Time running out for Jat

Azerbaijan snubs Jat
Tomorrow afternoon the tender to find a strategic partner for the creation of a successor national carrier to Jat Airways will end. Not a single company has answered the tender call. On Monday, a delegation from Azerbaijan visited Jat Airways’ head office in Belgrade to get acquainted with the airline’s business. According to media reports, the Azeri Government is interested in taking over a part of Jat, rather than setting up a new airline, but would in return request shares in several other companies in Serbia and ownership over a future port construction project on the Danube. In the end, the Azeris did not purchase the 10.000 Euro tender documentation.

An unnamed source from the national carrier told the press, “No one has even purchased the tender documentation. We heard that the Azeris were interested but to be honest I doubt anything will come of it”. Economists and analysts blame the government for yet another failure to privatise Jat. They argue that it is illogical for a tender to seek for an owner of a nonexistent future national airline. Furthermore, it has been said that the eight party governing coalition has different views on what to do with Jat.

Over the past few months, it has been reported that the government is considering several scenarios for the airline following the tender failure which includes hiring a new professional CEO and providing state guarantees for a loan to purchase four new jets in January 2012. Another possibility is for the government to extend the tender as it lacks a definite strategy for the carrier. Nevertheless, the State Secretary for Aviation firmly denies that there is no interest in the loss making state airline. Meanwhile, the Privatisation Agency has once again delayed the auction of Jat Catering, which was originally scheduled to take place in early September and then moved to last Friday. Since there is absolutely no interest, the auction has now been rescheduled for November 11.


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