Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Serbia to finalise US flight deal by year’s end

Government confident in 2016 start for Belgrade - US flights

Serbia and the United States are expected to finalise all necessary procedures by the end of the year in order for nonstop transatlantic flights to be launched from Belgrade in 2016, the Serbian Minister for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, said yesterday. The Serbian government approved a draft copy of a Bilateral Air Service Agreement with the States last Thursday. “We will sign the agreement in April. I have been authorised by the government to do so. Then we have to go through certain procedures and I expect for us to have an agreement for flights to the US by the end of the year, in particular to New York. We will discuss other destinations as well with Air Serbia”, Ms. Mihajlović said at a press conference.

Air Serbia has made it no secret that it intends to launch flights to the United States sometime over the next year. Although the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) upgraded Serbia to a category one status last year, allowing airlines registered in the country to operate flights to the US, the FAA's foreign assessment program focuses on a country's ability, not the individual air carrier, to adhere to international standards. The US Department of Transport (DoT) makes a final decision whether to issue permits to airlines on a case-by-case basis. In October 2013, Delta Air Lines appealed to the DoT to reject a codeshare agreement between Air Serbia (then Jat Airways) and Etihad Airways on flights from Abu Dhabi to the US. At the time it said the two carriers had not been candid with the Department concerning Etihad’s ownership interest and effective control of Jat. It later filed a separate docket against the approval of codeshare flights between Air Berlin and Air Serbia on services from Germany to New York and Chicago. Etihad responded to these allegations by saying, “No US carrier, let alone Delta, directly serves the US-Serbia market, and no US carrier (save for Delta) opposed these applications. It is essential to note that even though US carrier interest in these applications may be limited, the interests of Serbia and Abu Dhabi are not”. Ultimately, the DoT rejected Etihad’s and Air Serbia’s codeshare from Abu Dhabi and did not rule on the Air Berlin - Air Serbia application.

Despite previous difficulties, the Serbian government is confident its national carrier is within reach of launching transatlantic flights. “What is important is that we have the opportunity to even consider flights [to the United States] because we have passed a significant number of inspections and checks together with the Directorate of Civil Aviation and I am very pleased that we have done so with high marks”, Ms. Mihajlović said. She concluded, “Now we have to undergo this second and final part and I expect that we will know by the end of the year when flights will commence. We will also make a decision on flight scheduling”.

72 comments:

  1. Ahhh nothing nicer than nice, clear, crisp and sunny spring morning and a 747 landing overhead... good morning Belgrade :-)

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    1. I saw it too. It had a very low approach path.

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    2. Transporting weapons in another secret deal with the Arabs.

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    3. And you are the Defense Minister's mistress to know such details?

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    4. No secret deal. Zastava has been contracted by the US to supply weapons to Afghanistan, hence the cargo flights to KBL. Zastava have many contracts including with Iraq, US, even in the EU to Bulgaria, Belgium etc. A quick google search would give more info.

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    5. Read the latest edition of NIN if the great one hasn't removed it from circulation. The front page is entitled "Aerodrom srce tajnih ugovora". Some things might be clearer then.

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    6. Last time i checked the airport doesnt produce weapons nor is it a base for any B747 a/c. I havnt read the latest NIN but Im sure the article is about things like Wizz Air, Air Serbia, the criminal owner of the airport casino etc.

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  2. AB is likely to start 6 x weekly service DUS-BEG-DUS from May 1st (AB8284, evening flight) as it can be seen on seasonal timetable on beg.aero

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    1. Would be nicer if there was someone out of the Equity alliance. We haven't seen those kinds of routes for ages.

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    2. you should put for new routes AB DUS-BEG starting May 5th

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    3. There is very poor chance for these flights to be commenced on May,5th.

