|Air Serbia mulls long haul expansion|
The Chairman of the Air Serbia Supervisory Board, Siniša Mali, says the carrier is considering lease options for a second wide-body aircraft in order to expand its long haul network. The Serbian airline is set to launch five weekly flights from Belgrade to New York with an Airbus A330-200 next June. Mr Mali notes that a second aircraft would serve as a replacement, in case of technical issues with the initial A330, and would allow the airline to expand its operations in North America. "We are considering a second wide-body aircraft, since one will not be sufficient enough. What if one has technical problems? Acquiring a second aircraft would open the door for us to fly not only to New York, but also to Chicago, Canada and some other destinations in North America", Mr Mali says.
Commenting on Air Serbia's New York plans, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board reveals the airline is currently in talks with John F. Kennedy Airport. "We are currently negotiating with one of the busiest airports in the world - JFK in New York - to determine which terminal will be used by Air Serbia. It will be either terminal 4 or 8, but we are pushing for Terminal 8 since it is newer", Mr Mali explains. Terminal 4 serves as a major international hub for Delta Air Lines and most Asian and Middle Eastern carriers, including Air Serbia's part-owner Etihad Airways. On the other hand, Terminal 8 is served by American Airlines and its fellow Oneworld alliance members. As EX-YU Aviation News learns, Air Serbia is planing on negotiating with one major US carrier over codeshare agreements within the States.
Ticket sales for the Belgrade - New York service are expected to begin in February 2016. "During February we will launch a promotional campaign and reveal our fares. Tickets will be affordable and very competitive. Air Serbia does not aim to be the cheapest airline in the region, we will leave that to budget airlines such as Wizz Air. Our fares will align to our on board service quality but they will be competitive compared to our competition", Mr Mali says. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board explains that it is no longer a matter of whether the flag carrier has enough money or is stable enough to launch operations to the United States, noting instead that Air Serbia has a clear business plan. "Launching services to New York will be a big achievement for our country", Mr Mali concludes.