Air Serbia Gives New Lease Of Life To Ex-Adria Airways Aircraft

Following the news that Air Serbia will be acquiring former Adria Airways Airbus A319s, the Serbian flag carrier received the two aircraft today. This fleet addition comes at a time when Air Serbia is planning to make use of the current crisis in the aviation industry to establish itself as an even more dominant regional airline.

Air Serbia has taken delivery of two Airbus A319 aircraft formerly flying for bankrupt Adria Airways. Photo: Getty Images

Air Serbia takes new aircraft

Two new aircraft, registered as YU-APL and YU-APM, arrived at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport today, to join Air Serbia’s fleet of Airbus, Boeing, and ATR aircraft.

Both aircraft had received Air Serbia’s livery several months ago, and they were originally scheduled for delivery in March this year. However, with the outbreak of the pandemic, this delivery was postponed. At the time when they were due to be delivered, Air Serbia was not operating a single daily flight, because all Serbian airports had shut.

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The aircraft arrived to Belgrade from Toulouse. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

As a result, both aircraft have been in Toulouse since March, until today when they were finally delivered to Air Serbia. It will be interesting to see how Air Serbia plans to utilize them when the other nine Airbus A319 aircraft in its fleet are presently not all needed.

As Simple Flying analyzed this month, Air Serbia has been hit hard by COVID-19. The Serbian flag carrier is still constrained by travel restrictions for Serbian nationals wishing to enter much of the European Union, on top of weak demand already resulting from economic uncertainty and health fears.

Much of Air Serbia’s fleet is hardly utilized at all. Photo: Getty Images

Airbus A319s formerly belonging to Adria Airways

In the spring of this year, Serbia’s Finance Minister Siniša Mali said that the government of Serbia would support Air Serbia in acquiring new aircraft for a post-COVID expansion. However, the two Airbus A319s that will be delivered to Air Serbia following their time at Adria Airways are actually coming under a deal that was agreed long before COVID-19.

The two Airbus A319 aircraft previously carried the registrations of S5-AAP and S5-AAR, while they were at Adria Airways. Both were delivered brand new to Adria Airways in the spring of 2010, so they are now just over ten years old. Between September 2019, when Adria went bankrupt, and this summer, when they will be given to Air Serbia, the Airbus A319s were in Ireland with their lessor.

Former Adria Airways aircraft now form a part of Air Serbia’s fleet. Photo: Getty Images

Not the only fleet change at Air Serbia this year

To mitigate the effects of the pandemic, Air Serbia also decided not to renew its lease on an Airbus A320 aircraft, registered YU-APG, earlier this summer. It also returned an ATR 72, registered YU-ALV. Neither aircraft has since made any flights.

The slump in demand for air travel, and ongoing travel restrictions, mean Air Serbia is unlikely to make full use of its fleet any time soon. The Serbian flag carrier planned to broaden its route network this year with new flights to Amman, Budapest, Chisinau, Florence, Geneva, Lviv, Oslo, Rostov-on-Don and Valencia from Belgrade, and Thessaloniki from its third Serbian airport, Kraljevo. None of these plans materialized.

How do you think Air Serbia will make use of this fleet addition? Do you think it will only start making use of these two A319s later this year? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.

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