Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Serbia to undergo additional FAA check

Serbia still waiting for FAA CAT 1 status

Following the United States Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) latest assessment of Serbia’s aviation authorities late last month, the agency has found it will have to undertake an additional check before upgrading the country from its current category two status to category one. The upgrade will pave way for scheduled flights between the two countries, impossible under the present rating. FAA inspectors found that Serbia has largely met US and international safety standards and has adequate infrastructure for international aviation safety oversight as defined by international standards. However, the aviation authority has outlined several additional areas that need to be improved before it can finally award Serbia the category one status it lost in 2004.

The FAA’s findings are a setback for the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate which was hopeful last month’s checks would see the country’s ranking upgraded. The FAA concluded that additional adjustments have to be made to regulations concerning pilot training. As a result, once the Serbian Aviation Directorate makes the necessary alterations, which it is believed to have done so during this month, it must schedule a visit by FAA inspectors. The new evaluation is expected to take place either in late May or June. It takes up to a month for the FAA to formally upgrade a country once it compiles its findings.

Latest FAA country rating, as of April 9

The FAA's foreign assessment program focuses on a country's ability, not the individual air carrier, to adhere to international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance established by the United Nation's technical agency for aviation, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Last month, the FAA evaluated Serbia in eight different areas. They included primary aviation legislation, specific operating regulation, state civil aviation system and safety oversight functions, technical personnel qualification and training, technical guidance, certification obligations, surveillance obligations and resolution of safety issues. The last time Serbia was linked to the US was in 2004 when Uzbekistan Airways operated flights from Belgrade to New York.

63 comments:

  1. Sint Maarten is CAT 2?!

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    1. It means they can maintain existing service from/to US but not launch new.

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  2. Croatia becomes category 1 some 5 years ago. One day, I hope, Serbia will also be on level to become part of category 1 countries. Best wishes on that path!

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    1. Nice way to disguise your cynicism. Unfortunately for you, that "one day" is mere months away.

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    2. The same sentence was written in January!

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    3. And how is July not months away from January? Would you propose it's rather years?

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  3. Replies
    1. Of course it is not politics! It is about standards that FAA have.

      By that standard Serbia is not category 1 country.

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    2. yeah, not politics... why on earth USA would be any different then EU, Africa or wherever JU is currently flying?!

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    3. Well it is. And for sure USA is not same as Africa. But if it is about politics than some of the countries would not have cat 1, and just 9 countries, including Serbia have cat 2.

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  4. OT: Wizz Air announces new destinations from Tuzla tomorrow on a press conference :)

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    1. Great news for Tuzla. It is kind of strange how Tuzla's success has been a bit ignored here, after all they are estimating to reach 100,000 pax this year - a respectable number for small airport in region like this

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    2. I agree with you, for an airport which barely existed, let alone had any traffic, this is enormous success. it should be recognised.

      Well done TZL.

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  5. Probability of US service launch this summer season is now very low. Even with positive outcome in June and willing foreign carrier from further East with planes available to make a stop at BEG, timing for late summer service launch is a bit off. Outlook for summer of 2015 long haul however looks much better now.

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  6. I do not see why so many people are obsessed with this Category 1 thing. It's not like we have a bunch of A330s sitting around waiting for JU to be granted the permit in order to launch flights.
    So far Air Serbia is flying packed aircraft to London with connecting passengers who are continuing their journey to the United States with Virgin Atlantic. In addition to that, JU sells tickets to north America via its own website. That's more than we need at this point. Who cares if we are in category 1 or category 2. People give too much credit to the north American market. Not to mention that the market Air Serbia would be after is low-yielding and scattered all around the U.S.
    Air Serbia is too busy building its own network. They have more pressing matters to deal with than the US' categorization of countries.

    And for those who are constantly mentioning that Croatia has been in category 1 for many years, I still fail to see what it has brought to you.

    Talking of Croatia, there are OU commercials on the radio. They are advertising their flights to Split for €110. Not that cheap if you ask me.

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    1. Now that you mention the VS interline - do you happen to know what's going on with the prices? Couple of weeks ago they said that their new lowest rate to JFK/EWR is 420 euro, but now you can't find anything below of 76,000 RSD, regardless of date...

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    2. Those were just their promotional fares, they were not the regular ones... unfortunately.
      A friend of mine booked his ticket to LA for €580!

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    3. That's what I thought at first, but they explicitly stated that these are in fact not promotional, but regular prices, albeit there is limited availability of those seats on each flight... However, it's turning out that that was not the case.

      Because 76K RSD is a lot, esp. having in mind that they were selling them for 59K before the "promotion".

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    4. I understand, it must have been a mistake of the marketing guys who made the commercial. I guess you tried to book a later day as well?

      Interesting thing is that they also offer some other north American cities like Atlanta and Boston now.

