Monday, April 7, 2014

Air Serbia cancels Kiev launch

Air Serbia postpones Kiev service until further notice

Air Serbia has cancelled plans to launch daily flights to the Ukrainian capital Kiev from May 29 due to security reasons. The airline’s CEO, Dane Kondić, said, "The safety of our guests and crew is paramount to the airline. We are notifying any guests affected by the postponement and offering a refund for unused tickets or assistance for travel on alternative services". As EX-YU Aviation News learns, the cancellation comes as a result of poor ticket sales, affected in part due to the political instability in the country. However, Air Serbia is not the only EX-YU airline to cancel plans to launch services to Ukraine. Earlier this year, Adria Airways applied and received permits to operate flights to Kiev but omitted the city in its 2014 summer season schedule.

Kiev is Air Serbia's second destination to be cancelled this summer, with the other being Cairo. However, the latter was actually dropped due to instability in the country. Other airlines have not cancelled or reduced services to the Ukranian capital but operations to the region of Crimea, which was recently annexed by Russia, have been disrupted, with Eurocontrol closing its airspace several days ago. Last week the Serbian carrier launched flights to Sofia and Budapest. On May 29 it will inaugurate services to Warsaw, which will be followed by the launch of Beirut and Varna on June 1. The flights are set to go ahead as planned.

There are currently no links between Serbia and Ukraine. Air Serbia and Ukraine International Airlines signed a special prorate agreement, which came into force on April 1, in hope of strengthening travel links between the two countries. Despite the cancellation of its flights to Kiev until further notice, CEO Dane Kondić remains upbeat, “Within just a few months we have managed to connect the entire Balkan region, introduce new aircraft with the familiar Air Serbia logo, lift on board service standards and offer job opportunities in Serbia”. Mr. Kondić also added, “These changes, together with a strong emphasis on services offered to our clients, have transformed the way the company does business from its core. All of our efforts have been directed at offering first class service to our guests who have always been our top priority”.

68 comments:

  1. IMO its extremely disrespectful to Ukrainians to say you are cancelling a route because their country is unsafe, especially when its obviously not true. No one else has cancelled routes to Kiev because of security reasons.

    Its sad that mr. Kondic has this pathological need to project perfection at all cost even if its at the expense of someone else, in this case a whole nation.

    Would it really be the end of the world to just say the demand isnt there like we expected, we may need to put more effort in marketing and relaunch next year, or heck just say we have a big aircraft shortage and are unable to open the route!!!

    I understand it looks very amateurish to announce a route, promote it for several months and then abruptly cancel it, but surely its even more amateurish to the blacken the name of a whole nation by blaming them for your mistake?

    And the sad part is this isn't the first time as-well !

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    1. I think if you read the text again that's kind of what it says. Low demand becouse of partially security reasons.

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    2. I'd be more worried if they went ahead with exactly the same destinations and frequencies as initially announced few months ago. Instead of being rigid, airline needs to be flexible in adapting to market realities to be successful, so JU are doing the right thing.

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    3. I really wonder why Wizz Air Ukraine never though of launching twice weekly Kiev-Belgrade, they fly even to Sofia.

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    4. If Warsaw remained as an ATR destination as intended, it would have also been cancelled. Still, the schedule (planner with another aircraft) and consequently the sales to WAW have been better so they decided to keep it.

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    5. @sm

      Perhaps you should read the text again, specifically this

      "The safety of our guests and crew is paramount to the airline"

      I know you're not stupid to not realise exactly what he is trying to do/say with that statement. Quite pathetic coming from a ceo IMO!

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    6. No that's not what he said. He said "we will make changes to keep trolls happy. Trolls are number 1 priority for our airline, especially those posting from North America"

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  2. I really cant understand some things in management policy of JU. Instead to launch BArcelona, Venice or even Hamburg, I am wondering what was the point of beggining with Cairo and Kyev, or Varna? Isnt it logical to go to the market where you can earn some money and than to play with cities which can never be full loaded? I dont know, maybe I dont understand, but even Bologna with ATR could guaranteed be full. Who decides about new lines, I mean, who is that person and what is in his head when deciding, we will never know. It is the same as if I write an email with a desire to launch the line to Vilnius and Gdansk.. Or even Helsinki.

