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Serbia to Assume JAT Debt as It Overhauls Unprofitable Airline

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March 22 (Bloomberg) -- Serbia will take over about 170 million euros ($220 million) in liabilities of JAT Airways AD as it seeks to revamp the unprofitable national carrier and renew its fleet.

The overhaul includes reducing JAT’s workforce of 1,300 and adding six new aircraft to an aging fleet, Transportation Minister Milutin Mrkonjic told reporters in Belgrade today.

“We believe JAT will be able to break even this year without the debt burden” and after leasing four jets and two turboprop planes in the coming months, Mrkonjic said. “The debt will be assumed by the state.”

The Balkan country is considering selling JAT to Etihad Airways PJSC, the third-biggest Gulf airline, Finance Minister Mladjan Dinkic said Oct. 22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Misha Savic in Belgrade at msavic2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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