Air France - KLM, one of Europe's largest airline groups, has ruled out the resumption of flights to Belgrade in the foreseeable future as it continues to boost frequencies and capacity in Slovenia and Croatia and seeks new development opportunities in the region. The group sees strong potential in the former Yugoslav market and notes "it is here to stay". "Air France - KLM strongly believes in the potential of ex-Yugoslav countries. This was demonstrated in 2014 with the opening of the first KLM flight from Amsterdam to Zagreb, which was the only route launched in central and south-eastern Europe that year", the group told EX-YU Aviation News. It added, "2014 was also a year of milestones for Air France when we celebrated our 10th anniversary in Slovenia, which shows we are here to stay and that we have a real desire to serve the region to our best. We also launched a codeshare agreement with Croatia Airlines to Paris and Amsterdam. This agreement paves the way for new development opportunities".
Commenting on its existing operations to Zagreb and Ljubljana, the group's spokesperson, Ullie Gendrot, says, "Thanks to the four daily flights (two to Paris and two to Amsterdam), we offer Croatian passengers excellent connections to our 231 destinations worldwide. Moreover, Air France has increased its capacity as of the summer schedule. The route is now operated with an Airbus A318 aircraft offering 126 seats. In Slovenia, Air France has recently signed a connecting codeshare agreement with Adria Airways, which will allow us to offer even more possibilities to Slovenian passengers to Paris. KLM also signed a codeshare agreement with Adria last January on the Ljubliana - Amsterdam route". According to Ms Gendrot, the group sees a mixed passenger structure on its flights from the Croatian and Slovenian capitals, with 40% being point to point travellers and the remaining 60% transfer passengers.
Despite its growth in Croatia and Slovenia, the Air France - KLM group has a limited presence elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia. The French carrier suspended its daily flights to Belgrade in the summer of 2013 as part of its cost cutting measures. However, it has no plans to return to Serbia in the near future. "We continue to seek new opportunities for both airlines", the group says. It adds, "Air France did stop its flights to Serbia, but has signed a codeshare agreement with Air Serbia in 2014 and now offers two daily flights from Belgrade to Paris. In Montenegro, Air France also signed a codeshare agreement in 2014 with Montenegro Airlines for flights to Paris". Meanwhile, KLM, which also codeshares on Air Serbia's service between Amsterdam and Belgrade has no intentions to launch the route, noting, "There are no plans to change the codeshare at this moment".