Air Serbia will soon welcome its seventh ATR72-600 turboprop aircraft (pictured), just over a year and a half after starting the renewal and expansion of its regional fleet. The plane, which will be registered YU-ASD, was recently painted in the carrier’s livery in Derby in the United Kingdom. The 72-seat aircraft is nine years old and was initially delivered new to Ireland’s Stobart Air. It has been stored and out of commercial use since June 2021. “We expect it to join our fleet any day now”, Air Serbia said. With the new addition, the average age of Air Serbia’s ATR fleet now counts eight years. In January last year, the ATR fleet averaged 27 years.
The Serbian carrier plans to further expand its ATR fleet, with another three units planned to join by mid-2024. “The optimal size of the [ATR72 fleet] I would say is ten because then you can start benefiting from some economies of scale”, Air Serbia’s CEO, Jiri Marek, said recently. Since the retirement of its ATR72-200 and -500 turboprops earlier this year, Air Serbia no longer has any aircraft in its fleet within its ownership, as all are being leased. The airline has put on hold plans to potentially convert some of its older ATRs into freighter aircraft.
Air Serbia is expected to further expand its fleet with the arrival of a second Embraer E195 aircraft, making it the third Embraer in its fleet overall. Its delivery is likely sometime next month. It will be wet-leased from Greece’s Marathon Airlines but will feature the carrier’s full corporate livery. It plans to eventually transition the Embraer wet-leases into dry-leases. With the arrival of the upcoming ATR72-600, Air Serbia has dry-leased three aircraft so far this year (two ATR72-600s and one Airbus A320). The carrier has seen aircraft lessors pull out of deals in the final stages of negotiations, including for a third A330-200 jet it negotiated earlier this year “because the existing customer has either extended the deal or overpaid”, according to Mr Marek. Air Serbia currently has the youngest fleet among the notional carriers in the former Yugoslavia, averaging thirteen years.