Soon in Belgrade?
Serbia and Belarus are set to sign a new bilateral aviation agreement which will open the door for flights between the two countries to commence. The Serbian Minister for Transport, Milutin Mrkonjić, and the Belarusian Ambassador to Serbia, Vladimir Chushev, agreed for charter flights to be launched between the two countries as soon as the bilateral is signed. Services would operate from Minsk to Belgrade with a further possibility for the flights to continue on to St. Petersburg in Russia. Several years ago it was planned for the national carrier of Belarus, Belavia, to launch winter charters from Minsk to Niš Constantine the Great Airport, however, the airline and hoteliers at the nearby mountain resort of Kopaonik failed to reach an agreement. Thus, the flights never went ahead.
While it is unlikely that flights between Minsk and Belgrade could generate too much interest, the Belarusian national carrier offers an extensive network to Russia which could entice some transit passengers. The Belgrade – Moscow route is one of the busiest operating out of the Serbian capital. Furthermore, Belavia has smaller aircraft in its fleet such as the Bombardier CRJ200 and the Embraer E175.
Meanwhile, LOT Polish Airlines has turned its service from Warsaw to Belgrade into seasonal summer flights only. The airline planed such a move last winter as well but in the end decided to maintain flights throughout the 2011/2012 season. According to the Polish carrier, the flights between Warsaw and Belgrade are highly seasonal. LOT is not the first airline from the region to pull out of Belgrade in recent times. Over the past two year both Ukraine's Aerosvit and Latvia's airBaltic suspended their services to Belgrade. On Monday, Nikola Tesla Airport reduced its handling fees in a bid to attract more airlines. It is the third such reduction this year.