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    4. Air Berlin's decision to launch the route is not final. You can read more about it here
      http://www.exyuaviation.com/p/air-berlin-says-it-has-still-not-made.html

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  3. Replies
    1. Kao sto sam vec rekao letovi krecu u skorije vreme i nadam se da ce ASL imati odlican uspeh sa njima.
      INN-NS

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    2. Ne pocinju uskoro nego tek sledece godine

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    3. Kipar, Albanija, Bugarska, Rumunija, Madjarska, Malta, Hrvatska, Slovenija, Estonija, Letonija, Litva, Ceska, Luksemburg, imaju ili potpisane bilateralne medjudrzavne ugovore sa SAD-om o vazdusnom saobracaju, ili zajednicki ugovor u okviru EU-a, pa nijedna od kompanija ovih drzava nema letove za SAD. A poistovecivati potpis ugovora o vazdusnom saobracaju izmedju dve drzave sa otpocinjanjem redovnog vazdusnog saobracaja, pogotovo u momentu zaostravanja odnosa MEB3 i SAD-a, i ne bas blistavih ekonomskih i politickih veza izmedju Srbije i SAD-a moze samo politicar, ili manipulator, da ne kazem bot, ili osoba ogranicenih kapaciteta

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    4. Luksenburg ima liniju za USAtako da gresite.
      U skorije vreme bi trebale posade krenuti na obuku a letovi krecu kad je G. Mali rekao.
      Jeste ja sam Vucicev i Dodikov bot svaki put kad pise kako ASL krece sa letovioma za USA a verujte krenuce.
      INN-NS

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    5. INN, you said flights start this June or was it July, now Serbian Government is saying this will open a possibility of transatlantic flights sometimes in 2016, not that any of these flights will ever materialize.

      INN, you'r PR department needs to catch up fast.





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    6. @INN

      LUX is not connected to any intercontinental routes, regarding regular pax service. Also the crew is not going anytime soon for A330 training, neither to the US embassy to apply for the US visa. Any more misinformation you want to repeat?

      @ anonymous

      Latvia has twice weekly flights by HY to JFK. PRG is served seasonally by DL and TS. BUD is served seasonally by TS. ZAG, BUD, SKG and ATH will have GW, and SOF should soon see 1B opening flights to N. America soon with their B767 and A330 a/c they already have in their fleet. Albania, Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic may still have valid agreements with the US as there was flights between these 2 nations in the past decade.

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    7. "i ne bas blistavih ekonomskih i politickih veza izmedju Srbije i SAD-a"

      Izvini prijatelju da li si ti iz Srbije? Da li svestan da imamo marionetsku vladu koja ima punu podrsku SAD? Ne secam se da je ni jedna vlada u skorijoj istoriji dobijala takve pohvale iz SAD. Zbog cega mislis da je Vucic jos uvek na vlasti? Radi apsolutno sve sto mu se kaze, a posebne dobija poene kada potpisuje sporazume oko Kosova.

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    8. JATBEGMEL
      CV leti iz LUX za 8 razlicitih Destinacija u USA.
      Ja ako napisem u skorije vreme ne mislim za mesec ici nego 6-7-8-9-10 meseci ici na obuku .
      I preporucijo bi vam da procitate sta je izjavio G .Mali posto tad krecu letovi.
      I slobodno se raspitaajte.
      INN-NS

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    9. @3.08 PM

      Naravno da nije iz Srbije.

      To je isti onaj Hrvat koji stalno piše komentare na ekavici, pritom se nekad zaboravi i zadrži neku hrvatsku reč tipa kao sad Litva.

      To je isti onaj sa onim njegovim projekcijama ludim.

      I isti onaj koji je izvalio da Er Srbija ne može da računa na transfer putnike iz Zagreba, i da će verovatnije Beograđani da putuju iz Zagreba, kad dođe do tih letova.. Nemoj da se nerviraš..

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    10. @ INN

      CV is a cargo airline. It does not transport pax. I said LUX has no pax service to N America. Reread the comment.

      Youve been writing daily for the past year that soon we will have flights to the US, and for a few months its been soon crew will go for training. Just like soon Serbia too will have German standards and wages with EU membership and unicorns, gum drop forests and chocolate filled rivers. Just like you said we will see flights to China which thank god you dont write any more. Stop trolling.

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    11. JATBBEGMEL, just ignore him, its not worth it.

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    12. Ja jesam pisao ali nisam ja kriv sto se to nije desilo.
      A sto skrecete sa teme pa posada ce ici za nekoliko meseci na obuku ali necu da pisem kad tacno ali opet vam savetujem da procitate izjavu od G Malog .
      Raspitajte se slobodno. I vi bas volite da se raspravljate samnom.
      INN-NS

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    13. JATBEGMEL 2:48

      You haven't read my post well. I didn't say that there are no flights from Latvia, PRG and BUD to the US, I said that national airline companies, or other companies from those countries don't have US flights. And if flights from Serbia to the US start, they'd probably be operated by EY or some US airline, not JU, but in current MEB3-USA situation, I doubt there would be such flights at all, not to mention profitability, or better say huge losses of such JU venture, considering all circumstances (weak frequency=long transit times, poor LF's, visas, seasonality, low-yielding, you name it...)