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    1. Even if they might prove a challenge to your thinking aptitudes, those routes make perfect sense and expect many more to come such as: Chisinau, Yerevan, Baku and others. Venice will eventually launch too. Let me remind you that Kiev is the capital of a 50 million country however to launch such a route you need proper marketing and first of all - a fleet to cover it. If Bucharest can go double daily within few months, then i don't see how Kiev couldn't be at least daily. When i spoke to Mr. Kondic last Wednesday about the issue he said he was very sorry to have to move it to some later date and that Kiev was his personal initiative. There was no mention of security issues, this is just a generic message issued by his PR team. The route suffered from a very bad schedule by the way, offering poor connectivity out of BEG, unlike other routes that are gonna be launched at that time such as Warsaw or more recently Budapest. That underlines even further the core of the problem which is a chronic fleet shortage.

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    2. Air Serbia proposed route map

      ATR/Regional flights:

      https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/t1.0-9/1535668_681580831885539_5146046550346484757_n.jpg

      Euro-Mediterranean and ME destinations:

      https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/t1.0-9/1503243_681581368552152_2496271135667351454_n.jpg

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    3. I think some of those destinations could only be served with the ATR 42.

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    4. Naah... the Atr-72 is the perfectly sized aircraft for JU.

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    5. Do you think LWO and KIV can support a daily ATR 72?

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    6. Well, people said that JU couldn't fill a daily Atr to BNX yet loads are getting better and better.

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    7. Isn't it important to have two flights per day instead of one for airlines that rely on transit passengers?

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    8. Not necessarily, it all depends how you structure you departure banks.

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    9. @aerologic thank you for the very telling tidbits


      "Kiev was his personal initiative"

      That makes this an even bigger failure.


      "There was no mention of security issues, this is just a generic message issued by his PR team"

      Who the hell is running things then cause he personally is quoted as saying that! A generic message that throws mud in the face of a whole country? If thats true he might want to tell his employees to refrain from lying in his name in the future.

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    10. Once Kiev is launched in the future, we rest assured this poster and all other haters/trolls will apologize for their mistakes. Just like when they were proven wrong and Air Serbia actually did start flying, when first Airbus arrived, when A320 joined the fleet, right? This site should be filled with "sorry we were wrong" from trolls but they just lack that courage to do it right, that's why they are trolls!

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    11. Lets just hope in the future they refrain from blaming other people for their mistakes ;)

      The only one trolling here is you as evidenced by the 3 pointless posts you managed to make in a short span! Its actually very easy to see who is making legitimate points based on the facts, and who avoids the topic at hand and makes general off-topic statements to bring some desperately needed joy in an otherwise dull and uninspiring life!

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    12. Unlike trolls, regular blog readers and aviation fans look to understand reasoning behind airline decisions. Several posters including aerologic provided clear and easily understandable logic behind this move, however only haters/trolls refuse to accept the logic and continue to attack the airline for absolutely no good reason except pure hate, and that's what clearly identifies them as trolls.

      As others clearly explained, postponement of Kiev launch is not a mistake but the right move given the current set of circumstances.

      Criticism is a great thing as it helps airline get better, but trolls don't want airline to get better, they just want to get the satisfaction from attacking the airline. Psychology is a great source of information on understanding why trolls act that way.

      On the other hand, trolls mean more visits to this site and therefore more ad revenue, therefore more financial support for this blog. As a true aviation fan, I love it!

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    13. Completely agree about the last paragraph, although i dont know that you can make much at all from this, that is not why this site exists.

      However I cant agree about your predictable hater/troll diatribe. This seems to be the standard/automatic fallback.... hear something you don't like and then attack the person and not the problem ... full of PURE hate ... jealous ... etc...

      Its funny you speak of psychology, im sure you are then also able to see the other side of the coin and understand the psyche of the air serbia fanboys/homers and why they blindly defend it regardless of its actions?

