Air Serbia adds Etihad A320 to fleet


Air Serbia has finalised the wet-lease of an Etihad Airways Airbus A320 aircraft, with the jet entering into service on behalf of the Serbian carrier yesterday afternoon. Initially, the plane will be used exclusively on the airline's new afternoon flights between Belgrade and London Heathrow. Air Serbia has leased seven weekly slot pairs from Etihad at Heathrow Airport for a total of sixteen weekly rotations between the two cities. The 136-seat jet will represent a product upgrade compared to Air Serbia's 174-seat A320s. Business class passengers will enjoy a two by two configuration with recliner seats, while economy class travellers will have a wider seat pitch and width. The aircraft contracted under the wet-lease arrangement is registered A6-EIC and is fifteen years old. It has been stored at Abu Dhabi Airport since late March. Prior to Etihad, the aircraft was utilised by Martinair. In addition to the Etihad-operated A320, Air Serbia will wet-lease a Nordica Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft as of next month and add a ninth Airbus A319 aircraft to its fleet, which has been painted in the company's corporate livery and has received a Serbian registration - YU-APK. The three jets will assist in maintaining the airline's busy summer schedule which will see it launch 21 new routes from Belgrade and Niš with an A319 to be based in the south-east Serbian city. Ahead of its busiest summer season since its relaunch in October 2013, Air Serbia has hired more than 100 new cabin crew members, as well as 21 junior co-pilots for ATR and Airbus aircraft. At the same time, the national airline has organised pilot training, with eleven fulfilling requirements to be promoted to the position of captain, or move up to a different aircraft type. In addition, the process of appointing new cabin seniors has been initiated, with their selection to be finalised by mid-June. "The upcoming period is very important for us. Our company's best individuals have been given the opportunity to be promoted. At the same time, we have also strengthened our team with young and qualified talents. The biggest growth of our destination network comes as a result of a great team effort, and I strongly believe we will be satisfied with the outcome, all with the support of our new team members", Air Serbia's CEO, Duncan Naysmith, said. 


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