Air Serbia is in the midst of an interesting aircraft swap, giving up its 13-year-old leased A330-200 in favor of, well, another 13-year-old A330-200. While the outgoing aircraft is named ‘Nikola Tesla,’ the incoming aircraft will celebrate the Serbian-American inventor in a different way, with a very eye-catching tail.
Air Serbia celebrates Tesla with new livery
Air Serbia’s second A330-200 has rolled out of the paint shop, sporting a very eye-catching livery. The aircraft, registration VP-BLY (soon to become YU-ARB), is a 12.3-year-old A330 that has previously flown with Aeroflot. It was withdrawn from use on August 17th, 2020, and had been stored at Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport since then.
On March 3rd, it headed off on the long trip across Asia and Europe to Shannon. The epic 13-hour trip was right at the limit of its range, but with no passengers onboard, the widebody made the trip with ease. In Shannon, it was placed in the care of International Aerospace Coatings (IAC), where it was adorned with a rather unique look.
The tailfin of the A330 has been painted with a highly stylized image of Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla. The image of Tesla’s face on the tail brings with it Air Serbia’s traditional colors of blue and red, in a sort of semi-cubist homage to the grandfather of electricity.
IAC told Simple Flying,
“This aircraft was painted at our new state-of-the-art widebody aircraft painting facility in Shannon, Ireland. It took 8 days to complete.”
IAC is the global leader in aircraft painting, interiors and graphics. With 11 locations across the USA and Europe, IAC has capacity for 36 lines of aircraft and processes 1000+ paint events per year. IAC works in all segments of the aviation industry, including OEM, commercial, military, and general aviation.
Painting faces on tails is nothing new. Norwegian has been honoring the trend with its ‘tail fin heroes’ for some years, with everyone from Edvard Grieg to Roald Dahl staring out from the vertical stabilizers of its fleet. But while Tesla’s name is known the world over, his face is less so, and without any writing to explain the art it could cause some confusion.
Nevertheless, it’s another sterling paint job by IAC, and some would say it’s an improvement on the ‘Serbia Creates’ livery of the airline’s existing A330-200. Confusingly, the Serbia Creates A330 is named Nikola Tesla, as is the Belgrade airport from which Air Serbia operates. It’s not yet known what the new A330 will be named.
While the A330 will join Air Serbia’s fleet soon, it won’t add widebody capacity for the airline. Instead, this aircraft will serve as a replacement for its existing A330-200, YU-ARA. Both aircraft are around 13 years old, so this isn’t a swap for a newer product. Rather, Air Serbia has been renegotiating leasing contracts in the wake of the COVID pandemic, and has likely secured a more lucrative deal on this alternative aircraft.
YU-ARA used to be flown by Jet Airways, back in the day. It’s currently on lease from Etihad, and will be returning to the Middle East airline in the near future. Interestingly, while Air Serbia retained Jet Airways’ premium product onboard YU-ARA, it is not keeping the Aeroflot cabin on its newest A330.
According to Ex-Yu Aviation, the aircraft will feature an Air Serbia product, which is being installed over the next two weeks. The new configuration will retain around the same capacity in business, with economy staying the same.
Reports suggest that the new business class will do away with the herringbone seating and replace it with staggered lie flat seating. This will be in a 1-2-1 configuration, similar to other international airlines, with direct aisle access for all. IFE will be retained at every seat on the aircraft.
What do you make of the new Air Serbia livery? Let us know in the comments.