Air Serbia announces $1bn Airbus deal
Dubai, November 19, 2013
Air Serbia, a partner of UAE national carrier Etihad Airways, has placed an order worth $1 billion for ten next generation A320neo aircraft in line with its expansion plans.
As per the deal, Air Serbia will replace the eight A319 and two A320 aircraft, with the new A320neo jets in line with its plan to progressively retire the aging fleet of 10 Boeing 737-300 aircraft.
The new A320neo aircraft will be delivered between 2018 and 2020, said a senior Air Serbia offcial on the sidelines of the Dubai Air Show.
The deal forms part of the major fleet order by its equity partner Etihad Airways which takes it total to 117 Airbus aircraft.
The A320neo announcement comes following the inaugural flight of the first Air Serbia-liveried A319 from Belgrade to Abu Dhabi on October 26.
CEO Dane Kondic said Air Serbia had a goal of being a world class airline and had moved rapidly to introduce the more modern Airbus A319s and A320s in order to immediately improve the travelling experience of its guests.
"The new fleet of Airbus A320neo aircraft is a key part of the strategy to re-position the airline as best in class with the most modern and comfortable single aisle aircraft. These aircraft will offer our guests the best cabin in the sky," he noted.
“With these A320neo aircraft we will set the benchmark in both product and service excellence as we extend our network to more destinations across Europe,” Kondic added.
The A320neo is offered as an option for the A320 Family and incorporates new, more efficient engines and large "Sharklet" wing tip devices, which together will deliver up to 15 per cent in fuel savings.
At the end of October, firm orders for the Neo stood at 2,487 from 44 customers, making it the fastest selling commercial airliner ever and underlining its market leadership position.
Sinisa Mali, the adviser for Economy and Finance, Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Serbia, the majority shareholder of Air Serbia, said the Government had agreed with its Emirati partner Etihad to take the aircraft.
"This is good for Air Serbia and the people of Serbia, because both have benefited from economies of scale resulting from Etihad’s very significant order with Airbus. With the delivery of these new aircraft, Air Serbia will become the first airline in the region to have a modern fleet of new Airbus aircraft," stated Mali.
“Furthermore, through our partnership with Etihad previous deposit payment made by Jat Airways, has been credited against the pre-delivery payment for these aircraft, he added.
Air Serbia had recently launched a new route from its hub at Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla International Airport to Abu Dhabi. It is soon to launch flights to Banja Luka (Bosnia), Bucharest (Romania), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Prague (Czech Republic).
The national career plans to launch another 12 new routes to 11 countries between January and April 2014, in addition to rescheduling existing operations to optimize connections via its hub in Belgrade.
By June 2014, Air Serbia will serve 39 destinations in 30 countries, offering 73,000 seats on more than 670 flights per week, added mali.-TradeArabia News Service