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Oct 04, 2007 12:00 EEST
October 4 (SeeNews) - Serbia's flag carrier, JAT Airways, which is slated for privatisation, reported on Thursday a 9.0% annual rise in passenger traffic in the first nine months of 2007 to 1,044,290.
Cargo traffic in the period from January to September, however, dropped 7.0% year-on-year to 7,841 tonnes, JAT Airways said in a statement.
Serbia's government approved in July the privatisation of JAT Airways but decided to retain the state's ownership of Belgrade Airport.
In August the government's asset-selling agency invited 24 international consultancies with expertise in air transportation to bid as advisors in the flag carrier's privatisation, and last month ranked first a consortium led by Rothschild & Cie.
Russian carrier Aeroflot, Air India and Iceland Air have shown interest in taking part in the privatisation of the Serbian flag carrier, JAT Airways director general Nebojsa Starcevic said in July. There is no specific time-frame for the privatisation yet but it is expected to take place in the next two years.
JAT Airways has a fleet of 14 aircraft whose average age is 20 years. Once among the most profitable airlines in southeastern Europe, JAT saw its fortunes plunge amid the wars and economic sanctions that followed the break-up of former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
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