So what went wrong? In the past several months British Airways has been struggling against its direct competitor on the route – Jat Airways. Jat operates daily flights to Heathrow and has managed to lure away British Airways’ main customer base on the route – transit passengers. Thanks to a new agreement with the Dutch KLM, Jat has managed to pinch away transit passengers to the United States and Canada from other airlines (primarily British Airways) and re-route them via Amsterdam. This August, Jat carried over 7.000 passengers on the Belgrade – London – Belgrade route. Its average cabin load factor stood at an impressive 82%, with an average of 110 passengers per flight. The route was made more successful by the fact that there were a significant number of business class passengers. Furthermore, the national carrier of the United Kingdom was hit by low cost competition from Wizz Air, which operates flights from London Luton.
British Airways is not the only airline bidding farewell to Belgrade this winter. It joins Greece’s Aegean Airlines which will end services soon. For the first time in almost a decade Jat will have no competition on the London Heathrow or Athens route. Latvia’s airBaltic will terminate its services from Riga to Belgrade this winter as well.
Meanwhile, without much fuss and advertising, Turkish airline Borajet launched two weekly flights between Turkey’s fourth largest city, Bursa, and Skopje on Thursday. The airline operates exclusively within Turkey with Skopje being its first international destination. All flight details can be found here.