Friday, November 28, 2014

Serbia and US reach initial air agreement

Serbia and the US a step closer to new air agreement

Serbia and the United States have reached an initial agreement to regulate air traffic between the two countries, marking an important step in Air Serbia’s ambitions to fly to the States in 2015. The Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate and the US Federal Aviation Administration have reached a principle agreement on all disputed provisions in order to modify their 1977 Bilateral Air Service Agreement. The new agreement will cover the basic framework under which airlines are granted economic bilateral rights to fly between the two countries. Yugoslavia and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 1989 which deals with frequencies, designated airlines of the two signing countries, origin and intermediate points, traffic rights, type of aircraft and tax issues. While Serbia has inherited the provisions of the Memorandum since the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, it too will have to be updated in order for flights between the two countries to resume.

The Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate has said it will sign a final version of the new Bilateral Air Service Agreement in the coming weeks, after which it will have to be adopted by the legislative bodies of the two countries. In a statement made earlier this week, Air Serbia’s spokesman, Arsen Rudan, said, “When it comes to our long haul flights, we are currently undertaking a feasibility study and we have, on numerous occasions, said that we hope to launch these services by the end of 2015”. Earlier this year, Serbia was upgraded from a category two to a category one status by the Federal Aviation Administration, allowing airlines registered in Serbia to operate flights to the US. However, the upgrade does not grant the national carrier or any other airline from Serbia rights to operate services to the United States by default. After the Bilateral Air Service Agreement is ratified, Air Serbia will have to apply for a license in order to launch flights. The two countries attempted to renegotiate the terms of their bilateral air agreement in 2004, without success.

Late last month, Air Serbia’s Chairman, Siniša Mali, reiterated the carrier’s plans to launch long haul flights next year, highlighting New York and Toronto as its first transatlantic routes. Commenting on the future flights, Mr. Mali said, “These services will not only improve relations between our countries and offer our diaspora better links to their homeland, they will also improve economic, cultural and sporting ties. At the same time, those in neighbouring countries will have an opportunity to transfer through Belgrade onwards to the United States”. The carrier’s Chairman believes the flights will be launched in late 2015, after all necessary permits are granted. Etihad Airways CEO and Air Serbia’s Vice-Chairman, James Hogan, has previously said Chicago is likely to become the airline’s first destination in the States.

The last time a Serbian-based carrier intended to operate flights to the United States was in January 2005 when Jat Airways applied for a permit, using a wet-leased and foreign registered aircraft in order to avoid bureaucratic issues. In its application with US authorities, Jat said, “JAT plans scheduled service to begin on May 1, 2005. Between May 1, 2005 and September 30, 2005, JAT will offer three roundtrip BEG-JFK flights per week, on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday, using wet-leased B767-200 aircraft configured to provide 204 economy class seats and 12 business class seats. The flights will depart BEG at 11:30 a.m., arriving JFK at 3:30 p.m., then departing JFK at 6:00 p.m., arriving BEG at 9:00 a.m. the following morning (all times are local). Between October 1, 2005 and April 30, 2006, only two roundtrips per week will be offered, on Friday and Sunday”. Furthermore, it requested for rights to fly to Chicago with the same amount of frequencies and similar timings. The application received support from United Airlines, however, it requested for the United States Department of Transport to limit the permit to 180 days. In the end, Jat Airways failed to secure a wet-lease arrangement and the flights never materialised.

79 comments:

  1. Interesting timing for those Jat flights. Doubt it will be the same this time around. I guess their planes will have to arrive in BEG at around 5am and probably leave BEG at 12.30 or 1pm?

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  2. I'll never forgive UA for trying to make life harder for JU like that.

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  3. I guess it will all depend on if majority of people will connect after arriving in BEG, or be locals.
    But it's still too far to tell..

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  4. I don't get this airline and their obsession with north American flights. For the love of God, you want to lease a couple of A330s and launch intercontinental flights when you can't even lease two, three additional A319 to replace your archaic Boeing fleet. Not only that but the airline doesn't even have online check-in or its own frequent flyer programme. How can they seriously consider flying to the US before sorting out all the problems at home.

    I know the story why they don't have online check-in but most passengers in Greece, Turkey, Israel, Bulgaria, Romania... don't care. All they care about is what the airline offers, not about their excuses.

    I hope they get their fleet and frequencies in order before such a serious step.

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    1. I'm afraid I disagree with the "obsession" - it is all about profit.
      However, an airline without an online check-in!?! That's a problem. And another one - there is no way to register and claim miles acquired on Air Serbia flights for Etihad miles program online! You have to keep your boarding passes and then write an email to Etihad! THAT is ridiculous!

