TAP in Belgrade from next summer
The Portuguese national carrier, TAP Portugal, will launch flights to Belgrade next year, its CEO, Fernando Pinto, has confirmed. “TAP is to start operations to as many as ten destinations next year, with six of them in Europe alone. They are Nantes, Hannover, Gothenburg, Belgrade, Tallinn and St. Petersburg”, Mr. Pinto said yesterday. He added, “In South America, TAP will add Manaus and Belem as new destinations in Brazil and will also inaugurate service to Bogota and Panama”. The Portuguese national carrier plans to add 900 flights to its network by July 2014. TAP will also introduce an additional six aircraft to its fleet during next year.
The new service between Lisbon and Belgrade will connect the two capitals for the first time. In the former Yugoslavia, the Portuguese carrier currently operates flights only to Zagreb (which go via Bologna during the winter), as well as Dubrovnik on a seasonal summer basis. Originally, TAP planned to launch flights to Belgrade this year, however, the airline’s restructuring and privatisation attempt delayed such plans. TAP will hope to attract several different types of passenger on the route including leisure travellers, diaspora and transfer passengers, particularly those wishing to utilise the carrier’s extensive network to Africa and South America. In addition, the Portuguese carrier hopes to become a viable alternative for passengers heading to the United States with flights to Newark and Miami.
TAP marks the third new airline to announce flights to Belgrade in 2014. Etihad Regional recently revealed it would launch three weekly flights from Geneva to the Serbian capital from May 1, with flight details available here. Vueling Airlines will inaugurate flights from Barcelona during the summer as well. In addition, Air Serbia will launch a handful of new destinations from its hub next summer with more details on the flights to be known next week. It tops of a successful 2013 for Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport which has this year attracted Pegasus Airlines, Etihad Airways, easyJet, Belavia and B&H Airlines as new customers.