investment to help build market economies and democracies in 27 countries from central Europe to central Asia. Its mission was to support the formerly communist countries in the process of establishing their private sectors. EBRD provides project financing for banks, industries and businesses, both new ventures and investments in existing companies. It also works with publicly owned companies to support privatisation, restructuring state-owned firms and improvement of municipal services.
Friday, April 17, 2009
TAROM is one of the oldest airlines in Europe which experienced particular growth in the early 1990s and more recently in 2007. The airline serves 48 destinations in 22 countries. Croatia will become the first EX-YU country that TAROM will operate services to.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Meanwhile Jat’s director for commercial operations, Vladimir Ognjenović, said that Jat is preparing to commence services to Dubrovnik next summer. He stated that Jat insisted to operate the successful seasonal Pula service throughout the year however the Croatian Aviation Board rejected to issue Jat a renewed license. He also stated that Jat wanted to commence this year’s service on March 29, however once again because the Croatian Aviation Board was late in issuing a new license it will have to wait until April 23 to commence the 4 weekly service from Belgrade.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
These results are not overly concerning when the financial crisis is taken into consideration however it is worrying that even though flight operations increased at nearly all Croatian airports when compared to last year (the number of flights operating to Croatia) the number of passengers is still significantly down. This may cause some worry as many new services which will commence to and from various Croatian airports during the summer will not necessarily increase passenger numbers.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
“Montenegro Airlines is looking for a strategic partner so we don’t come into a situation where the big fish will eat up the smaller one”, Đurišić explained stating that El Al is not the only carrier showing interest in Montenegro Airlines with carriers from Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany also interested. Three years ago the government of Montenegro adopted a plan regarding the privatisation of 30% of Montenegro Airlines. While Đurišić says that there is no time frame until when the privatisation should be complete he states that it would be most beneficial that it occurs by the end of the year. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has also shown great interest in purchasing these shares.
El Al representative Hayim Romano said that Montenegro Airlines is a good partner and that he expects improved cooperation between the two airlines. “I hope that the SPA and code share agreements are only the first step in what should be a successful and long term cooperation”, Hayim said. He states that charter services between Tel Aviv and Podgorica should begin this year while a permanent line depends on the bilateral agreement between the two countries. Yesterday it was reported that El Al would demand taking over “Airports of Montenegro” if it bought Montenegro Airlines however Hayim said this was not discussed yesterday although he adds “all options are open”.Israeli companies have, in the last 5 years, intensified their investments in the region especially Montenegro and Serbia. Montenegro Airlines could become the second EX-YU airline to be partially privatised by the end of the year with a takeover of MAT Macedonian Airlines on behalf of Jat Airways expected in August this year. Last year Turkish Airlines took over the Bosnian B&H Airlines.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Montenegro Airlines CEO also stated that Montenegro Airlines recently adopted its 2008 financial report where it was established that Montenegro Airlines has operated with a total loss of 701 thousand Euros. In his words, Montenegro Airlines has made an unprecedented financial turnover of 61 million Euros, which is 15 million Euros more than in 2007. “We shouldn’t forget the fact that last year was a year of crisis in the air transport industry when many companies went bankrupt. Some of the companies in the region registered losses of up to 20 million Euros”, Đurišić explained declaring that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) published information of a 5.3 billion Euros overall loss amongst world carriers. Đurišić claims that, despite the losses, Montenegro Airlines is a stable company and until now it has not asked for help from the government. “We are implementing a special-purpose plan of cutting expenditures for a couple of months. There was a 20% salary cut, representatives from various countries were withdrawn and business travels have been minimised. By cutting all these expenditures we have managed to remunerate the existing losses”, he emphasised.
