|Air Serbia to use "infrastructure of other airlines" for New York service|
Etihad Airways and Alitalia will both provide support to Air Serbia for its planned flights to New York next year, the President and CEO of the Emirati carrier, James Hogan, has said. Furthermore, Air Serbia plans utilise an aircraft from a partner airline for its upcoming transatlantic service. "They’ve [Air Serbia] just announced that they’re going to operate from June from Belgrade to New York. They could not have even introduced that because they’re taking an aircraft from the family. They have to introduce a whole fleet management group. Alitalia is doing the pilot training. We’ll do the cabin-service training. So they’re able to operate a virtual service using the infrastructure of the other airlines. Structurally, we continue to work on how we get economies of scales collectively", Mr Hogan said. Previously, he noted, "Another advantage is that we have so many Serbians at Etihad, we will be able to bring Serbians back into Air Serbia that have long haul experience, because you have to have experience within your cabin crew ratio".
Air Serbia is considering lease options for the A330-200 with Etihad Airways Partner airlines, with Jet Airways the likely source of the jet. Mr Hogan underlined the importance the partnership is having on the Serbian carrier. "As a group we operate 700 aircraft. That means you can take Air Serbia with ten A320s that we’re able to get the price of A320s at our price, which they would never have gotten as a standalone airline. Air Serbia is profitable and doing well". Mr Hogan noted that while 2016 will be a strong year for Etihad itself, its growth in Europe will be minimal. "In our five-year plan, our growth is mainly in China and Africa. China, within our network group, is very important. The market's opening and people are travelling", he said.
Air Serbia, which is undergoing the Federal Aviation Administration's 129 certification process in order to commence services to the United States, has again reiterated its commitment to launch transatlantic flights. The airline's CEO, Dane Kandić, told the December issue of the "Elevate" magazine, "In June, and subject to regulatory approval, we are going to launch a flight that people in the region have been waiting for since 1992. We are going to reconnect Belgrade and New York". He added, "Our plan is to operate five weekly flights to New York on a modern Airbus A330 aircraft. On the other two days, we will offer codeshare connections with our close partner Air Berlin. The service will make travel incredibly more convenient between the United States and the region, and it will also underline how much we are growing".