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    14. I think the A330 capacity is not going to come from EY rather from one of the partner airlines, and I have a feeling it will be from Jet Airways. Jet do have excess widebody capacity and EY is short on aircraft and crew. As well, EY have all the freedoms ex BEG due to the open skies agreement between Serbia and the UAE. There wouldnt be all this drama for JU to obtain rights for the US if in the end it would be operated by EY etc.

      The visa issue shouldnt be much problem as I would say the demand will be more from the US side where our diaspora do have US passports. I have not applied yet for a US visa but intend to, from what I hear it isnt too difficult to obtain either.

      Low yielding and seasonality is something I fear for the routes success and I see it on the 'signature' route to AUH. Im interested in how many J seats would be on offer. Jat intended to have 18 seats in J class on its B762.

      More important would be what cargo will be transported and how strong is trade between Serbia and the US. Will O&D cargo be enough or will cargo transit to other destinations such as SOF, OTP, SJJ, TGD, TIV, TIA, SKP etc.

      One interesting thing would be how it will be timed to get the most out of connecting pax. Going by the timings Jat had in 2006 for its B762 I made a quick analysis.

      SOF, BNX, SJJ, TGD, TIV, TIA, SKP, ATH, SKG, OTP connect to:

      BEG 17:00 JFK 21:00

      JFK 22:30 BEG 13:10+1
      connects to: TIV, BNX, TGD, SJJ

      It will be interesting to see how JU will pull this off.

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    15. Sto se tice kargo tereta bolje da ASL nabavi 10 kamiona i skuplja robu po regionu .
      Posto i sam EY uzima Avione od 9W i ja mislim da ce biti od njih nadam se da nece samo od AB.
      INN-NS

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    16. "Jeste ja sam Vucicev i Dodikov bot
      INN-NS"

      Smejem se do suza! Uspeo je da nadmasi svoju izjavu o pocetku letova za Kinu u martu ili aprilu!

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    17. "Sto se tice kargo tereta bolje da ASL nabavi 10 kamiona i skuplja robu po regionu" HAHA, INN-NS posts are getting better each day :)

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    18. Pa jos jedan dokaz da ljudi se ovde ne razumeju a pogotovu ovi Anonymousi ja sam video Korean Air Kargo prikolicu u Innsbrucku i Lufthansa Kargo prikolicu u Novom Sadu. I to skoro sve Aviokompanije rade.
      INN-NS

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    19. Vecina Aviokompanija ima ugovore sa Firmama kao npr Milsped koji skupljaju Teret po Nekim zemljama.
      INN-NS

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    20. A posto sam bot sad cu se svojim presednicima zaliti da me ovde ljudi isnevaju.
      INN-NS

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    21. INN-NS --> INN-SNS hahaha

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    22. I INN-SNSD ste zaboravili bolje vam je naucite kako Kargo kompanije posluju nego sto me nazivate botom.
      INN-NS

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    23. INN-NS is now a cargo expert :)

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  4. So let's say flights do start in April 2015, they should already put ticket on sale in September. They can't do the same thing like they did with Zagreb and announce the route a month in advance. People in the US, especially the diaspora preplans their trip a year ahead and buys ticketsa year before they actually travel.

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    1. You meant April 2016?

      Well who says they won't..

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    2. Yes April 2016, sorry

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    3. You are talking total nonsense, that is not true. In USA they usually do not buy airtickets more than 2 months in advance.

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    4. Correct, overseas diaspora purchases tickets frequently 3-9 months in advance. If not in September, Air Serbia should have tickets available by November at the latest.

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    5. I am sure the team in Air Serbia know what they are doing. Theyve done a fantastic job so far with more changes yet to come. We will definitely hear of the announcement as I am sure a big marketing campaign would need to be brought in to advertise Air Serbia to the US market. Swift Air managed to fill a B767 with poor (no) marketing and with a crappy website from an airport almost 2 hours from Chicago. Lets see what is installed in 6 months time.

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    6. Just as an aside - normal cutoff for advance ticket purchases is 330 days.

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  5. Izgleda da ce, ipak, BEG ici pod koncesiju.

