Air Serbia could be one of Embraer’s future turboprop customers, which already has at least 250 letters of intent before the official sales launch.
The Serbian company is looking for an aircraft positioned between the Airbus A320neo, with up to 194 seats, and its ATR 72, with 72 seats.
” It is still a project and exists on paper only, so we have to see what they really will offer. But it sounds interesting to us. With its up to 92 seats and keeping still two cabin crew members requirement it would represent interesting niche versus regional jets. So, we will for sure be looking at the Embraer turboprop,” said Jiri Marek, CEO of Air Serbia, in an interview with AeroTelegraph.
In addition to the advanced turboprop, Air Serbia is evaluating Embraer’s second-generation jets, which compete with the Airbus A220. “Both have advantages and disadvantages,” said Marek.
Another option would be to keep the first generation of Embraer commercial jets. “Right now, you can get favorable conditions on the secondary market for the Embraer E1, representing good value for money,” explained the CEO of Air Serbia.
Marek also ruled out UAC’s Russian Superjet 100s, which had been listed for Air Serbia’s fleet in the last year. “This has always been a pure speculation and never a specific plan by Air Serbia,” he said.
The Serbian carrier currently operates 11 A319s, which can carry between 110 and 154 passengers, for short and medium-haul flights. These planes will gradually be replaced by the new A320neo, which have greater capacity, leaving a gap in the fleet between the A320neo and the ATR 72.
Embraer’s new turboprop
The new Embraer model will have two variants, between 70 and 100 seats. The aircraft, whose name is still kept secret, aims to have an operating cost per seat that is 15% lower than the ATR 72, offering 25% more seats and 20% more speed.
According to the company’s plans, the passenger turboprop is expected to enter service in 2028, with sales expected to start in the first half of 2023.
One of the great advantages of the aircraft is the shared design of the E-Jets, including its fuselage, which is more spacious than the ATR. The turboprop will still have a cargo hold below the cabin in addition to a lower noise level than the E-Jets.
History of Air Serbia
Air Serbia is one of the oldest airlines in the world, founded on June 17, 1927, still in the days of Yugoslavia, under the name Aeroput.
After the end of the Soviet Union, Air Serbia changed its name to JAT Jugoslovenski Aerotransport and curiously started using western planes in the 60s, such as the Sud-Aviation Caravelle, the DC-9 and the Boeing 707 and 727, among others.
In 2003, the company changed its name to JAT Airways. In 2013, JAT had part of its shares taken over by Etihad and its name became Air Serbia. In July of this year, the airline reached the mark of 400,000 passengers flown in a single month.