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  7. @ Nemjee: OU flights to Split at 110 € return are cheaper than JU flights. How can somebody say that 110 € for return flight is expensive? OU is national carrier that provides full service and from Belgrade to Split you will fly with new state-of-art aircraft, not with 20+ years old noisy ATR.

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    1. Well, they were advertising this as a promotional fare which seems a bit pricey. Even Air Serbia has their promotional fare to Split for less than €100, I think it was €87 during the last Happy Friday sale.

      Also, I would not characterize the Dash-8 as state of the art. Plus, haven't you heard? Air Serbia will be flying its B737 into Split this summer. Having flown on both JU B737 and the Q400 I have to say that it's not bad for the 50 minute flight. Unfortunately Split doesn't seem to warrant anything bigger than a Q400 or better than the old B737-300. :)

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    2. Let me present my apologies, Air Serbia will fly its state of the art A319 to Split once a week.

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    3. State of that art Q400 to the next gen Split facilities. LOL Go back to your delusional land and continue flying your bankrupt airline. Maybe update those already failed predictions? :-D

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    4. How do you call OU a full service airline when they offer you only a glass of water for drinks (water is the only beverage btw) and some dry biscuits? Ive flown OU and have to say even the old JAT was providing a much better inflight catering.

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  8. OU Q400 is, if nothing else, newer than Etihad's, pardon, Air Serbia's "state of the art A319" collected from the junkyard.

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    1. Still, that's not what the guy wrote. ;) Plus, the metal collected at the junkyard you are referring to is incomparably faster and more comfortable than the Q400. Every one knows that.

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    2. And the time difference to SPU on the B733/A319 compared to the Q400 would be maybe 5 mins? your point?

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  9. Banja Luka airport statistics:

    February 2014: 1.352 passengers (+202%)
    March 2014: 1.566 passengers (+292%)

    Let's see what April brings.

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    1. This is great news! Air Serbia's flights have really brought the airport back to life. Not to mention that we no longer have to go to Tuzla or Zagreb to travel. Really makes it easier.

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    2. Great results!!! Just bought LHR-BNX via BEG return. Connection from London not so good, but returning excellent, 2 hours, thanks to the evening flight to London on Sundays. Loving it.

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    3. Do you mind telling us how much you paid for it? :)

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    4. I paid £ 245 which is pretty good considering that it is all included. I have never flown to BL cheaper than that. The same days for ZAG was around £200. I would spend more than £ 50 if someone came to pick me up from ZAG or if I used a coach, so I am very happy with it. I do not mind to pay little bit extra when it's hassle free.

      May I also add, I was pretty happy with JA from Zurich, however gets very pricey buying tickets separately from London to Zurich, then from Zurich to Banja Luka, therefore I went for cheaper this time. As I said I have no complaints about JA.

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    5. It will bring another 1500 pax!!! WOW!!! Since you rejected Wizz Air under direct dictate from Belgrade and potential 100000 pax a year this is marvelous!!! But I guess you would have to actually work in this case. Enjoy your success, you could have been Tuzla instead of Tuzla...

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    6. Yeah too bad BEG will never be Tuzla.

      I have a dream that maybe one day BEG could be the largest airport in ex-yu. (Yes, I know it is not possible for BEG to overtake a large hub like Tuzla).

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    7. He was talking about Banja Luka

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    8. Yeah the only way Tuzla could keep these flights was by basically paying for W6 to fly there. We all remember what happened when someone tried to launch commercial flights from Sharjah... there were like 2 passengers on board. lol

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    9. Anonymous at 07.49

      Hahahahhahahahahah yeah because 100.000 passengers in Tuzla is such an impressive number. In terms of passenger numbers its as unimportant as the BL numbers.

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    10. U Air Serbiu mi vjerujemo!April 23, 2014 at 2:11 AM

      It is amassing how unreal your nationalism is:
      Banja Luka 1.000 pax per month is „very good number“
      but Tuzla 10.000 pax per month is nothing important.

      Tuzla must pay for Wizzair flights
      but money you pay for little plane on short route to Beograd is not same (it is not, you pay much more)

      Congratulation for stupidity!

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    11. You do realize that it was you who started mocking Banja Luka? No one mentioned Tuzla at all nor did anyone make fun of it until you and your bitter existence came along. I think you have some serious issues. I guess you still can't deal with the fact that Air Serbia did not become a mere feeder for Air Berlin or Etihad as some other are for some Germanic giants.

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  10. LF approximately 38%. Still ways to go but I'm sure it's going to be better during summer months

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    1. Well, there is also B&H with its four weekly flights to Zurich so it's not all Air Serbia, unfortunately.

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    2. And charters too...

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    3. There were barely any charters so they don't really count.

