Busy summer ahead for EX-YU airlines
The national carriers of the former Yugoslavia plan to add up to ten new destinations to their route networks this summer, the biggest single expansion in years. As previously reported, Adria Airways will be returning to pre-crisis markets with the resumption of services from Ljubljana to Prague and Warsaw. The airline has also applied and received permits for flights to Kiev but is yet to schedule the service and put tickets on sale. Unlike a few years ago, Adria will be unopposed on its flights to Prague. Previously, it faced competition from ČSA Czech Airlines and later CCA Airlines before the service was dropped all together. On its flights to Warsaw, the airline will have a monopoly, though Adria can no longer rely greatly on transit passengers from the EX-YU region. The airline’s worst performing scheduled routes in 2013 were in fact Sarajevo and Belgrade. As the carrier looks to branch out its operations, Adria will also be launching flights from Tirana to Star Alliance stronghold Frankfurt. The Slovenian carrier will also, until July, introduce a one weekly charter flight from Split to Borlange in central Sweden.
Air Serbia will be spreading its wings this summer by launching six new routes. The airline is returning to former JAT Yugoslav Airlines markets as it adopts a similar strategy to the former Yugoslav carrier by heavily relying on transit passengers. From Belgrade, Air Serbia will have a monopoly on flights to Beirut, Kiev, Sofia and Varna. On services to Warsaw the Serbian carrier will compete against LOT Polish Airlines which was quick to respond to the threat. LOT immediately turned its seasonal Belgrade flights to a yearlong service and will boost frequencies to daily flights this coming summer. As a result, the Serbian carrier upgraded its operational aircraft on the route from an ATR72 to an Airbus A319. On flights to Budapest, Air Serbia will be challenged by Belarus’ Belavia which enjoys fifth freedom rights.
Montenegro Airlines will be inaugurating flights to Dusseldorf this summer season, with services to operate on a seasonal basis twice per week. B&H Airlines is still in the process of forming its 2014 summer season network. In December of 2013, the airline said it was looking to expand regionally with flights to Skopje. The Bosnian carrier has operated the route on and off for the past several years. Despite continuing rumours suggesting the airline will be resuming flights to Amsterdam, B&H is yet to apply for slots at the airport.
Following last year's service reductions, Croatia Airlines will this summer introduce flights from Split to Athens. The airline is being challenged on several fronts. The carrier will lose its monopoly on its service from Zagreb to Amsterdam as KLM Cityhopper launches its own flights on the route. Similarly, it will no longer be the only carrier operating flights from Zagreb to Rome, though its competition, Etihad Regional, will offer a direct flight compared to Croatia Airlines’ one stop service either via Dubrovnik or Split. In cooperation with Trade Air, the Croatian carrier will expand its domestic network with the routing Osijek - Zagreb -Rijeka - Split - Dubrovnik - Rijeka - Zagreb. Croatia Airlines will also launch new charter flights from Split to Bodo in Norway this summer.