      You say criticism is a great thing so let me ask you directly...

      1. Was it right to use a completely trumped up security problem as the reason for cancelling Kiev, and to imply that the safety of passengers was even remotely at risk? (Western companies are FAR more sensitive to security issues and no one has even hinted at cancelling because of a safety risk)

      2. Do you think Air Serbia did a good professional job in promoting this route?

      3. Do you think they should have waited to get some more planes before launching a bunch of routes they have subsequently had to cancel? In other words do you think air serbia is to blame at all for their fleet shortage?

      4. Can I question Air Serbia about these decisions without being accused of being a troll?

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    14. All of those questions have already been answered, move on.

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    15. Way to not answer ANY of them. Point made. You're right its better to move on ;)

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    16. Actually only 4th question was not answered already, and the answer should be yes. Aerologic post covered all the other answers. So no, it was not primarily for security reasons, but you would have to agree that some governments and some companies posted travel warnings for Ukraine and that will affect decision making for non-essential travel in the region, so it is a good decision to postpone new launch until circumstances are better. Promoting the route could have been better as per aerologic's post, but there are numerous examples where other (even world class) airlines had to cancel some routes despite great marketing efforts, so that's not clear indication of mismanagement. On the third one, just ask anyone inside the leasing industry how hard it is to get good A319 on a short notice and have it ready for service in a matter of weeks. Even if you are not industry insider it is clear Air Serbia is trying to get their hands on A319 and A320 as quickly as possible.

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  3. OT: Wizz will increase LJU_CRL from 2 WF to 4 WF from 7.5.

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  4. This Mr CEO is dreaming big while in fact reality is a bit different. He doesn't even know how many AC he has in the fleet; mentioned in an interview last week that 6 319 are already flying while there are in fact only 5. Untolerable delays still persist on a daily basis in /out of Beg. Looking at Iddeals.com 90% of JU flights show more than 20 available seats .....Overall not very good and guests NOT pleased yet. By the way cancellation of BEI, BSP and CAI has nothing to do with security ... it has however with unreadiness to undertake flying the new fleet...

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    1. I don't know how you managed but you missed almost all the IATA codes. There is not BEI but BEY, there is no BSP but KBP. Please, act wisely next time you're trying to look smarter/

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    2. thanks God there are smart people that know IATA codes! .... the point of the message was that JU is far from perfect and that reality sucks and is far from a promised superior product.

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    3. Some of those "facts" have no relation to superior product Air Serbia is delivering. For inflight service it does not matter if there are 6 or 5 A319 operational. Service level provided onboard is the same if you have 5 or 6. Then complaint about more than 20 seats being available online. Passenger love it when there are lots of seats available, more room to them! This "fact" actually helps passengers being satisfied with Air Serbia, not the other way around!

      No one claims Air Serbia is perfect, but there is no denial (even trolls admit it!) a lot of things have improved since last days of JAT.

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  5. First to calm down everybody, that I am not a hater or "troll", I am Serb. I am very skeptical about Air Serbia. Since day 1, there is lots of erratic and spontaneous changes, announcements and spins. First of all I was really expecting a professional route and pricing evaluation management, since this is the base of everything. Based on this you have your schedule, your fleet and crew requirement and the rest is duty of the commercial and marketing department to sell, not the other way round! This would have involved in-depth analysis of the market plus a thorough study and then a launch, minimum of 6+x months in the worldwide GDS. I have the impression that this was not properly done or not done at all. If you want a hub driven airline (like AS seems to be wanting) you still need a good portion of o/d market, because otherwise 80% of your flights is filled by dumping 4 coupon fares washing your yields totally out. That's why new destinations like LJU, PRG, SKG, OTP, SOF seem to work, while BEY, CAI, IEV won't. They are also pretty far away making operational costs high. They way of announcing new routes, opening them in the systems just a few weeks before the operational start (when your brand name abroad is almost ZERO) is kindergarten level and destined to fail. That won't work and then telling the people that their cities are unsafe while giants like LH and others fly there safely is cynical and cowardly. Not to tell the saga and status of the Air Serbia fleet and operational mess (just look for all the delays day in day out)......I begin to think that Mr Kondic is a white elephant for a much bigger story that will unfold one day. I feel real pity for him, because if the AS story goes on like this, there is hardy a renowned airline that will hire him on a management level again.