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    2. Well, I used the term obsession because they keep on mentioning them all the time. Every ten days there is some mention of their United States flights.
      I just think there are far more pressing matters than transatlantic flights, especially those to New York where the yields are trash, unless you have a lot of premium passengers which is something JU doesn't have.

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    3. So they should simply disregard the time race with regional competitor and put any expansion aside until they get rid of all 733s and fully implement the online check in?

      And after that we will say they should not even think of going transatlantic until they sort out the issue of IFE, FF program and the quality of omelette they serve on board.

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    4. Who ticked you off on this lovely Friday morning?

      Dude of wisdom, there is a thing called financial sense. You see, the same reason LH retained their A343s and A346s and old 744s (because the costs of ownership are zero), is likely the very reason JU has retained 4 of their 733s. Not only are these aircraft giving them back-up for the mainline ops (no lease costs), they afford them the flexibility to offer high-density charters in peak times, especially since there is still life left in them. They may not be the prettiest birds in the sky, but hey, flew one of them a few weeks back, not too shabby...

      I'm sure the guys running ASL would love to get nice and shiny birds across the fleet, but there is a thing called financial and cost control. An A319 sets them back at least EUR 200K just in dry-lease costs alone, per aircraft... also, from what I read on here, some of the A319s have been sent for major checks to Abu Dhabi over the slower winter months, and that's exactly the way it should be, nice and ready for summer.

      Regarding online check-in, I'm sure its coming, they're on Sabre already so its just a matter of time, Rome wasn't built in a day...

      FF wise - what's wrong with Etihad Guest? It's parent company's solution and works well for JU? Why waste money on buying a new system, branding etc... when you have a good alternative at your disposal?

      Finally - on your first point, obsession with US, gotta give you some credit here, long-haul for a developing airline such as ASL - at this point in time, is an overkill IMHO... they need a far wider regional network before taking this step - heck much larger airlines burned badly on long-haul ops and with a greater hub feed. Sure there is O&D during the holiday peaks, but what about the rest of the year. I'm not saying that intercontinental flights are a bad idea, but I will stick with my opinion that they are jumping the gun here...

      Astalavista!

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    5. Personally I don't have a problem with the B733s,I like them. However, Air Serbia has worked hard to portray itself as a very good and classy airline. Flying on the high-density Boeing birds to destinations such as Stockholm, Moscow or Tel Aviv does not only ruin that image but it also leaves the passengers with a very bad after-taste. How many times did YU-AOU fly to London? I remember about five times. That aircraft was a disaster with a very bad a/c system which left both the crew and the passengers feeling sick after spending two hours in it.
      I know the Boeing birds have great economics but then Air Serbia should not have announced their retirement last year. Remember the lawsuit the Swede filed after the disastrous experience in business class from ARN to BEG? They can't be consistent product-wise while the old ladies are still flying for them, at least not on the European routes.

      I just wish Air Serbia was a bit more realistic in this regard. They are building an image which is not realistic, at least not yet.

      By the way, only YU-API went for a C check to Abu Dhabi. No other bird went since and for the time being there are no plans to send more of them down there or to introduce new ones into the fleet. I am just hoping that at some point they will introduce new aircraft into the fleet.

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    6. People from Bulgaria etc do not care for online check in. Just decent price....

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    7. Yes but the lack of online check-in is a major inconvenience this day in age. Bulgarians who care about the price (as well as the really price sensitive passengers) will fly directly on Wizz Air or Bulgaria Air.

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    8. Thanks to lowcost airlines and their passengers, online check-in has become a must because masses started using them. There is no justification to as why an airline doesn't have it in 2014.

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    9. The lack of aircraft is a real issue. They decided at last minute against a 3rd A320 that they would badly need now. Any update on YU-APG's fate?

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    10. @Anon at 10:57

      Yields to New York are trash not because of JU - they don't fly there yet. Yields are trash because existing operators have a problem - LH has overcapacity on transatlantic and Austrian still thinks they need to fly there.

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    11. You missed the point of my comment. Yields are trash to New York for most of the carriers there due to fierce competition. Next year alone Delta will be flying 11 times per week between JFk and ATH which is bad for JU given that Greece is one of its main markets.

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    12. Za JFK ja mislim da ASL nema sanse treba da lete za ORD-LAX ali A330 to nemoze nazalost-
      INN-NS

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    13. If other companies are responding to trash yields by keeping or even increasing capacity, you can't blame only ASL for trying to join the party and essentially do the same as others. Once I see transatlantic cuts at LH, LX, OS and LO we can talk about it.

