|easyJet suspends three weekly Rome - Belgrade flights|
Low cost airline easyJet will cancel its three weekly flights from Rome to Belgrade this winter season due to poor ticket sales. The suspension comes only a few months after the route was initially launched, on March 31. easyJet faces stiff opposition on the route, competing against Alitalia and Air Serbia, both of which have a codeshare partnership agreement in place on each others’ flights. In a statement, easyJet said it is continually evaluating the market while focusing on profitability and efficiency. The budget airline will continue serving Belgrade this winter with two weekly flights from Geneva and three weekly services from Milan.
easyJet is not the first low cost airline to suspend flights between Rome and Belgrade. In 2012, Wizz Air cancelled the same route citing high seasonality. Wizz originally intended to operate the flights on a seasonal basis but ultimately suspended the service altogether. easyJet will operate its final flight between Rome and the Serbian capital on October 25. The news will be welcomed by Alitalia and Air Serbia, both of which run double daily flights between the two cities. The two carriers are now both part of Etihad Airways’ equity alliance, after the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates purchased a 49% stake in Alitalia earlier this month, subject to regulatory approval.
Alitalia has been most successful out of the trio on the Rome - Belgrade route. During the first six months of 2014, the Italian airline more than doubled its operations to Belgrade compared to the same period last year. With two equity alliance partners now holding a duopoly on the route, it remains to be seen how passengers will be affected by easyJet’s departure. The low cost airline has a respectable presence in the EX-YU region with flights to Belgrade, Ljubljana, Pristina and Zagreb. Services to the Croatian capital will be suspended this winter, however, the airline continues to operate flights to the country’s coast during the summer season.