Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Niš service

Serbia’s Jat Airways is considering commencing scheduled services between Serbia’s third largest city, Niš, located in Eastern Serbia and Vienna. The new service could commence during mid summer after Jat Airways successfully completed talks with the management of Niš Constantine the Great Airport. However, the new service will only go ahead if Jat is able to make an agreement with Austrian Airlines. Jat is hoping for the service to Vienna from Niš to be a code share flight with Austrian Airlines operated by a Jat ATR72. The new service would substitute one of Jat’s flights to Vienna from Belgrade. In 2007, Jat started service from Niš to Vienna after the airline was criticised for not paying enough attention to Serbia’s second international airport. However, the service was cancelled after two weeks with a total of 5 tickets sold from Niš and 2 tickets sold from Vienna. Jat operates 2 weekly flights from Niš to Zurich using the Boeing B737-300. Negotiations with Austrian Airlines will commence next week and if successful new flight could begin in mid June.

Meanwhile Jat’s director for commercial operations, Vladimir Ognjenović, said that Jat is preparing to commence services to Dubrovnik next summer. He stated that Jat insisted to operate the successful seasonal Pula service throughout the year however the Croatian Aviation Board rejected to issue Jat a renewed license. He also stated that Jat wanted to commence this year’s service on March 29, however once again because the Croatian Aviation Board was late in issuing a new license it will have to wait until April 23 to commence the 4 weekly service from Belgrade.


  1. I don't understand this (logic from JAT - JAT will only disappoint itself and run a service which was a dismal failure a few years ago again if another airline is also willing to lose money on the venture? More importantly, is the service a 1-stop BEG-VIE, or a direct, infrequent line INI-VIE which is sure to fail? Perhaps time to release a well-thought out, logical business plan and aim to operate a sizeable profit rather than more pipe dreams...

    On the issue of JU flights to DBV, let's look objectively: despite a global aviation meltdown (where any flights which would be high patronage would surely benefit an airline), how can it be still that no Croatian airline has presented plans for flights to Serbia given the high level of flights between the two countries just 17 years previous? We have also read (on this exYU forum) rumours of 'free sky agreements' between the countries, yet nothing has eventuated.

    The realities of the situation are quite simple: bureaucratically, the two countries are still highly inefficent, narrow-focused, and large business still can not work together with the government to deliver positives in these unsure financial and political times. Whether there is still animosity between government organisations between the countries etc. should be irrelevant. What is the two countries' foreign policy positions on the issue of flights?

    We should be seeing frequencies between the two countries - here's a start of profitable lines:
    ZAG-BEG: 3x daily (or more)
    BEG-PUY: daily
    BEG-DBV: 2x daily
    ZAG-QND: daily
    BEG-SPU: daily
    After this list, then we could start with other lines to open up amongst other exYU. (Also, a comprehensive list of JAT flights from the late 80s would prove very interesting for planning...)

    Until JAT and Croatia Airlines present a joint 'white paper' to both countries demanding an immediate open skies (effective winter 09 - this gives them 6 months, plenty of time), no airline will have the chance to be operating profitable flights which are needed to keep the two comfortably afloat (and thousands of people in either country viably employed). But when was the last time the two airlines actually sat down and spoke?

    Despite my (perhaps agressive) tone, in summary, being more calculated as part of the greater economy for both countries is the solution. Until they stop their 'heads-down' approach to operations nothing will happen, and all we will continue to hear is lots more hot air from CEOs promising everything under the sun, and very little in terms of development for the airlines of the region.

    I would be very interested to read other people's thoughts - perhaps I am out in left field on this topic...

  2. One question, how are the loads of INI-ZRH with the 733? I also agree with frequentflyer, INI-VIE is an already-proven failure, although the codeshare with Austrian might bring in maybe a couple of more passengers per week (maybe the difference would be plus 15 +/- 5 passengers per week?? guesstimate), given it would be timed with Austrian's transatlantic arrivals and what not, but still, I doubt it will work. Personally I think Jat itself is not the kind of carrier to operate out of INI at all, because INI doesn't have a lot of business frequent travellers and the tourists only come in the winter. But don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those superpessimists, I wouldn't be surprised if Ryanair (or some other low cost carriers like EasyJet) could keep a route afloat with atleast positive profit to INI..

    You're don't have an agressive tone at ALL. As a matter of fact, if it were possible, I agree 110% with you. In economic times like these bureacracy deserves to be killed off or business will never expand to its greatest potential, period. BEG, to be brutally honest, has a really pathetic network when putting its destinations to a ratio to the 1.7 million people living in that city alone and that doesn't include the hundreds of thousands of diaspora that travel there per summer season. And unlike Croatia, Serbia only has one major airport for its passengers to arrive at, meaning BEG pretty much is putting on for ALL of Serbia. And yet, the network is pathetically lacking:
    --No scheduled flights to important neighboring/nearby capitals, like Bucharest, Budapest, Sofia, Zagreb. There is a pathetic once-a-week flight to Kyiv that is not even nonstop on the Kyiv-Beograd leg (it makes a stop at Sofia for an unknown reason) What on EARTH keeps Jat from starting flights to OTP or SOF, or why does TAROM or Bulgaria Air not fly to BEG?
    --Not all of major western european cities covered; no flights to Madrid, Barca, Manchester, Dublin
    --Very few flights outside of Europe, non of the inter-continental departures from BEG have high frequency, and many of the destinations out of europe served by jat have really random stops at Larnaca making these routes less viable (BEG-TLV, BEG-TIP, and BEG-Malta all have stops at Larnaca in these flights even though the 733 can reach all of these destinations nonstop in a tank of fuel)

    These three factors reduce the pax numbers that run through the airport, and when other airlines look on paper of the airport's statistics, they will be less encouraged to charter new territories to begin flights at BEG.


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