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    14. All the airlines you mentined are considerably larger than JU so we can't really compare them. Just look at tge size of LO or OS.

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    15. It's not about the size ;) Remember how even larger airlines disappeared over time? LOT needs financial support and we'll see what will happen with their recovery.

      As for OS, they were smaller than JAT when JAT was number 10 in Europe (and VIE was similar in size to BEG). They have this illusion of being a large airline. Despite changes being made at OS, future is not bright for them. In 5 years, my bet is on Air Serbia flying to North America, but Austrian will likely not fly there under the same name. OS just refuses to see the writing on the wall - they were one of the last EU airlines to fly to Australia when all the others realized Emirates & Co are taking over kangaroo routes.

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    16. My best is that OS will survive for much longer in North America than LOT will. Though I am sure Air Serbia will eventually launch north American flights, it won't be in the next five years. For the time being they need to expand their fleet so as to cover the region with double daily flights...among other things.

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  5. To je totalna laž. INN tvrdi da će to da se desi već u martu. Šta zna Mali i Hogan. INN je pravi lider Er Srbije.

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    1. Pa i hoce.Pitajte slobodno nekoga sto radi u ASL ako znate.
      INN-NS

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    2. Pitao sam. Uključujući i neke od top 5 direktora. Nitko nema veze o čem ti pričaš.

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    3. To ste verovatno pitali direktore CTN a ne ASL posti cak i ljudi koji rade na uslugi aviona znaju za to ;)
      INN-NS

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    4. Bogami ne znaju. Ja radim u Air Serbiji i nitko nema ni najmanje ideje kada bi došli long haul, a svakako to neće biti mart.

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    5. @ INN

      to sto neko tu radi ne znaci da znaju sve detalje. I da znaju, za sirenje poverljive informacije se da otkaz. Dok firma ne zvanicno objavljuje informacije o novim destinacijama, te detalje se smatra poverljivim.

      Znam ja neke ljude u JU za koju nisu znali da se ZAG otvara ali eto.

      Lepo ti je ovo vise puta receno, dakle sto teras inat?

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    6. Nema veze ne cu vise o tome pricati ali ce te videti kad se to bude desilo.
      INN-NS

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  6. Zar nismo dobili info iz pouzdanih izvora da su prve dve linije za Aziju? ;)

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    1. Surprise surprise, that's what the competition expects the least...

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  7. Ex-Yu, any official update on the Zagreb-ASL issue?

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  8. What's up with Tel Aviv today? It has a rather strange schedule.

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  9. Maybe BEG should also introduce free wifi! I was there a few days ago and I couldn't find a decent connection! Horrible.

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    1. They have some, Telenor, MTS and at some areas Telekom Srbija (the only that doesn't require login) ... But I agree they should work on that. In the old part, where gates are still like in 80's there is no signal...

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    2. Indeed, i was departing from A1 and there was no signal.

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    3. A1 is covered with signal, AP's are around Serbian House. You can use Telenor for 15 minutes or Telekom for 30 minutes for free.

      If you have Telenor or Telekom mobile phones then it is unlimited, you will just receive SMS with pin.

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    4. I agree with the wifi thing in BEG. Its horrible. I am with mt:s and have internet in my phone thank god.

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  10. SAS and Etihad to start codeshares

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  11. Did anyone notice that Alitalia started sending much bigger aircraft to Belgrade as of lately?

    Surprising given it's a dead season.

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    1. Yes, it's mostly the A320 these days. My guess is that their cooperation with JU is finally paying off, the same as with Aegean which now sends the A319 in stead of the Q400.

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  12. New Etihad livery on an A321:

    http://cdn-www.airliners.net/aviation-photos/photos/4/0/4/2546404.jpg

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  13. Qatar will replace ESB with SOF on its route DOH-BEG. Let's see if they get the rights between Sofia and Belgrade. It will be interesting since Air Serbia already flies the route.

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    1. Where you got that info from? Will it be a triangle route or both ways? OTP will go direct?

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    2. I guess it'll be triangle based on the days of the week, just as Baku and Tbilisi. 4 times p/w DOH-GYD-TBS-DOH and 3 times p/w DOH-TBS-GYD-DOH. A guy (Aerologic) recently posted a trip report about it. Just in this case you can replace GYD with BEG and TBS with SOF.

