Air Serbia is among the world’s largest customers of Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance (ACMI) leasing, according to a report compiled by ch-aviation. Last month, the Serbian carrier was the fourteenth largest utilisers of ACMI leasing in the world based on the number of flights performed by contracted airlines on its behalf. A total of 911 flights were maintained for Air Serbia by foreign carriers. Romania’s Dan Air operated the largest number of those services, a total of 346. The world’s largest ACMI customer was SAS Scandinavian Airlines, followed by Swiss, Eurowings, European Air Transport Leipzig, Qantas, TUI Airways, Turkish Airlines, Flynas, Jet2, Condor, Smartwings, Virgin Australia and airBaltic. Air Serbia was proceeded by Saudia, Marabu, TAP Portugal, ITA Airways, KLM and Tunisair.
Air Serbia previously said it is using wet-leases to add capacity over the seasonal summer peak, as well as cover the period before securing dry-leases under favourable terms. A wet-lease is a leasing arrangement whereby the lessor provides an aircraft, complete crew, maintenance and insurance to another airline. The Serbian carrier currently has nine aircraft on wet-lease, including two Boeing 737-800s from Lithuania’s KlasJet, two Airbus A320s and one A319 from Romania’s Dan Air, one A320 from Germany’s LEAV Aviation, one ATR72-500 from Danish Air Transport, one Dash 8 turboprop from Germany’s Avanti Air and one Embraer E190 from Greece’s Marathon Airlines. A further two Embraers operated by Marathon Airlines will enter the fleet this summer, the first of which is a former Azul Airlines E195 set to arrive around July 20. A second is expected in September, pending negotiations between the Greek carrier and potential sellers.
Commencing late last year on the increasing number of wet-leases in the carrier’s fleet, Air Serbia’s CEO, Jiri Marek, said, “Currently, we are looking into the longer-term strategy because leisure demand is from mid-June until mid-September, and whatever calculation you do, a dry-lease option with the additional crew for three months of operations, that mathematics doesn’t work. We are looking either to make some capacity provider agreement on a long-term basis, five-plus years or trying to enter into some Joint Venture agreements with reverse-seasonality operators. We would like to have a constantly available shortlist of aircraft with pre-negotiated commercial terms and technical reviews to be able to act promptly”. Commenting on the potential order of new aircraft, Mr Marek added, “We have to reach a fleet size of between thirty and 35 aircraft to consider such options”.