Airbus fleet rollout plans revealed
Air Serbia has begun preparations for its major fleet transition this winter, as the carrier switches from the Boeing 737-300 after 28 years of operations to the Airbus A319. Over the weekend the airline began advertising employment opportunities for new pilots for the A319/A320 aircraft. Furthermore, the Serbian government recently approved the deposit payment for the first five A319s. The arrival of the jets will impact on the airline’s network expansion. By the end of the year, Air Serbia will launch flights to Abu Dhabi (October 27), Banja Luka (December 1), Prague (December 1), Bucharest (December 9) and Ljubljana (December 9). Flights to Budapest, Beirut, Cairo, Varna, Kiev, Sofia and Warsaw will be launched later on as more aircraft arrive.
As it currently stands, the first A319 in the Air Serbia fleet will make its debut this winter season on Sunday, October 27, on the morning service to Moscow. Despite recent rumours that Air Serbia will relocate to Domodedovo Airport, the airline will keep in with tradition and continue operating to Sheremetyevo Airport. The A319 will also begin operations on the Abu Dhabi service on October 27. Selected flights to Copenhagen will be served by the new aircraft from late October as well. Throughout the winter season the B737s will be phased out. In November, services to Zurich, Thessaloniki, Larnaca, Paris (both daily flights), Athens, Dusseldorf and Berlin will move to the A319. The transition will continue in December as Stuttgart, London Heathrow, Rome and Tel Aviv (which will operate on a daily basis without the current stop in Larnaca) are all upgraded to the A319. A few days before the New Year holidays, passengers on flights to and from Milan, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Frankfurt and Brussels will get to enjoy the new A319s as well.
The first EX-YU city (other than Belgrade) that will be served by the Air Serbia Airbus aircraft will be Podgorica in November, with one of three daily flights this winter operating with the new jets. Next in line will be Sarajevo. The Bosnian capital will be served by an ATR in the first half of winter but will be upgraded to a B737 later on, before moving on to the A319 in March 2014. Athens, Moscow, Paris, Vienna and Zurich will all be served twice daily this winter season.