Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Emirates to extend EX-YU reach

Emirates will be extending its reach into the former Yugoslavia by codeshareing on Flydubai's operations from Dubai to Belgrade, Sarajevo and Skopje. The Middle East's largest airline has already added its designator code and flight numbers on services to the Serbian capital (EK2220/2221), with others to follow, as the two launch an “extensive partnership” agreement. The deal will go beyond codesharing and will include integrated network collaboration with coordinated scheduling. The carriers already boast an interline agreement on services to and from Belgrade, Sarajevo and Skopje, which allows passengers to catch connecting flights on either airline without checking in again, however, unlike a codeshare, such deals don't usually cover coordinated flight times, joint marketing or reciprocal frequent flyer benefits. Between them, the two carriers currently operate to 216 cities. They expect to be serving 240 destinations as a combined operation by 2022, with a total fleet of 380 aircraft.

Emirates introduced its first service to the former Yugoslavia this summer, between Dubai and Zagreb, after Flydubai suspended the route in November 2016. The carrier has said it is pleased with the reception of its product on the Croatian market, while booking levels over the coming months have been strong. "The new flight is a year round service and we will work hard to support the route and grow passenger numbers going forward", it said in a statement. However, it ruled out launching operations to other cities in the former Yugoslavia for the time being. "For now we are not planning on introducing flights to other destinations in this region", Emirates said.

Flydubai has announced it will boost its operations to the former Yugoslavia this coming winter season. The carrier will introduce an additional weekly flight to the Macedonian capital each Saturday starting November 4 for a total of three weekly services. Furthermore, it will add an extra three weekly flights to its Belgrade operations for a total of seven per week, starting November 25. The airline will continue to maintain four weekly services to Sarajevo, as was the case last winter. Although Emirates has already added its codes onto Flydubai's Belgrade service, the remaining codeshares are expected to come into effect from the fourth quarter of this year.

Zagreb Airport handles record cargo


Zagreb Airport processed the largest amount of cargo in July since opening its doors to the public over fifty years ago. The airport handled 1.145.968 kilograms of freight and mail, representing an increase of 46% on the same month last year. Emirates handled the largest amount of cargo, accounting for 414.453 kilograms. During the January - July period, Zagreb Airport processed 5.064 tonnes of freight and 1.179 tonnes of mail, up 5% on 2016. Cargo at Croatia's largest airport is primarily made up of pharmaceutical consignments, computer technology and perishables, like fruit and vegetables. In July, logistics firm R&B Global Projects transported a naval propeller shaft from Zagreb to Rijeka on an Antonov An-124 Ruslan, the world's second heaviest operating cargo aircraft. The oversized unit was installed on a US navy vessel.

Last year, the General Manager of Zagreb Airport, Jacques Feron, said the old passenger terminal could be used for freight storage and office space. Mr Feron noted that the airport would put a greater focus on cargo operations following the opening of its new terminal building. He added that despite its larger size, Zagreb lags behind Ljubljana in terms of cargo operations. According to Mr Feron, there is great potential in developing cargo traffic due to the airport's location and general demand. Zagreb Airport handles over 90% of all air cargo in Croatia.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Air Serbia's position "remains stable"

Air Serbia has said its position remains stable after two members of the Etihad Airways Partners group, Alitalia and Air Berlin, filed for insolvency over the last two months, while another, Darwin Airline, was sold to new owners. In a statement, an Air Serbia spokesperson said, “The latest developments in Air Berlin do not affect Air Serbia. As said previously, the Government of the Republic of Serbia and Etihad Airways are fully committed to the strategic partnership with Air Serbia. The national flag carrier has started the process of consolidating its business, reducing costs and increasing efficiencies, in response to changing market conditions".

The Serbian carrier acknowledged that the business environment remains difficult. "Despite the serious challenges facing the aviation industry on a global scale, the position of Air Serbia remains stable. Our national airline is the leading carrier in the region with a strong network of flights that serve a total of 42 destinations in Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and North America, with passenger and freight services”, the company noted. Recently, the Etihad Aviation Group's Chairman of the Board, Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazro, said, "The Board and executive team have been working since last year to address issues and challenges through a comprehensive strategic review aimed at driving improved performance across the group, which includes a full review of our airline equity partnership strategy". Former Etihad CEO, James Hogan, who has spearheaded the equity investment strategy, which has now unraveled, and is credited for expanding the Emirati carrier at an unprecedented rate, stepped down from his post in June.

Air Serbia recently posted a net profit of 900.000 euros for 2016, which is down 76.9% on the previous year, although the decrease has been put down to the significant investment made in the launch of the carrier's first long haul service to New York. However, according to various Serbian media reports, Air Serbia received some forty million euros from the government last year. Furthermore, the media has suggested that Etihad sold Air Serbia expensive loans, while the government continued to cover debts made by Air Serbia's predecessor Jat Airways. The Serbian carrier has not responded to the claims, noting only that it will focus on strengthening its commercial results, improving the efficiency of its operations and maintaining its focus on cost control and balance sheet discipline in 2017.

Macedonia and China to ink air agreement


Macedonia and China are preparing to sign a bilateral Air Service Agreement after the two sides met for talks in Skopje last week. A senior delegation from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) presented a draft text of the agreement which will now be reviewed by their Macedonian counterparts. On the other hand, the Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency proposed for the signing of a Memorandum for Technical Cooperation. The two sides are seeking to establish the legal framework for the potential launch of scheduled flights, promote cooperation between aviation authorities, as well as promote technical and educational support. The two agreed that the establishment of flights would help boost tourism and people-to-people exchange.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Germania to strengthen EX-YU operations

The Germania Group will strengthen its operations to the former Yugoslavia next year and has launched its first bookings for the 2018 summer season, which will see it return to Dubrovnik, Niš, Ohrid, Pristina, Skopje and Split, as well as launch operations to Zadar, In Croatia, the carrier will continue to maintain flights from Zurich to Split, but will up its existing frequencies from one to two weekly. Furthermore, it plans to inaugurate services from Zurich to Zadar from May 12, with flights to run twice per week until October 13. The airline will maintain its cooperation with Condor on services from Frankfurt to Dubrovnik and Split next year as well.

Germania entered the Serbian market this summer by launching seasonal services between Zurich and Niš. However, the route was quickly upgraded to year-round operations with the airline to continue to maintain flights twice per week during the winter season, although services will be down to one weekly rotation over selected periods when demand is deemed to be its weakest. As of next summer season, flights will continue to operate twice per week. Germania competes against Swiss International Air Lines on the route, which itself launched seasonal flights between the two cities this summer and recently announced it too would extend operations over the winter period.

Germania's summer programme will again be complemented by flights from Zurich and Geneva to Pristina, and from Zurich to Skopje and Ohrid. These services are operated on behalf of local tour operator Air Prishtina. Furthermore, it will maintain services from Basel, Bergamo, Dusseldorf, London Gatwick, Munich and Verona to the Kosovan capital. The airline was Pristina's busiest in 2016, carrying some 270.000 passengers on flights to and from the city. Similarly, Germania was the third busiest carrier in Macedonia last year. The airline said that it could further expand its operations to the former Yugoslavia, noting, "Our route network is undergoing constant expansion and further destinations will be announced over the following weeks". On all Germania flights passengers are permitted free baggage allowance of at least 20kg. Ticket prices also include a snack or hot meal (depending on flight duration), as well as soft drinks, newspapers, magazines and all taxes and fees.