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    1. You are 100% correct!

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    2. "If you want a hub driven airline (like AS seems to be wanting)..."

      Alaska Airlines (IATA: AS) does not have the same hub model as Air Serbia (IATA: JU). But thank you for sharing your airline industry expertise with us, we get it...

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    3. For all those questioning the sense of opening Eastern routes: if you're gonna build a transfer-leaning airline, your network has to be expanded as much to East as to the West, as much to the South as to the North, it's as simple as that. You talk about Venice, Barcelona, Hamburg - but where are you gonna fly all those pax to in a jet on a daily basis? Certainly not to Belgrade.

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    4. neka neka videli smo kako ste vi žuti vodili JAT

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  6. Just a note on today's main global headline

    East Ukraine security HQs 'seized'

    Also Ukrainian elections taking place a few days before this flights is supposed to be launched.

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  7. They have been unlucky with some of the new destinations havin civil unrest. No need to proceed with them as your market awareness is low unlike an established carrier already serving the destination.
    not end of the world stuff, they will get as they have come along a long way in the short period they have started this strategy

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  8. I fully agree that this is not a right moment to start new flight to Kiev and Cairo. However I am sure that flight to Beirut should perform very well. Half plain would be passengers traveling to Paris and half to other destination in Europe.
    I remember earlier afternoon flights Belgrade – Beirut - Dubai, always at least 70 % Lebanese.

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  9. OT:
    Adria will be flying Pristina-Malmo from 23/06 till 01/09, once weekly w/ A319.
    Source: http://airlineroute.net/2014/04/07/jp-prnmmx-jun14/

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  10. Hahaha I love how some people are predicting the airline to fail just because they have suspended the launch of two destinations. Hmm... I guess the fact that they launched Budapest, Sofia, Banja Luka, Ljubljana, Prague... doesn't really matter. Oh well... what a shame.


    On a different note, today's Etihad flight left Belgrade with 130 passengers out of which 14 were in business class. There were a lot of connecting passengers.

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    1. is there any rumors to whether Etihad might send bigger planes to BEG in the near future

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    2. that is because JU cancelled their flight yesterday evening. Not worried for the success of EY at all but JU is a different story!....

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    3. They're cancelling this night's flight as well. SAA is out of service.

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    4. Do you happen to know why? What's wrong with it?

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    5. Bird strike 5 days ago, tomorrow will enter the service

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    6. where did the bird strike happen?

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    7. Actually, in the end there were 140 passengers on the flight. Despite last night's cancellation, passenger numbers would have been healthy.

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    8. On arrival to BEG

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    9. ^ so how many where there from air serbia and how many from etihad? Also do you know what are the avreage loads on the air serbia and etihad flights to AUH

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    10. Etihad's loads are more or less good. Most of the time they have around 90 passengers per flight. Some days more some days less.
      Air Serbia is pretty much the same. One day they have 95 passengers and then another they have 50...

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    11. Kad bi barem jednom u ned. Slali 777-300 er

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    12. ako postanemo bolja zemlja i bolje drustvo u celini i kada naucimo da cenimo to sto imamo moci cemo da se dicimo i jakom aviokompanijom i aerodromom. Pogledajte kakva je zemlja Etiopija a kakav je sa druge strane Ethiopian Airlines. Slicno vazi i za Oman air, Thai i druge kompanije iz nerazvijenih zemalja koje imaju vrhunsku uslugu

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    13. Upravu ste nemogu shvatiti da neke Africke Aviokompanije imaju bolju Flotu nego Air Srbija.
      Pozdrav iz Novog Sada.

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  11. OT:

    Macedonian Airports +9%

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  12. @ Admin, i believe you meant to write Budapest instead of Bucharest.