El Al Israeli Airlines operates to 45 destinations and is widely acknowledged as the world’s safest airline. Although sometimes criticised, the airline has air marshals on all flights, rigorous passport and baggage checks at airports while most new aircraft have an anti missile protection system which defends the aircraft from potential missiles. The carrier operates with a 37 member all Boeing fleet. El Al also has its own cargo division and owns the charter airline Sun d’Or International Airlines.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Vesele velikonočne praznike
Visit tomorrow to read about Montenegro Airlines’ potential new owner.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Meanwhile, Swiss International Air Lines has started code sharing services with Croatia Airlines on flights between Zurich and Split and Zurich and Dubrovnik. Until now the two airlines only code shared on services between Zurich and Zagreb.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
The Airbus A319s belong to the same category as the Airbus A320s, which means the pilots, the cabin crew and the technical personnel will need no additional training, Adria Airways explained. Furthermore, the new plane are more economical and environmentally friendly compared to the existing fleet and conforms to the carbon dioxide emission standard that steps into force in 2011. Its usual capacity is approximately 120 seats. The airline says that the A319 is economical for the route profile of Adria Airways. One of the A320s that are being phased out has been leased to the Libyan Afriqiyah Airways.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Meanwhile Adria Airways has signed a letter of intent to purchase a new Airbus A319, valued at around 45 million American dollars, the company wrote in a press release yesterday. More news regarding the deal will be published on the blog in the following days.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Meanwhile no new information has been announced regarding the potential Jat Airways takeover of MAT. Although both airlines stated that they would provide information to the public during last week, they have stayed quiet. MAT says that another 2 airlines are also interested in the takeover. Rumours state that one of the other carriers interested is also from the former Yugoslavia while the other is Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airline recently took over B&H Airlines while a Turkish company has been chosen to manage Skopje and Ohrid airports.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Priština Airport management considers this decision as one of the most important ones it has taken in the past years, marking a huge step for the company in the field of civil aviation development. So far Priština Airport’s working hours were from 6.00 until 22.00. The first overnight flight arrived at 1.00. It was Adria Airways’ flight from the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. Adria has confirmed that it will have seven flights a week landing an hour behind midnight. Another four overnight flights have also been confirmed by Croatia Airlines. “There is sufficient interest by the airlines for overnight flights. So far two companies have confirmed flights on this schedule but during the summer season we expect increased requests. Another company which is expected to start overnight flights is Swiss International Airlines", Agron Mustafa the Managing Director of Priština Airport said. According to him the launch of overnight flights has opened new perspectives for foreign investments in Kosovo. The overnight flights will be beneficial for European carriers wishing to attract many transit passengers from Priština continuing to the United States and Canada.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
In January the Slovenian carrier saw a 10.8% decrease in passenger numbers when compared to 2008. During that month Serbia’s Jat Airways performed the worst with a total 14.6% decrease. Croatia Airlines was one of the rare carriers in Europe to have positive results. Largely thanks to the World Handball Championships and domestic traffic the Croatian carrier managed an impressive 4.7% increase in passenger figures for the month. However even Croatia Airlines could not sustain growth in February. The carrier had 2.8% less passengers in February 2009 than last year. Jat Airways had a drop of 15.1% while Adria fared the worst with passenger figures dropping by 19.1%. Adria also noted big drops in cargo transportation, capacity and cabin occupancy.
Overall for the first two months of the year Adria Airways lost 14.9% passengers compared to last year. Jat Airways is nearby with a loss of 14.8% while many European carriers can only be envious of Croatia Airlines which overall had a 1.1% increase in passenger figures. The real test for the Croatian carrier will be during June, July and August during the peak of the summer and tourist season. Jat Airways continues to be the only EX-YU carrier to regularly publish its passenger statistics. It should publish its March results during next week. It is interesting to note that the best performing carrier in Europe is currently Turkish Airlines with an 11.3% increase in passengers while Icelandair performs worst with a 26.7% passenger loss.
The figures reveal the extent of the current downturn. Compared to the corresponding months of 2008, passenger traffic across Europe was down 3.9% in January and 8.8% in February, although this latter figure was measured against a 29-day month last year and a truer figure would be minus 5.5%.
Friday, April 3, 2009
A more serious problem at Montenegro Airlines occurred last month when another Fokker F100, also bound for Rome, had one of its wheels fall off upon departure from Podgorica. None of the cabin crew noticed the problem but they were alerted by Podgorica air traffic control when the aircraft was flying over the Croatian cost. The aircraft immediately turned back to Podgorica. After an hour of cruising above the city in order to burn fuel the aircraft landed safely with one of its wheels missing. All emergency services at Podgorica airport were alerted and on standby in case intervention was needed. There was a total of 28 passengers onboard.
The incidents have led to the debate if Montenegro’s Fokker’s are safe. The majority of its 4 F100s are 18 years old. The overall age of the Montenegro Airlines fleet is 14 years.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
|Airline||Frequency share||Capacity share||Number of routes|
|Lufthansa||9.7%||7.8%||2 (FRA, MUC)|
|Germanwings||4.8%||6.3%||3 (CGN, STR, SXF)|
|Turkish Airlines||2.4%||3.4%||1 (IST)|
|Air France||4.8%||3.1%||1 (CDG)|
The national flag carrier Croatia Airlines dominates traffic at the airport and this summer will operate non-stop to 17 destinations giving it two-thirds of all scheduled traffic at the airport. Lufthansa and its partner low-cost airline Germanwings are the next two biggest airlines operating a total of five routes to Germany. Other airlines operating scheduled services this summer include Malev, Wizz Air, Aeroflot, CSA Czech Airlines and TAP Portugal. TAP’s service is to Bologna which then continues on to Lisbon. Wizz Air, the only LCC other than Germanwings with a presence at the airport, operates a single route daily to London Luton.