Friday, May 26, 2017

Croatia Airlines eyes year-round Bucharest service


Croatia Airlines plans to operate year-round flights between Zagreb and Bucharest starting from the 2018 summer season, following strong demand and bookings for the newly launched seasonal service. The carrier's CEO, Krešimir Kučko, expects for the airline to handle some 10.000 passengers between the two cities from May until mid-October of this year on board its Bombardier Dash 8 turboprop. "This is a new destination for Croatia Airlines which we have not served in the past. Initially, we will connect the Romanian and Croatian capitals until mid-October, three times per week. We are seeing a number of transfer passengers on these flights, keeping in mind that Romania is the second largest market in Southeast Europe", Mr Kučko said. He added, "As a result, the Romanian market has potential. All of this contributed to Bucharest becoming our 37th destination and a very important point in our regional network. In 2018 we plan to operate this service year-round".

The new flights between Zagreb and Bucharest, which launched last weekend with 73 passengers on board the inaugural service, is seeing demand both on the inbound and outbound sectors, according to the airline. The carrier noted that Romanians are taking advantage of transferring through Zagreb to the Croatian coast, but added that Croatian travellers are also exploring Romania in greater numbers. "All of the indicators show that over the past two years the number of Romanian tourists visiting Croatia has grown in the double digits. At the same time, I believe many Croatian citizens will discover the natural, cultural and historical beauties of Bucharest and Romania in general", Mr Kučko said.

Bucharest had been identified as an unserved destination with great potential from Zagreb since 2007 when over 8.000 people travelled between the two cities. In 2009, the Romanian national carrier TAROM made plans to launch three weekly flights between the two cities using its ATR72 aircraft, however, the service never materialised. Furthermore, Croatia Airlines intended on introducing operations to Bucharest in 2011, but the onset of its restructuring program put an eastbound expansion on hold. Valentin Iordache, the Communication Director at Bucharest Airports Company, noted, "The slots chosen by Croatia Airlines are very favourable for both Romanian tourists and Croats. The service is initially starting off with three weekly flights during the summer but we expect this to be extended next year".

Qatar hiring in Zagreb, Skopje and Belgrade

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Qatar Airways is hiring staff in Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia in its commercial and ground services divisions.

The Qatari carrier is seeking a Senior Reservations & Ticketing Agent in Zagreb. The job entails processing reservations and ticketing services to all customers and travel businesses either through telephone calls or in-person meetings. Some of the requirements for the position include a minimum high school diploma, knowledge in IATA standard reservation, computer literacy and Croatian citizenship. Job applications must be lodged by May 26. Further requirements and job details can be found here.

Qatar Airways will be hosting a recruitment event in Skopje for an experienced Customer Services Agent which will be based at Hamad International Airport in Doha. The job includes face to face interaction with customers, work at check-in, boarding and the transfer desk. Requirements include minimum high school diploma, at least two years of related work experience and excellent English skills. The deadline for the submission of the job application has been set for June 1. Further details can be found here.

In Belgrade, Qatar Airways is seeking an Airport Services Agent at Nikola Tesla Airport. The job requires for the provision of service to customers at the airport terminal, liaising with check-in, escorting and directing arriving/departing passengers, assisting the Duty Officer to handle company materials and records, and conducting pre-flight administration. Applications for the position must be lodged by June 9. Further details and requirements can be found here.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hainan to launch Belgrade service in September


Hainan Airlines will commence operations between Beijing and Belgrade this September. According to a tentative request filed with the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the carrier plans to initially maintain the service via the Czech capital of Prague over the winter season after which the airline will review the possibility of introducing nonstop operations. Hainan Airlines will run its Beijing - Prague - Belgrade service twice per week, each Monday and Friday with an Airbus A330-300 aircraft, which has the capacity to seat 32 passengers in business class and a further 260 in economy. The development comes some ten days following a visit by Serbia's President Elect to China, during which he said, "We will try to secure a final agreement concerning flights between China and Serbia, even if they have to operate via another European city during the first six months. Afterwards, we will have a nonstop service".

Hainan Airlines currently maintains flights to Prague three times per week and recently upgraded its equipment on the route from a Boeing 767 to the A330. Scheduling to and from Prague is expected to remain unchanged as Hainan's aircraft currently spends some eight hours at Vaclav Havel Airport before its return to Beijing. During this time, the jet will operate a rotation to and from Belgrade. The exact launch date in September has not been specified by the airline, however, according to the Czech portal "Planes", the service will commence midway through the month. Hainan Airlines' Prague service departs Beijing at 01.40 in the morning local time and arrives in the Czech capital at 06.00, before commencing its return journey at 14.35 and touching down the following day at 05.55.

Hainan Airlines' business class cabin

Hainan Airlines is China's largest private carrier by both market share and fleet size. Its A330-300 aircraft boast the airline's latest business class product in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration featuring 180 degree lie-flat seats, while all passengers have access to the airline's in-flight entertainment system through personal television screens. Air China's predecessor, CAAC, was the last Chinese carrier to serve Belgrade. Flights were maintained from Urumqi via Budapest until the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. Sino-Serbian relations have soared since the launch of China's Belt and Road Initiative, which has seen the arrival of several large Chinese companies to Serbia and the abolishment of visa requirements between the two nations.

Tivat Airport numbers grow

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Tivat Airport has seen its passenger numbers improve in April following a slow start to the year. It handled 42.333 travellers, an increase of 18.7% compared to the same month last year. The number of aircraft movements stood at 557. During the first four months of 2017, the airport welcomed 91.527 passengers, up 4.1%. A total of 1.373 aircraft operations were registered during this period, which is down 10%. Commenting on the results, Tivat Airport's new General Manager, Rade Marić, said, "Following a slight decline in passengers during the first quarter, caused primarily by poor weather conditions and flight cancellations, we managed to make up for this loss during April. We have a very busy summer season ahead of us". Tivat Airport narrowly missed out on handling over one million passengers last year, settling for 982.558 instead.

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN14.687 20.3
FEB14.299 0.9
MAR20.208 4.1
APR42.333 18.7

Air Bucharest to launch Pristina service

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Romanian leisure carrier Air Bucharest will launch seasonal summer flights from Pristina to Friedrichshafen, in south-western Germany. Services will commence on June 24 and run once per week, each Saturday, with a 148-seat Boeing 737-300 aircraft until September 16. The flights are being operated on behalf of local tour operators. Germany is the second largest country market from Pristina behind Switzerland, accounting for 31.4% of all traffic in 2016. Further flight details for the new Pristina - Friedrichshafen service can be found here.