|Serbia and China ink Agreement for the Establishment of Air Traffic|
Serbia and China have signed an Agreement for the Establishment of Air Traffic between the two countries. The document was signed by Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, and the head of the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration, Li Jiaxiang, during last week’s third annual summit of Chinese and Central and Eastern European leaders in Belgrade. The agreement foresees the establishment of joint codeshare flights between Beijing, Shanghai and Belgrade by nominated carriers from each country. Talks between the two sides are set to continue early next year in Beijing, when concrete decisions on potential flights are set to be made.
The Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, said during the summit that his government is committed to the establishment and smooth functioning of future flights. Premier Li noted that 2015 has been designated as a tourism year between China and Central and Eastern European countries, which is why the world’s most populous nation will work on strengthening air connectivity, as well as improving cooperation in infrastructure development, with a special focus on airports. Commenting on the signed aviation agreement, the Serbian Minister for Energy and Mining, and the country’s former Minister for Transport, Aleksandar Antić, said, “If Prague can be an aviation hub in central Europe offering flights to Asia, then Belgrade can do the same in the western Balkans”.
Air Serbia’s CEO, Dane Kondić, has previously said, “We are in the middle of concluding a codeshare partnership with Air China. We want to, they want to, and it is only a matter of finalising the details. We don't have wide-body aircraft in our fleet, so we are looking for an opportunity to work and partner up with a Chinese carrier”. The CEO of Serbia’s national airline confirmed that he will attend talks in China during the first quarter of 2015. Initial discussion of a possible air link between China and Serbia began in late 2013, which was followed by direct talks between both sides in Beijing in May 2014. In August, the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate signed a Memorandum of Understanding with its Chinese counterpart following talks which were attended by both Air Serbia and Air China.