news 06 Sep 12

Air Asia Starts Talks on Buying Serbia's Jat

Minister says talks with low-cost Malaysian airline on investing in Serbia's ailing national carrier have begun.

Tanjug, B92
Belgrade

Serbian Transport Minister Milutin Mrkonjic said talks with Malaysia's Air Asia regarding the sale of the Serbian national airline, Jat Airways, had begun.

Air Asia, the largest low cost airline in Asia, is based in Kuala Lumpur.

According to media reports, the company intends to open a regional centre in Belgrade and set up flights to destinations such as Japan or Australia via Kuala Lumpur. However, the exact details of these arrangements are unknown.

Air Asia flies to over 400 destinations in 25 countries and its flotilla has 101 planes, while another 200 new aircrafts should be delivered in 2016.

Jat Airways has only 14 aircraft and Serbia has been planning for some time to find a strategic partner for it. The fleet is old, the company has too many employees and it survives from day to day on loans.

No bids were put in at a tender for the sale of 51 per cent of the airline's capital for 51 million euro in 2008.

In mid-2011, the government called a new tender for a strategic partner in the foundation of a new airline. Latvia's Baltic Aviation Systems showed interest but later changed its mind.

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