Air Serbia and Turkish Airlines continue talks over joint venture

Air Serbia is in discussions with Turkish Airlines to establish a joint venture with its subsidiary Turkish Technics, which would include a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Belgrade that would primarily cater for the Serbian carrier’s fleet. The airline’s CEO, Jiri Marek, noted, “Once our fleet reaches the size of 30+ aircraft, that is the time when you need to look into the options to have your hangar facility at your base. At the moment, we are doing our base maintenance tasks across multiple facilities throughout Europe. As was already mentioned by Turkish Technics, we are having a discussion with them on a potential joint venture and the development of such an option at our home base. However, it is not the only option, and we are exploring other possible solutions. These things do not happen overnight – they require time and negotiations”.

The Serbian carrier currently outsources its base maintenance after issues arose with its previous provider, the Belgrade-based Jat Tehnika. “At the moment, all base maintenance is outsourced. During the spring period, we used predominantly Turkish Technics in Istanbul. During the winter season, we are using the Atitech facility in Naples, Italy. For our ATRs, we use maintenance by Aero Technic BG in Sofia, Bulgaria. We are completely changing our current approach and we are booking maintenance slots for the next three to four years, instead of relying on slot availability from season to season”, the CEO said.
Commenting on its relationship with Jat Tehnika, Mr Marek noted, “In the past, we have been using Jat Tehnika next-door here in Belgrade. But they are booked up way forward, and without securing slots we cannot rely on resource availability. Last winter season we had a lot of delays caused by Jat Tehnika. However, we are continuing our discussion and finding synergies for how we can also establish a strategic partnership – which would be logical, having close cooperation with a provider at your base”.
Over the summer, Turkish Airlines’ Chairman, Ahmet Bolat, said the company was considering opening an MRO subsidiary in Serbia. “We are working on that [MRO subsidiary] with investors, for example in Belgrade, Serbia. We will make a decision accordingly. We are always open to opportunities and evaluate future prospects. That’s the important thing”. Mr Bolat said.

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