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  14. no, it's not a triangle. it will be DOH-SOF-BEG-SOF-DOH.
    there's a source: http://www.aviokarta.net/vesti/2822-qatar-airways-iz-beograda-do-dohe-preko-sofije/

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    1. Thank you. So they'll go face to face with Air Serbia albeit for a different market.

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    2. I guess Bucharest is going direct.

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    3. And GDS shows that ZAG is moving to 5 weekly non stops to DOH and without BUD tag completely. So, from daily to 5 weekly, but all non stops. Good development for ZAG I would say, overall more capacity and consistent product.

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  15. I think ASL should get some new planes (maybe 3-4 ATRs and 4-5 A319s) and launch flights to MAD, LED, DUB, CAI, BCN, OSL, HEL, PRN before starting with long haul flights. Their network is still not so widespread so they could successfully go to the US, Canada, China... I mean, much bigger carriers fell on those flights, ASL is still not ready for that. I heard they are facing with fleet shortage now, and that is not good at all. They will maybe be able to start flights to PRN, but what then? I also heard that they are planing to replace Split, Pula and Dubrovnik from seasonal to year-round flights, but they don't have enough planes for that. If they don't get more ATRs, A319s or A320s, they won't be able to launch flights to more destinations. I hope they will do something with their fleet in 2015. If management is sure that flights to the US and Canada will be profitable, and successful, then they maybe could launch those flights in 2015, but as for me I would move those plans to 2016-2017.

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    1. It is not only about being profitable, it is about doing it before the competition, that can ingest even less losses tha JU/EY, namely Aegean.

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    2. Aegean won't start long haul before 2016.

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    3. Even if they don't it doesn't matter because by then they will have a wider network and more frequencies to key markets.

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    4. Well ASL can't stop them, but it can expand it's network and lease more planes so they could start flights to MAD, LED, DUB, CAI, BCN, OSL, HEL, PRN, TBS, GYD, IKA, LYS, MLA, MRS, TLS, KBP, AMM... And then they could start flights to USA, before that I don't think it would make any sense. Also, they need to expand BEG, they can't do much there with current capacity. So many things should be done before flights to the US... But they probably want to start those flights in 2015 so Aegean can't start them before ASL and then ASL would be in problem.

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    5. You forget HAMburg!

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    6. Shame on me....Should add Malaga, Manchester and Lisbon as well!!

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    7. CSA will releasing from its fleet I believe 6 A320's...and around the same age of the JU A319 fleet. I wonder if JU would be interested in them as im sure they were well looked after in CSA.

      JU is in desperate need for ATR's. I wonder how long will it be before they take on more.

      Btw, it has been talked long ago on opening MUC, Spain (MAD and/or BCN) as well as something along the lines of GYD or TBS.

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    8. JATBEGMEL
      CSA A320 imaju CFMI CFM56-5B4/P a ASL A320 imaju IAE V2527-A5 engines
      Neverujem da ih zbog toga uzeti ali sve je moguce .
      INN-NS

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    9. Neverujem da ce ih zbog toga uzeti ali sve je moguce i ako bi ja vise voleo da imaju A320 sa CFM56 motorima
      INN-NS

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  16. Any update on YU-APG's fate?

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  17. Sorry for the OT but I thought some might be interested here;

    Aegean Airlines handled 7.9 million passengers in 2014's first nine months, representing a 14% year-on-year increase. Domestic numbers rose 16% during the period, while the international figure increased 12%.

    "We have managed to deliver improved commercial and financial results, driven by synergies from Olympic Air integration, network optimisation targeting improved connectivity, as well as higher tourist flows," says managing director Dimitris Gerogiannis. "Our expansion strategy has yielded positive results in a period of intensifying competition and despite traffic weakness demonstrated from the Russian market."
    Aegean plans to take delivery of seven new Airbus A320s over the coming two years.

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    1. Aegean has expanded rather aggressively all throughout the Greek islands. If I am not mistaken they had 4 (older) A320s based in Heraklion last summer.
      They have already started recruiting for new crew in Rhodes, Heraklion and Athens. Next year will be even more epic for them especially as they will launch additional flights from Larnaca.

      I am really happy for them as they are a fantastic airline and Athens is a great hub.

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    2. Thumbs up for Aegean.

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    3. Naah they wouldn't gain much... or anything. Aegean already has good brand awareness in Cyprus so it would be easier to just base a few aircraft in Larnaca. A few years ago they used to have a mini-base there with flights to Heraklion, Rhodes, Athens, Thessaloniki,London and Paris.
      Due to the economic crisis they closed the base leaving just the Greek destinations. They do park two to three Airbuses in Larnaca during the winter season.

