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News/ Karanović & Nikolić Advises on Air Serbia Aircraft Lease
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23/05/2016
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We are pleased to announce that Karanović & Nikolić has advised Jet Airways (India) Limited, together with Dentons UKMEA LLP, in an aircraft leasing transaction that will enable the long-haul trans-Atlantic route between Serbia and the United States (Belgrade-New York) to be restored. The transaction in question consisted of an operating lease of the Airbus A330-202 by Jet Airways (member of Etihad Airways Partners) and Etihad Airways (as sub-lessee) to Air Serbia, with the participation of foreign export credit agencies and banks that provided financing for the acquisition of the aircraft by the owner.

After successfully closing the transaction, the first wide body aircraft in Air Serbia’s fleet landed in Belgrade on 11 May 2016, and was given the traditional water cannon welcome as it made its way around Nikola Tesla airport.  The twinjet aircraft then went for the registration process with the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate, before returning to Abu Dhabi for the process of finalising cabin space adaptation and refurbishment. Once this process is complete, the capacity of the aircraft should feature 18 seats in Business Class and 236 seats in Economy Class, making it the largest commercial aircraft in the region.

The first flight, after 24 years, to the John F Kennedy International Airport in New York, is expected to happen on 23 June 2016. This flight will mark the continuation of a route carrying strong historical importance, which Air Serbia’s predecessor, Jat Airways, was forced to terminate in 1992 amid conflicts during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Moreover, apart from returning to the same route, the new flight will also retain its forebearer’s flight number. Throughout the term of the lease, the aircraft will remain registered in Serbia. 

Our KN team on this case was led by Partner Maja Jovančević Šetka and Senior Associate Goran Radošević.

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