|Air Serbia undergoing FAA certification prior to permit approval|
The United States Department of Transportation (DoT) has granted Air Serbia rights to operate flights to the United States with its own aircraft and crew yesterday evening but will decide on the airline's permit request after it completes the FAA 129 certification process it is currently undertaking. Furthermore, the DoT has granted the Serbian carrier rights to codeshare on Air Berlin flights from Germany to the United States. Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News, Caitlin Harvey, from the Department, explains, "Today we granted Air Serbia’s amended exemption request to conduct own-metal US services. We concurrently granted Air Berlin’s request for codeshare authority to display Air Serbia’s code on certain Air Berlin Germany - US services. So, Air Serbia now has economic authority to operate both via its own metal and via codeshare. Before beginning any own metal services, it must complete the FAA 129 certification process".
On November 17, the DoT limited Air Serbia's operations to the United States exclusively to codeshare and wet-lease flights, preventing it from operating services with its own aircraft. However, this obstacle has now been overcome. "On November 17, we granted Air Serbia’s exemption request to serve the United States, but limited the authority to its codeshare arrangement with Air Berlin. These operations involved the display of the Air Serbia code on Air Berlin metal", Ms Harvey says. "Soon after we took the above action, Air Serbia began its FAA 129 certification process and requested the amendment of its exemption to remove the codeshare/wet-lease restriction so that it may serve the United States with its own metal. In addition, it requested that we take action on its pending permit request". The Serbian carrier intends to launch five weekly flights from Belgrade to New York's JFK Airport from June next year with an Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
Air Serbia has stated that it initially intends to maintain services to the United States by placing its “JU” designator code on flights operated by Air Berlin from Dusseldorf to New York and from Berlin to New York, Chicago and Miami, which it has been cleared to do. Furthermore, the carrier has said that, once it launches its own five weekly services, passengers will be able to use these codeshare flights the other two days of the week. Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, previously said, “The launch of the Belgrade - New York non-stop service is a fantastic example of the positive impact of the Air Serbia strategic plan, which is progressing well and continues to be on-track to meet and surpass its targets".