      Aegean is currently applying for a Cypriot AOC which would enable them to launch highly lucrative routes such as LCA-BEY/TLV. CY is as good as dead, sad but true.

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    4. Stupid phone, the above comment was mine.

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  18. Ko da je to neki propust sto asl nema online check in. Dodjes na aerodrom, cekiras se, letis. Ne prevozi asl ne znam koji procenat poslovnih putnika. Biznis klasa im uglavnom zvrji prazna.

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    1. Online check in ne koriste samo poslovni ljudi vec gotovo svi jer je lakse i prakticnije. Inace i za samu avio kompaniju je bolje kada ga ima jer bolje vidi stanje na letu i lakse je opsluzivanje aviona.

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  19. There are problems with the Atrs once again. Morning flight to Banja Luka was once again delayed, scheduled time 06.50, new info at 09.30. Horrible and irresponsible.Thank God the flight is short so it will be back before the noon wave of departures.

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    1. "Horrible and irresponsible" - problems with aircraft are happening every day across the world. Just because problems with ATR emerged does not mean that Air Serbia is "horrible and irresponsible".

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    2. Actually it does because it shows a clear failure of their organisational skills. Like you said it, this happens all the time to all airlines but some, unlike Air Serbia, actually take adequate measures in order to fight it thus reducing delays and negative consequences.

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    3. Actually not true. Ive seen in quite a few large airlines excessive delays due to fleet issues. I had a flight with slide raft issues on 2 doors that delayed the flight 8 hours before a replacement ac was sent in, where pax had embarked, asked to disembark, given permission half an hour later to disembark, sent to business class lounge, asked to go back to the gate after 2 hours, only to be sent back again to the lounge for a further 4 hours. This was with an airline with no fleet shortage.

      Your comment is nothing but typical primitive Serbian trash talk filled with negativity.

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    4. It's nit trash talk because the Atrs are breaking down on an almost daily basis. That's because they don't have enough and are using them without leaving a spare one.

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    5. There is not supposed to be a spare aircraft sitting around collecting dust. Things do happen outside the control of the company. The issue here should be whether the pax were well looked after during their delay. That is something in the control of the company, which they dont seem to do very well.

      Not having enough ATR's is a different story. That falls under the limitation of opening more regional routes or upgrading frequencies due to a lack of aircraft.

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    6. I never implied that they should have an Atr sitting around waiting for another one to break down. What I meant by a spare aircraft is that they should have planned their routes with one Atr having less rotations than what's the standard. Like that it could jump in when there is chaos, as is the case with the A319s and the B733s. What JU does is that it uses all of its Atr fleet to the maximum which leads to some of them breaking down more than usual, especially the older ones.

      The Atr in question today was YU-ALP which is 25 years old. There were quite a lot of problems with it during the summer when it used to make up to four daily rotations. Operating older aircraft comes with its own challenges.

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    7. Well, Air Serbia will add some ATRs and A319s to it's fleet in 2015, so those problems will be resolved.

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    8. The only thing I can agree on is the age of the ATR72's. I agree that they come with its challenges and limitations. Replacing them will be the best solution.

      However, having an aircraft doing less flights isnt the efficient way to use the aircraft again. It could be that the 'spare' ac is being used for a flight while another ATR goes tech. Your stuck in the same situation.

      The most important thing is what the airline does to accomodate pax until they board their flight. Having a member of the team informing pax of the situation is a start, providing refreshments with at least some water, coffee and tea would be a nice touch, and an inexpensive one as well. A bottle of water isnt expensive, neither is a jar of coffee and a packet of tea bags. Tech issues may be out of their control, but customer care has become their focus - so as they say, and thats in their control. This is where JU fails on constantly.

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    9. Yes but at the same time an aircraft which has many cycles and which is regularly breaking down should fly less. Then again, this is out of question since they have an obvious fleet shortage so... we go back to management incompetence.

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  20. As usual, yes, it was horrible from ASL side:

    Flight JU100 BEG-BNX was delayed due to meteo reason (fog at a/p BNX)

    Why they did not make anything to solve this problem? Delaying the flight due to fog - not acceptable at all.

    you stupid troll, do you know anything else except to spit over ASL?

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    1. Hahahahah yeah, right. Stop defending your little precious AS.

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    2. Hey honey bunny, was there nasty weather in Budapest this morning because Air Serbia's flight was delayed. Guess what aircraft type was scheduled to operate the route.

      Hint: YU-ALT.

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