Saturday, May 2, 2009

Charter wars continued
Niš gets new flights, Egyptians rejected

Soon in Niš
The charter wars between Serbia’s Jat Airways and Turkish and Egyptian charter carriers continue. After the media discovered that the Serbian Directorate for Civil Aviation is unwilling to grant seasonal summer charter licenses to carriers from Turkey (Atlasjet, Sky Airlines and Pegasus) and Egypt (Lotus Air, KoralBlue Airlines, Air Cairo and Air Memphis), because it wants to protect the Serbian national carrier, a true war between the Serbian and foreign carriers has developed. However will Niš, Serbia’s second international airport which is struggling to attract airlines, be the one with most to smile about? It seems so. The Serbian Directorate has granted licenses to Atlasjet and Pegasus Airlines from Turkey to begin services from Antalya to Niš, as they requested, however, their applications for flights to continue to Belgrade have been rejected. The Turkish charter carrier Sky Airlines which applied for flights to Belgrade only has also been rejected.

Egyptian carriers Air Cairo and Lotus Air which have applied for summer charters from Cairo, Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh to Belgrade have also been rejected while airlines KoralBlue and Air Memphis’ licenses have just entered the procedure for receiving a license although they are likely not to be given them.

The director at the Serbian Directorate of Civil Aviation said that passengers should not confuse low cost airlines with charter airlines. He commented that the low cost Austrian based Nikki Airways was not allowed to fly to Belgrade because Austria and Serbia only have an agreement for the national carriers from each country to operate flights to the others. Similarly he said that currently Germanwings and Norwegian Air Shuttle are the only low cost carriers operating to Serbia while Nordic Airways also received a license although the carrier from Sweden ceased all operations earlier this year. The Directorate also mentions that the Hungarian Malev has not received a license for Budapest – Belgrade flights because it owes over 700.000 Euros to Jat Airways. Turkish authorities have said that they might respond in the same manner as Serbian authorities and revoke Jat’s summer charter license. It is not sure if Atlasjet and Pegasus Airlines will go ahead with their Niš service. Meanwhile Egyptian authorities don’t seem to be that worried. Jat’s flight to Sharm el-Sheikh via Hurghada will go ahead as scheduled tomorrow evening.


  1. And this is why I boycott JAT and will continue to do so until we get real Low Cost airlines in Belgrade.

  2. That won't happen until Belgrade airport lower their incredibly high airport charges (amongst the highest of any airport in Europe)


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