    -- Charlie

    PS keep up the good work

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  13. BEG Tuesday Apr. 8. 00-24
    70 departures, quite high for off-season, with probably around 11 000 pax day round

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  14. Why there is just 5 A319 instead of 8 A319 planed?
    Why there is just 1 A320 instead of 2 planed?
    Why flights to Beirut, Kiew and Cairo are canceled if no other ailines cancel those routes?

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    1. Why there is just 5 A319 instead of 8 A319 planed?

      - Technical faults and catering area standards not fitting Air Serbia's requirements, delaying deliveries

      Why there is just 1 A320 instead of 2 planed?

      - There should be 3, they're on the way.

      Why flights to Beirut, Kiew and Cairo are canceled if no other ailines cancel those routes?

      - Beirut: legal issues, waiting for Lebanese aviation authorities to re-issue a license in order to be able to sell tickets "legally", the route was the best performer in sales. The issuance could be "delayed" by some vested interests the local airline MEA (one of my favourite) could have in it.

      - Kiev: poor schedule offering very bad transfer options, marketing next to none, zero brand-awareness among already established carriers on the Ukr. market, KBP-BEG JU/EY codeshare and SPA with PS signed at the very last minute, political situation impacting sales and most importantly: the simple lack of an aircraft to fly the route. It'll be launched at some later date though.

      - Cairo: O&D next to none and if there is it's taken by charter airlines, political situation making transit passengers very scarce; that coupled with fierce competition would have made it quite unwise to launch the route at this particular moment.

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    2. I think this speaks very loudly to a lack of professionalism by top management. In their defense they have the necessary enthusiasm but seem to be lacking considerably in other areas.

      I just hope they realise how incompetent they look, and more importantly how this affects air serbias image when they do something sooo amateurish like this.

      You say theres no awareness in Ukraine, well the first impression they made was that they are unreliable and will blame you and your country for their incompetency. Welcome aboard guests!!

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    3. Trolls are back! Actually, they never left this site...

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  15. Emirates is the second airline to downgrade (or cancel) services to Ukraine, few months after the launch flights going down to 4 weekly instead of daily from the 1st of May 2014.

    *This shows us a sample of the impact that the current situation has on long-distance (and all non-work migrant) travel from Ukraine, partly the market that Air Serbia was after through the EY code-share on the route. If Emirates isn't immune to it and almost halved their services, we can imagine how it affected Air Serbia.

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    1. Nice try, except they didn't cancel and more importantly they didn't blame it on a NONEXISTENT safety issue.

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    2. Nobody said they cancelled but MODIFIED the service offered, that's why the op wrote 'or'.

      Also Wizz Air Ukraine is downgrading their fleet from 4 to 3 planes due to low demand.

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    3. WizzAir Adds Kiev – Naples Service from mid-June 2014
      by JL

      Update at 0540GMT 07APR14

      WizzAir Ukraine from 14JUN14 beings Kiev Zhulyany – Naples service, which sees the low-cost carrier offering twice weekly operation, on board Airbus A320.

      WU6147 IEV0550 – 0730NAP 320 36
      WU6148 NAP0805 – 1145IEV 320 36

      http://airlineroute.net/2014/04/07/wu-ievnap-jun14/

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    4. Disgusting schedule. Fail.

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  16. Air Serbia Cancels Planned Kiev Service Resumption due late-May 2014
    by JL

    Update at 0440GMT 08APR14

    Air Serbia has cancelled planned service resumption on Belgrade – Kiev Borispol route, due to start from 30MAY14. Reservations for this 1 daily service is now closed. Kiev joins Beirut as the airline’s 2nd planned destination being cancelled before service launch/resumption.

    JU662 BEG1205 – 1500KBP 319 x246
    JU662 BEG1310 – 1605KBP 319 246

    JU663 KBP1545 – 1630BEG 319 x246
    JU663 KBP1650 – 1735BEG 319 246

    http://airlineroute.net/2014/04/08/ju-kbp-s14cxld/

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    1. Wow, even the guy from airlineroute seems angry at them. Beirut isn't a firm cancellation stil.

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    2. Reservation for Beirut remains closed since the announcement, therefore it's being treated as cancellation.

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