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  11. First, FAA officials visited Serbia some 2 months ago. Therefore, I doubt that another visit will happen in course of this year, as they will definitely not "jump when Belgrade blinks the eye".

    Second, even if they came sooner, by some miracle, I just wonder what and how is "the Directorate" going to do in couple of months, which it was unwilling or incompetent to do during previous 10 years.

    Third, if Serbia gets cat1 in matter of months, or the next year, the best possible result of the new categorization are EY flights AUH-BEG-the USA vv, but I doubt even that would happen, JU will most likely going to feed and code-share only to AB and AZ.

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    1. I do not see that happening, the AZ and AB deal. They tried to have people transit onto AB flights and it simply did not work.
      Serbs head to north America via Amsterdam, Paris and London.
      Alitalia is popular for north Africa and Iberia but not for anything else.

      By the way, did someone notice that Air Serbia offers a great deal of flights via Air France now? Especially onto their domestic routes.

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    2. "By the way, did someone notice that Air Serbia offers a great deal of flights via Air France now?" Great deal?!?, they offer BGD-BCN for €620, with Swiss the same dates ticket is €170.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. A great deal of flights as in a lot of them, not cheap flights. There is a difference.

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  12. @ Anonymous April 22, 2014 at 5:23 PM
    FAA inspectors started their inspection on March 24, not even a month ago, so check your facts first. The amount of regulatory changes made since 2004 is so immense that chances were something was missed. If the only issue is pilot training, we are in a very good shape. Because this is a follow up inspection, not a full blown inspection from scratch, I don't see why FAA's team from its Frankfurt office couldn't pay a quick visit to BEG to wrap things up.

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  13. Very nice
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGIGk_LcuHU

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    1. Excellent !!! Well done for coming up with an idea to give out some chocolate bunnies :)

      And now thinking of it, I don't know why airlines don't do this sort of things more often.
      It can't cost them that much to do it now and again, and its a great marketing trick.

      Bravo for Croatia Airlines for this move

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    2. Hmm I never realized how ugly OU uniforms are...

      By the way, talking of Easter, Air Serbia was handing out red eggs to its passengers. Did other ex-YU airlines do anything special like OU and JU?

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  14. Ako Srbija dobije Cat 1 ja se nadam da ce Etihad dati Air Srbiji 2-3 Boeing 787-9 posto imaju 41 porudzbinu.
    A najbolje bi bilo kad bi dali 2-3 Boeing 777-300ER,
    Sta vi mislite koje widebody Avione ce dobiti.

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    1. Bez 5 A380 ništa.

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    2. Ja sam ozbiljno pito i sigurno im nece dati A330 nego ce dobiti 2 ili 3 787-9

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    3. Anything is possible, but I personally doubt that Air Serbia is going to get 787s.

      In my opinion, if Air Serbia gets any widebody aircraft, it will probably be the A330-200. Ethiad has theirs in 262 seat config, so it is a good size for JU, plus it is easy for pilots to go from A320 to A330.

      Maybe in a few years...

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    4. 2-3 A332 and a later order for A330 NEO if Airbus launches it this year or potentially A350-900 considering that A350-800 will most likely get canceled.

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    5. i am amazed to read all this ongoing speculation around Air Serbia getting widebody aircraft and flying long haul at all. Not one single ex-yu carrier can sustain year round long haul operations, for the simple fact that nowadays, to fly any long haul route profitably, you need high load factors in Biz cls, as this drives the cabin mix. None of the ex-yu countries are financial centres and have minimal front end demand, as they are all primarily leisure or VFR destinations .... Long haul flying, unfortunately, is a very high cost proposition .. Nice idea, but aviation nowadays, is a completely different proposition to the old days of JAT flying intercontinental routes ...

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    6. We wouldn't be speculating if Higan himself didn't pitch the idea.
      Also, the BEG-JFK/ORD wouldn't be based on O&D demand. The entire point of JU's biz model is to chanell pax from the entire Balkans into BEG and then fly it somewhere else. This is how it's supposed to work.

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    7. And you need to get your act straight on short haul first. Is there a day when the majority of JU flights actually leave on time? This seems to be a huge issue, even on the 'flagship' route to Abu Dhabi...

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  15. Ja sam skroz zaboravio A350-900.
    Zbog isplativosti opet kazem najbolje bi bilo 2-3 Boeing 787-9 ili 2-3 Airbus 350-900.

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  16. OT, but worth looking (shows LX business class service)
    http://www.world-of-swiss.com/en/swiss-cabin-crew

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  17. You lose your focus for just a day or two and haters/trolls come back to this blog like crazy! Man, it's like in those zombie movies, just when you thought it's safe to walk alone at night they start jumping out of nowhere!

    Now I am wondering if FAA actually kept Cat 2 because of endless bickering between trolls and haters on this site!


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