|Air Serbia to launch ticket sales for first long haul service next week|
The Serbian Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, has said Air Serbia will launch ticket sales for its Belgrade - New York service at the upcoming Belgrade Tourism Fair, which runs from Thursday through to Sunday next week. "The Belgrade Tourism Fair begins in a few days. We will start New York ticket sales then, while flights will begin in June. This service is a matter of prestige", the Prime Minister said yesterday. The United States Department of Transportation has granted Air Serbia rights to operate flights to the United States with its own aircraft and crew. Following a recent regulatory and safety evaluation by US authorities in Serbia, the Department is expected to issue a final notice on the carrier's permit request in the coming days.
Last December, the Chairman of the Air Serbia Supervisory Board, Siniša Mali, confirmed that ticket sales would begin in February. "During February we will launch a promotional campaign and reveal our fares [to New York]. 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", he said at the time. The newly appointed Ambassador of the United States to Serbia, Kyle Randolph Scott, noted yesterday that the introduction of flights to New York is an important milestone in relations between the two countries. He added that he is aware of the recent checks conducted by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in Belgrade, whose positive assessment is a prerequisite for permit approval.
Air Serbia will lease a Jet Airways Airbus A330-200 aircraft for its first transatlantic service. The jet will have the capacity to seat 256 passengers and will feature eighteen seats in business class, while the remaining 238 will be in economy, according to officials who inspected the plane in Abu Dhabi recently. Last week, Jet Airways' Chief Financial Officer, Amit Agarwal, told analysts in a post-earnings conference call that the Indian carrier is likely to lease A330 jets to its Serbian counterpart. The Serbian PM noted late last year that Air Serbia will most likely take delivery of a second wide-body aircraft by the end of 2016, adding that, "flights to New York are just the beginning". "I can't reveal much, but I expect that we will get a second wide-body aircraft by the end of next year. Therefore, we will have two. So we have one for backup", Mr Vučić said at the time.