    "Važno je da se informišemo o dobrim primerima koncesije, kao što je Lisabonski aerodrom, s obzirom na to da sličan model planiramo da primenimo i na Beogradski aerodrom. Oni ovaj model primenjuju od 2012. godine, a aerodrom je imao stopu rasta među najvećima u Evropi", rekao je Mali.

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    1. Just had a look at few airports of similar size to Belgrade and none of them actually needs a new terminal.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trondheim_Airport,_V%C3%A6rnes
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valencia_Airport
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liverpool_John_Lennon_Airport
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bologna_Guglielmo_Marconi_Airport
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_Airport

      In fact Airports above handle way more pax than belgrade and can handle extra cappacity just fine. Why go in to concession when airport can finance its own expansion, according to plans they want to add additional 6000sqm to T1 and upper level of entire airport building increasing it from 32600 to 39000sqm, this would not only increase the internal space of the airport building but also the capacity. C gates can be extended from C6 to C12,

      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/Belgrade-airport.jpg

      This would increase the capacity dramatically to 14 million, and increase terminal size to 48000sqm, and total of 22 passenger boarding bridges. all can be done for $40 million and in less than 3 years. Why concession, what for, I see no logic there.

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    2. Airside is not as chronic as is arrivals. Arrivals could do with an extra baggage belt, the sorting facility needs to be automised, passport control could be expanded and the waiting hall in arrivals needs to be tripled in space (minimum). With the airport posting profits, there shouldnt be a problem for the airport to take out a small loan to fund these small projects to speed things up. I mean, its taken 3 years to renovate 10 gates and the Terminal 2 renovating almost a decade!

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    3. @JATBEGMELMarch 31, 2015 at 4:05 PM

      I guess they plan to expand upwards adding one floor so they can move all the facilitates from the ground floor to the top floor leaving ground floor for baggage sorting, passports and other essentials ?

      I just saw some plans for expansion and concluded they want all new terminal and 2nd runway, I see no need for 2nd runway or new terminal current terminal is more than enough for needs of current traffic Trondheim Airport handled 4 million pax in an terminal that is barely 20 000sqm and Zagreb airport is set to handle 2.8 million this year in an terminal that is barley 16000sqm, I think internal re-organisation is what is needed, problem is in Serbia everything takes decades to agree on and complete.

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    4. They can horizontally split T1 to add another level similar to how T2 was horizontally split, but they can't add another level on top of T1 unless they completely replace T1 roof, which is a significant rework. Did you notice T1 roof is not level?

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    5. @ anonymous

      The additional floor is supposed to be for arriving pax. It will be a hallway which will lead to either escalators and/or elevators which bring pax to ground floor for passport control and baggage claim as far as I am aware. I think the business class lounge should be on this new floor which would then free up the space for fast food outlets. Business class lounge could be put above the A1/C1 gates giving users a nice view of the runway and apron. A fair bit of space is wasted and as you say, reorganisation is something that will take decades, sadly.

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    6. Sasha, did you see actual plans or is it your imagination? Air Serbia business lounge will not be above A1/C1 as you said so this looks like your wish list.

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    7. Re-read the post again. I said 'could', as in it would be a good idea, as in just my suggestion.

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  6. Zorana Mihajlovic was the only one to make this announcement few days ago so I was looking for other sources to confirm it to no avail.

    Assuming agreement will get signed as announced, there's still a challenge of obtaining DoT approval as Exyu article points out. Last time ALPA and Delta opposed codeshare and it took months to reach the outcome. Their previous arguments ring hollow this time (you can find them online) and circumstances have now changed. For example, Alitalia is now also 49% owned by Etihad but they are not effectively controlled by them. Alitalia continues to fly to the US and it partners with Delta, both members of SkyTeam alliance.

    Despite this new mise-en-scene there could still be some unexpected delays, requests or obstacles along the path. I am wary of the 'stick' part in this whole 'carrot and the stick' process but hopeful outcome will be positive and timely.

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    1. wow, you should not be even postinganything.Please read your post and ask your self what am I talking about? do not make a fool. Zorana is the one that should be talking about it as she is the minister of transportation. Good job in working hard to have all that done in timely manner.

