Time running out for Jat partnerWith just over 10 days to go until the tender to find a strategic partner for Jat Airways ends, the Serbian Government says that the Jat sale is its highest priority. The government is offering for an airline to become a strategic partner to Jat and together with the state create a successor national airline by June 2012. It is still unclear whether airBaltic, from Latvia, has purchased the tender documentation as some media reported during the week. The Tender Commission does not want to reveal whether the Latvian carrier has purchased the documents which amount to 10.000 Euros. If it has, it would be the only airline to do so. “The tender is still ongoing. We expect interest from other companies as the privatisation of the national carrier is one of our highest priorities this year”, the State Secretary in the Ministry of Finance said.
Experts believe that the tender will fail. They argue that other than slots and a big diaspora, Jat has nothing to offer. The government invited over 60 airlines to participate in the tender before issuing an open call to all interested parties. Despite the fact that the government assured that Turkish Airlines was a sure bet to buy Jat, the Turkish carrier has categorically denied any interest, especially without the possibility of getting the chance to run Belgrade Airport.
If the tender, which began on August 1, fails it will be the second time that an attempt to privatise Jat ended unsuccessfully. Back in 2008, at the height of the global financial and aviation crisis, the government tried to sell Jat. The only ones profiting from the numerous sale attempts are privatisation advisers such a Deloitte who have been paid thousands of Euros each time to prepare the airline for sale. It is believed that certain political parties in power are affiliated with these corporations.