Air Serbia is readying for the arrival of its first wide-body Airbus A330-200 aircraft, with the jet to undergo final preparations early next month before joining the fleet in June. The airline's Chairman, Siniša Mali, told the "TangoSix" portal, "It will take some two to three weeks to fit-out the interiors and we hope that all work will be completed by the first week of June". Mr Mali noted that from then on, until the aircraft's maiden flight to New York on June 23, the jet will be used for cabin crew training purposes, also known as crew familiarisation. "We will have training flights to the United States and several other cities. We plan to fly the A330 to Niš Constantine the Great Airport too, so the public from that part of Serbia can see our new aircraft".
According to Air Serbia's Chairman, the first few weeks in June will also be used to promote both the new service to New York and the aircraft itself. Furthermore, Belgrade Airport will also have the opportunity to get accustomed to handling the wide-body jet in the weeks leading up to the inaugural flight. The A330 in question will be on lease from India's Jet Airways and is currently based in Abu Dhabi, operating on Etihad Airways' behalf. The 254-seat aircraft will feature eighteen seats in business class and the remaining 236 in economy. Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, recently said, "The biggest single expense of flying long haul is the cost of fuel and given where fuel is today, if you were ever going to launch long haul flying now is the time to do it. First mover advantage will give us enormous benefit and we are all very excited and the planning continues to a successful launch on June 23".
|Air Serbia A330 cabin layout (click to enlarge)|
Mr Mali noted that Air Serbia no longer enjoys subsidies and has been paying its hub airport for all provided services since the start of the year, in line with the government's transaction agreement with Etihad Airways over its part-ownership of the Serbian carrier. However, according to the Chairman, the airline will continue being more aggressive on the market than its competitors. "Our strategy is to start flying double daily to a number of cities, to get new regional planes, either turboprops or jet-engine aircraft, in order to cover points in the region. That is our strategy. We are more aggressive than the rest, we invested in excellent service, we have relatively competitive fares, we have installed Wi-Fi on board our aircraft and we will start flying to New York", Mr Mali concluded.[post_ads]