|Air Serbia sees record April and boosts ties with Etihad Regional|
Air Serbia has seen its passenger numbers climb in April as the airline was given a boost by the Easter holidays and the lead-in to the May Day break. During its sixth consecutive month of growth, the Serbian national carrier handled 172.954 passengers, a massive increase of 90.4% compared to last year’s 90.844 travellers. During the month, the airline launched flights to Sofia and Budapest and significantly increased frequencies across its network as the 2014 summer season kicked off. In April, Air Serbia maintained a share of 47% of all passengers who passed through Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, up 11% on 2013.
During April the airline recorded an average cabin load factor of 68%. Flights which saw the highest cabin occupancy rate were from Paris, Zurich and Amsterdam to Belgrade. Overall, during the first four months of the year, Air Serbia has managed to handle over half a million passengers. The airline welcomed 541.343 travellers on board its aircraft, an increase of 73.2%, making it the busiest carrier in the former Yugoslavia. According to Belgrade Airport, Air Serbia’s biggest competition in the first quarter, from its hub, were Wizz Air with 91.715 passengers, Lufthansa with 52.526 and Montenegro Airlines with 42.007 travellers.
Meanwhile, the CEO of Etihad Regional, Maurizio Merlo says the two airlines are exploring opportunities to strengthen their cooperation. Regional launched flights from Geneva to the Serbian capital earlier this month with a five hour layover in Belgrade prior to its return to Switzerland. Mr. Merlo says Etihad Regional and Air Serbia are discussing the possibility to utilise the 50-seat aircraft on regional flights from Belgrade before its return to Geneva. Previously, it has been rumoured the turboprop could be used on new flights between Belgrade and the Albanian capital Tirana. The two airlines recently agreed for Etihad Regional’s passenger call centre to be relocated to Belgrade and run by Air Serbia.