No go for Pegasus’ Belgrade flightsThe Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate has rejected an application made by the low cost Pegasus Airlines to launch flights from Istanbul to Belgrade next month, citing terms of a bilateral air agreement between the two countries from 1953, the “Aviokarta.net” portal reports. Sources close to the issue have told EX-YU aviation news that both Jat Airways and Turkish Airlines have been strongly lobbying against Pegasus which posed a threat to their duopoly on the route. Pegasus is said to be planning to apply for a license again.
Pegasus Airlines anticipated launching scheduled flights from Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport to Belgrade from October 2. Four weekly flights were planned to be operated with the Boeing 737-800. Pegasus has been running summer charters to Serbia over the past few years. Within the former Yugoslavia it maintains scheduled flights to both Skopje and Priština. During the 2012/2013 winter season, Jat Airways will operate four weekly flights to Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport while its rival Turkish Airlines will carry out a total of ten weekly flights.
Serbia and Turkey have had a troubled relationship when it comes to aviation. Over the past few years there have been difficulties over issuing licenses to charter airlines (including this year as well). Two years ago, Turkey threatened it would revoke Jat’s rights to fly to Istanbul if licenses to Turkish charter airlines were not issued by Serbian authorities. In 1992, a Jat Boeing 737-300 (registered YU-ANJ) was grounded in Istanbul by Turkish authorities, under the pretext of international sanctions. After sitting in Istanbul inactive for eight years, the jet was returned to Belgrade on May 9, 2000.