Saturday, September 23, 2017

Flydubai to launch Podgorica service

Flydubai plans to commence flights from its hub in the United Arab Emirates to Podgorica this November. According to the "Aviatica" portal, the hybrid carrier will replace its seasonal flights between Dubai and Tivat, which were launched on June 23, with the Montenegrin capital until next summer. The Emirati airline has seen strong loads on its Tivat service, which has been extended by a month. Initially, flights were to end on September 26 but will now operate until the end of the summer season, with the final service scheduled for October 27. Ticket sales for Flydubai's new Podgorica flights are expected to begin next week. It will mark the first time the Montenegrin capital has boasted a scheduled route to the Gulf.

Flydubai has catered mainly for Middle Eastern holidaymakers on its Tivat flights. Porto Montenegro, a luxury yacht marina and adjacent waterfront development owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai, located close to Tivat Airport, served as the final destination for the majority of travellers on the route. Flydubai's Commercial Senior Vice President, Jeyhun Efendi, recently told EX-YU Aviation News, "The former Yugoslavia is an important market for Flydubai. We have been flying there since 2011 when we began our flights to Belgrade. In 2012 we launched flights to Skopje and in December 2014 we began flights to Sarajevo. Demand for these routes remains strong as passengers are able to travel to Dubai and beyond through our efficient aviation hub, offering links to 264 points around the world. The routes have also provided those from the Middle East, Gulf and beyond our network with easier access to discover this part of the world".

Flydubai business class cabin

Flydubai has further announced it will boost operations to other points in 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. Furthermore, 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.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Transavia to boost EX-YU operations in 2018

Low cost carrier Transavia will strengthen its operations to the former Yugoslavia next year with the introduction of new routes and the addition of extra frequencies to Belgrade, Ljubljana and Pula. The Air France - KLM subsidiary will double the number of flights between Amsterdam and Belgrade for a total of six per week from late February, while services from the Dutch city to Ljubljana will run five times per week starting next June, up from three this summer. The airline launched year-round flights to both the Serbian and Slovenian capitals in 2017. It competes directly against Air Serbia and Adria Airways on the two routes respectively. In Montenegro, the carrier will maintain its three weekly seasonal flights from Paris Orly to Tivat which were launched earlier this year.

Transavia will introduce new seasonal flights from Rotterdam to Dubrovnik starting April 5. Services will run up to four times per week, each Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday until the end of the summer season. It will mark Transavia's third destinations to the coastal city, complementing existing flights from Amsterdam and Munich. Additional details for the new Rotterdam - Dubrovnik service can be found here. Furthermore, Transavia will introduce an extra flight between Rotterdam and Pula for a total of three per week. The service was launched this summer season. The no frills airline will also maintain daily seasonal services from the Dutch city to Split, as was the case this summer.

Previously, Transavia noted it would commence operations to Zagreb and further expand its presence in Croatia. The Air France - KLM subsidiary informed the Croatian Ministry for Tourism of its intention of adding flights from France to Zagreb and Pula in 2018. It would also consider the possibility of introducing services to Rijeka next year as well. However, these new routes are yet to be officially announced or scheduled by the airline. In 2010 Transavia outlined it would launch services from Amsterdam to both Skopje and Sarajevo, with the latter to operate only during the Christmas and New Year holiday period. However, the airline eventually cancelled plans to serve either of the two cities.

Braathens to operate Banja Luka, Podgorica flights


Virtual airline Montefly has contracted BRA Braathens Regional Airlines to operate flights from Gothenburg to Podgorica via Banja Luka this winter. Despite announcements that the route would be maintained throughout the entire winter season, only three flights have been scheduled so far, for December 22 and 28, as well as January 4, 2018. BRA is one of Sweden's largest carriers boasting a fleet of 25 aircraft, including ATR72s, Avro RJ85s and RJ100s. Only tickets between Gothenburg and Banja Luka can be purchased at the moment through Montefly's website with return fares starting from 210 euros.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Royal Air Maroc plans Belgrade service

Serbia and Morocco are speeding up procedures for the establishment of nonstop flights after Royal Air Maroc said it was prepared to launch flights to Belgrade. The two sides signed a revised Air Service Agreement last Friday, updating the pact which regulates air traffic between the two nations for the first time since 1964. The Moroccan Ambassador to Serbia, Mohammed Amine Belhaj, confirmed that the kingdom's national carrier has expressed interest to introduce flights between Casablanca and the Serbian capital during the 2018 summer season. "The new flights will certainly increase the number of Serbian tourists visiting Morocco and vice versa. In addition to the launch of this service, we are exploring the possibility of charter flights with Serbian tour operators. There is demand from both sides", Mr Belhaj said.

Last week, the Moroccan Minister for Tourism, Mohammed Sajid, held talks in Belgrade with the Serbian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, Rasim Ljajić, in a bid to boost cooperation between the two countries in various sectors including tourism. During the meeting, the two sides welcomed the signing of the Air Service Agreement and called on the private sector and tourism professionals to explore all opportunities for cooperation. Furthermore, the two agreed for the development of an expanded cooperation programme in the tourism sector. Mr Ljajić will visit Morocco before the end of this year to finalise details over the establishment of flights between the two countries.

There have never been nonstop services between Belgrade and any point in Morocco. The north African nation had strained relations with the former Yugoslavia due to the latter's recognition of the breakaway territory of Western Sahara (Sahrawi Republic) as an independent state. However, Serbia reversed the recognition in 2004. Currently, Belgrade Airport is served only by two African carriers on a year-round basis, with Tunis Air maintaining services from Tunis and Air Cairo from Hurghada. Last year, Air Serbia said it saw potential in North Africa as a possible market in the future, noting that it is home to destinations that are within a two-and-a-half hour radius from Belgrade, which could be served by the upcoming Airbus A320neo aircraft. On the other hand, Royal Air Maroc boasts a fleet of 56 aircraft and an extensive domestic and international network. It has a broad codeshare agreement in place with Air Serbia's part-owner Etihad Airways.

Croatia Airlines seeking first officers


Croatia Airlines has posted a vacancy for a first officer position on its Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 fleet. Interested candidates must be at least 21 years of age, proficient in English, in possession of a valid commercial pilot license with ME and IR rating, as well as multi crew coordination. The application deadline has been set for October 2. Further requirements and conditions, as well as the application form, can be found here.