Air Serbia, the rebranded former JAT Airways, marked its first full year of operation with a net profit of €2.7 million ($3 million), a sharp reversal of its 2013 €73 million loss.
Revenues jumped 87% to €262 million, reflecting what the airline described as strong growth in both passenger traffic and cargo volumes. Passenger numbers reached 2.3 million in 2014, up 68% on 2013. Capacity jumped 74% to 3.3 billion ASKs. Load factor rose 3 points to 67% from 64% in 2013, the last year of operation as JAT.
Air Serbia Cargo also performed significantly better last year, carrying 2,700 tonnes of freight, a 67% increase on 2013. The carrier said cargo services continued to be a major area of growth.
The increases follow on from Etihad Airways taking a 49% shareholding in the company, plus a management contract, in August 2013. Since then, the airline has undergone a root-and-branch renewal of its fleet, training processes and operating philosophy. The government of Serbia retains a 51% majority stake.
“These results are a great achievement validating the effectiveness of our strategy,” CEO Dane Kondić said.
“We are proud to have been able to deliver on our mandate, which was to achieve strong growth, to become the region’s leading carrier and—most importantly—to do so as a commercially viable and profitable enterprise, while becoming a key driver of economic growth in Serbia.”
His comments were echoed by the Air Serbia president-supervisory board Siniša Mali: “Air Serbia has enhanced the image of our country,” Mali said. “Our national airline is often the first contact for visitors and investors who come to Belgrade and Serbia. The level and quality of service, the look and ambiance of the aircraft, are the images of a modern Serbia we would like to send to the world.”
Etihad president and CEO James Hogan added: “We are delighted with the progress Air Serbia has made in delivering on its performance objectives in the very competitive European market.”