Air Serbia has recorded improved operational results during the first three months of the year, with growth in passenger numbers, cargo and its average cabin load factor. During the first quarter, the Serbian airline carried 453.859 passengers, representing a year-on-year increase of 8.1%. It marks Air Serbia's busiest start to the year since its launch in late 2013. In comparison, in 2016, when the airline implemented network-wide cuts, a total of 419.824 travellers were welcomed on board its aircraft, while just under 453.000 passengers flew with the carrier during Q1 of 2015. In 2017, the average cabin load factor grew a notable 3.4% to 67% despite a significant increase in capacity with the introduction of the wide-body Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which was not part of the fleet during the first quarter of last year.
The airline’s passenger carrying capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASK), stood at 834 million at the end of Q1 2017, an increase of 20% over the same period last year. The amount of cargo handled also improved, with 490 tonnes transported in the quarter, up by 70% over the 877 tonnes flown in 2016. Air Serbia did not report on its financial performance during the first quarter and is yet to publish its financial results for last year, although the carrier is expected to post a profit according to statements made by its Supervisory Board Chairman. Air Serbia is the second national carrier in the former Yugoslavia to post its operational results for the first three months of the year following Croatia Airlines.
Commenting on the results, Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, said, “Our operational performance in Q1 2017 has been outstanding and reflects our continued efforts to enhance our travel proposition and capture more travel demand to and from Belgrade. We have continued to increase choice and convenience for our guests by introducing new travel options in Q2, so travellers can now select their preferred seat, buy additional baggage and purchase passes to our Premium Lounge in advance". He added, "The introduction of these new services, as well as other exciting developments we have planned for 2017, will ensure the upward trend of Q1 continues into the year”.