JAT Airlines seeking EUR52 million in loans; reports losses of approximately EUR20 million in 2009
JAT Airways CEO, Srdjan Radovanovic, stated the airline plans to borrow EUR51.5 million to fund a restructure and renewal of the carrier's fleet, as part of which the carrier will renew its fleet of 16 ageing B737-300s, B737-400s and ATR72-200s (Reuters/Tanjung, 16-Mar-2010). The carrier is also seeking EUR49 million to restructure and overhaul five jet engines. Mr Radovanovic added that the carrier hopes to restructure and attract a strategic partner, adding that "talks with Turkish Airlines are progressing", although Turkish stated that no decision has been taken on a possible partnership with JAT. JAT Airways posted a loss of approximately EUR20 million in 2009 (with further losses expected in 2010), as it operated fewer services as its fleet was reduced to half, due to grounded aircraft (this resulted in the carrier eliminating approximately 30% of its workforce), according to Mr Radovanovic. Since 1991, JAT has lost approximately EUR180 million. The CEO also stated the carrier is in direct talks with two interested parties regarding the sale of headquarters buildings in Belgrade. The carrier currently has outstanding debts to Belgrade Airport and for maintenance totaling approximately EUR25-26 million, but Mr Radovanovic added that the carrier is not considering filing for bankruptcy as its recovery plan "is producing results" and "because better times are ahead for us".