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    2. She will sign it, but it's not effective as of today and I didn't see any official statements from the US side nor bilateral posted on state.gov site. Keep in mind that agreement has been reached in principle back in November and it has not been signed until April, so a good 5 month delay just to agree on a technicalities like whether Kosovo is a territory under Serbia's scope as defined in the agreement. I can imagine how much work can be done in 5 months to kudos to both sides for getting this done, but it was a significant delay nonetheless.

      No need to deny the fact US flights have been quietly pushed back from late 2015 to spring or summer 2016. DoT approval needs to be obtained and that can take a while, plus other paperwork that needs to be completed, so the risk of another delay is still out there.

      She also mentioned flights to New York as a first destination. I really don't know ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ why they insist on it? Is it some kind of prestige to go there first?

      New York would have more feed when ASL BEG-PRN flights commence, but for now Toronto and Chicago make more sense to be ahead of JFK.

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  7. Air Cairo, Nesma Airlines, Corendon, and Freebird airlines denied charter flights to BEG Only TK got 3 weekly to Antalya, as well as Tunis Air with 3 weekly to Monastir. I guess ASL wants to have a monopoly even on charter flights

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    1. Air Aleksandristan.

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    2. Can they service the entire charter market with less than 4 737s available at any time?

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  8. Air Serbia currently does not charge for seat selection, meal or first checked baggage for any of the special, saver, value or freedom fares. Groundwork seems to be in place for a new offering that will include some or all of those features to be chargeable on top of bare "economy minus" fare. How long before we see it being offered by Air Serbia?

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    1. For meal and seat selection I really dont mind if they start charging, but why would you want someone to charge for first checked bag? From my understanding it would benefit few business and youth travellers, but at the same time it would be detrimental for majority of other pax. I am curious to whether LH or any other full carrier has that option? Wouldn't that turn ASL into low cost carrier then?

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    2. Aren't legacy carriers supposed to have all services included in the price? :)

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    3. Other have it too, for example Swiss Geneva Economy Light fare does not include baggage, same for LOT Economy Simple, some North American legacy carriers etc. Entry price point is lower and can attract LCC customers.

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    4. I always wanted to get someone from the industry to give me the idea how much is actual meal per passenger and does it really make such a difference to have it/not have it as a part of product or is it just potential for greed that lies behind "no frills" nationional carriers...

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    5. but then people who have bags will be ripped off hard by ASL and the gang. I would still prefer to have option to either travel with PURE low cost or full service carrier not something like hybrid low cost Adria thing.

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    6. Ripped off hard by ASL and the gang?!? WTF try flying Delta or other legacies anywhere in the USA, first baggage is NOT included in Economy. And Economy has fifty shades of gray, from basic where you don't get to choose the seat (meaning you will very likely get a middle seat of the three), non-refundable, no changes allowed, no meal. Or go to a better bundle where you will get more flexibility, more miles, seat selection etc all the way to business class offer with 2 free bags etc. It is from bare LCC seat to full biz class service all in the same plane, you get to choose how much you want to pay. This is the future.

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    7. "you get to choose how much you want to pay. This is the future". Eventually this will mean that you pay more for even the most basic service. Air fares in Europe ( even on full service carriers) are still relatively cheap, but with the introduction of pay for everything it will get more expensive.How don't you see that carriers would find ways to rip off people with even the basic option. I am sure you want carriers to introduce fares based on weight also. It would be a wise idea to also pay for using the bathroom in the plane.
      Also, has Adria gotten any cheaper since the hybrid crap? CARRIERS WILL TAKE AWAY BAGS, DRINKS, etc and we will still pay the SAME price without those!! Is that so fuc*en hard to understand.

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  9. Will TAP Portugal come back to Belgrade this summer?

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  10. "you get to choose how much you want to pay. This is the future". Eventually this will mean that you pay more for even the most basic service. Air fares in Europe ( even on full service carriers) are still relatively cheap, but with the introduction of pay for everything it will get more expensive.How don't you see that carriers would find ways to rip off people with even the basic option. I am sure you want carriers to introduce fares based on weight also. It would be a wise idea to also pay for using the bathroom in the plane.
    Also, has Adria gotten any cheaper since the hybrid crap? CARRIERS WILL TAKE AWAY BAGS, DRINKS, etc and we will still pay the SAME price without those!! Is that so fuc*en hard to understand.

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  11. ASL to make order for five A350-900XWB.
    To be delivered along with the A320neo
    Also there will be eight Sukhoi Superjet 100-95 as a replacement for aging AT7s

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