Qatar Airways arrives in Belgrade
Qatar Airways inaugurated three weekly flights to Belgrade on Tuesday. Services from Doha to Belgrade operate via Ankara with the carrier’s Airbus A320 and marks the first time the two cities have been linked. A special arrival ceremony was hosted by Belgrade Airport for the occasion and was attended by more than fifty local dignitaries, VIPs and media. At the route launch, Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker, said, “Serbia’s capital Belgrade is renowned across Europe for its buzzing nightlife and unique cultural attractions. With world class entertainment and hospitality on offer, we are very proud to provide both our business and leisure travellers worldwide with new seamless connections to one of Europe’s most exciting and vibrant cities”. Qatar Airways is hoping to attract transit passengers from Belgrade to connect onto its flights to Australia, the Far East and South Africa.
On its inaugural service to Belgrade, a total of 35 passengers touched down in the Serbian capital, while a further 45 were bound for Doha. Qatar Airways was unable to obtain fifth freedom rights from Turkish authorities to sell tickets on the Ankara - Belgrade - Ankara sector. Belgrade is Qatar’s second destination in the former Yugoslavia following Zagreb, which was launched earlier this year.
Meanwhile, the Turkish low cost airline Pegasus has been issued a license to launch flights from Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport to Belgrade from February 1, 2013. The decision won’t go down well with Jat Airways which last week criticised the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate for not adhering to the bilateral air agreement between the two countries. According to the agreement only one nominated airline from each country can operate flights. Earlier this year Pegasus was denied a flying permit. The no frills airline, which operates summer charters to the Serbian capital, will launch its scheduled service four times a week with a Boeing B737-800. Details can be viewed here.