|Belgrade is St. Petersburg's top unserved European destination|
Air Serbia has announced plans to launch flights between Belgrade and St. Petersburg from June 18. Subject to government approval, the non-stop service will operate each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with an Airbus A319 aircraft. As a result, St. Petersburg will become Air Serbia's second destination in Russia, following Moscow. In a statement to EX-YU Aviation News, Margarita Potekhina, St. Petersburg Airport's Press Secretary, said, "The announced launch of Air Serbia flights is a long-awaited event for Pulkovo St. Petersburg Airport. In 2015, Belgrade was the top unserved destination in Europe for Pulkovo, with no direct air service between St. Petersburg and the Serbian capital. Over the past five years, indirect traffic between the two cities grew by 263%, and in 2015 amounted to over 20.000 passengers".
Commenting on the new route, Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, said, “The introduction of flights to St. Petersburg, one of the most fascinating cities in Russia, will establish an exciting new air bridge between our countries and build on our existing flights to the capital of Moscow. The new service represents a weekly capacity of 768 seats and will enable us to capture the significant demand for point-to-point travel between Belgrade and St. Petersburg, enhance the flow of trade and strengthen the long-held and friendly bilateral relations between Serbia and Russia". Currently, the Serbian carrier offers codeshare flights to St. Petersburg via the Russian capital, which are operated by Aeroflot. Furthermore, it codeshares on Aeroflot flights from Moscow to Kazan, Krasnodar, Samara and Sochi.
Air Serbia's CEO also noted, “Close to 42.000 Russian tourists visited Serbia in 2015 and total two-way trade between our states during the year was valued at nearly $2.5 billion. This service is a great opportunity to strengthen these tourism and commercial ties. Our flights have also been carefully scheduled to offer business and leisure guests from Russia seamless connectivity over our Belgrade hub to key destinations in the Balkans and Southern Europe, where we have an extensive network of flights”. Air Serbia is the second national carrier in the former Yugoslavia to announce services to Russia's second largest city, with Croatia Airlines also to launch flights to St Petersburg from Zagreb twice per week starting June 2.
St. Petersburg becomes Air Serbia's fifth new destination this summer, with the carrier to launch services to Hamburg, Ohrid, Kiev and New York as well. Furthermore, the airline has announced plans to strengthen its regional network by upgrading its Dubrovnik service to daily and operating an additional fifth weekly service to Pula. In addition, Air Serbia will substantially increase its flight to Tivat by operating two more weekly services, up to a maximum of thirty return flights a week. This development will bring an additional 1.048 seats to and from Belgrade each week. The 2016 summer season begins next Sunday. EX-YU Aviation News will bring you all the changes the national carriers in the former Yugoslavia will be making to their network's this summer over the coming week.
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