Air Serbia is continuing with its intended fleet change plans despite COVID-19. The Serbian national airline will be acquiring two new Airbus A319 aircraft, both from Adria Airways. The airline plans to profit from the current crisis in the aviation industry.
Two new Airbus A319s
Ex-Yu Aviation News reports that Air Serbia is awaiting the delivery of two Airbus A319s that used to belong to the former flag carrier of Slovenia, Adria Airways. Both aircraft have received Air Serbia’s livery. They are both in Toulouse.
In the spring of this year, Serbia’s Finance Minister Siniša Mali said that the government of Serbia would support Air Serbia in acquiring new aircraft for a post-COVID expansion. However, the two Airbus A319s that will be delivered to Air Serbia following their time at Adria Airways are actually coming under a deal that was agreed long before COVID-19.
In fact, Air Serbia was supposed to receive these for the start of the 2020 summer season, but the delivery was delayed because of the global slump in demand for air travel.
The two Airbus A319 aircraft previously carried the registrations of S5-AAP and S5-AAR, while they were at Adria Airways. The first of these two is now registered as YU-APL with Air Serbia, while the second now carries the registration YU-APM.
Both were delivered new to Adria Airways in spring 2010, so they are exactly ten years old. Between September 2019, when Adria went bankrupt, and this summer, when they will be given to Air Serbia, the Airbus A319s were in Ireland with their lessor.
An Airbus A320 is returned
At the same time, Air Serbia is returning one of its Airbus A320 aircraft back to its lessor when the lease expires this year. The Air Serbia livery has already been taken off it, and so the aircraft will no longer carry the registration YU-APG.
Air Serbia delays expansion plans
Air Serbia originally intended to make use of these two aircraft for its planned network expansion this summer. The Serbian flag carrier had scheduled new flights to Amman, Budapest, Chisinau, Florence, Geneva, Lviv, Oslo, Rostov-on-Don and Valencia from Belgrade, and Thessaloniki from its third Serbian airport, Kraljevo. However, the slump in demand has caused the Serbian flag carrier to abandon these plans.
Still, Air Serbia was quick to react to changing travel trends and is making use of COVID-19 to accelerate its plans for development. It has issued a notice to Etihad Airways, its partner, that it cannot pay back in full its debts due this year. The Serbian government said it would like to nationalize Air Serbia in full.
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