|Swiss turns Geneva - Belgrade service into seasonal flights|
Swiss International Air Lines has confirmed it will resume services between Geneva and Belgrade in 2016 following the route’s suspension on October 24, 2015. In April, the carrier announced it would suspend the flights after just two years of operation. However, the airline now says the service will become seasonal, with flights to resume in April 2016. “We are planning to resume this route during the summer timetable in 2016 (from April to October 2016). The flights will be on sale and bookable on swiss.com around the beginning of October 2015”, Swiss’ spokeswoman, Karin Muller, tells EX-YU Aviation News. She adds, “In the meantime, Swiss continues to offer daily services from Zurich to Belgrade with good connection for passengers from/to Geneva”.
The two weekly flights between Geneva and Belgrade were launched in December 2013, but faced significant competition, with both Etihad Regional and easyJet introducing the service in 2014. Etihad Regional was the first to give up on the route in October that same year, while easyJet continues to maintain flights between the two cities. Meanwhile, Etihad Regional placed its “F7” designator code and flight number onto Air Serbia’s service between Belgrade and Zurich. In return, Air Serbia added its “JU” code onto Etihad Regional’s flights from Geneva and Lugano.
Swiss International Air Lines will maintain its presence in Belgrade with a total of nine weekly flights from Zurich currently scheduled to operate during the 2015/16 winter season. During the first quarter of this year, Swiss reduced its number of operations to the Serbian capital by 17%. Ms Muller notes, “Swiss closely monitors market behaviour. It acts on it and is not influenced by a specific competitor. Serbia is an important market for Swiss as there is a lot of ethnic traffic on the route to Belgrade, both from Serbians living in Switzerland and visiting their relatives in Serbia and vice versa”. According to Belgrade Airport, Zurich was Air Serbia’s busiest route during the first quarter, with the airline handling 34.929 passengers between the two cities, up 23.2% compared to the same period last year,
This summer, Swiss expanded its operations throughout the former Yugoslavia with new flights from Zurich to Ljubljana, Zagreb and Sarajevo. Furthermore, it introduced services from Geneva to Skopje and Sarajevo and seasonal flights from Zurich to Podgorica, which are operated through its subsidiary Edelweiss Air.