Monday, June 20, 2016

Air Serbia gears up for New York launch


Air Serbia is preparing for its inaugural service between Belgrade and New York in three days time, with the United States Department of Transportation (DoT) recently clearing the Serbian carrier to use Etihad Airways' jets on the route, if required, and for the Emirati airline to codeshare on the service. The American regulator has given a statement of authorisation that allows Etihad to wet-lease Air Serbia an appropriate widebody aircraft on an as-needed basis for a period of one year. The Emirati carrier states it would wet-lease an Airbus A330 or A340 to Air Serbia if the need arises. In support of the wet-lease arrangement, the government of the United Arab Emirates has indicated that it will grant US carriers reciprocal authority to operate to the UAE pursuant to a fifth, sixth or seventh freedom wet-lease with a third party. Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, has previously said that Etihad is prepared to dispatch an A340-500 in case of a technical issue with the Serbian carrier's sole A330-200, which will operate five weekly return flights between Belgrade and New York.


Etihad has also been granted approval to codeshare on Air Serbia's flights to the Big Apple for an indefinite period of time. The carrier will only be marketing the Abu Dhabi - New York services and will not sell tickets on the local US - Serbia market. Initially, Air Serbia will carry the "EY" designator code on flights between Belgrade and New York, but has also been granted blanket Open Skies codesharing authority, allowing Etihad to place its flight numbers on any new destination the Serbian carrier may launch to the United States sometime in the future.


Air Serbia's A330 tour of the region, which has taken place over the past two weeks with revenue flights to Podgorica, Banja Luka, Zagreb and Skopje, will come to an end tomorrow morning. The aircraft will then be prepared for its first transatlantic service on Air Serbia's behalf on Thursday morning. The airline is expected to host an official ceremony marking the start of its long haul operations on Wednesday, while a similar event is expected to take place in New York following the maiden service. Flights to New York will mark the first time a Belgrade-based company has operated the route in 24 years and the first time the Serbian capital and the largest city in the United States have been linked with a direct air service in twelve years.

110 comments:

  1. I must admit the cabins look quite nice.

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    1. Agree although personally I'm not a huge fan of the angled seats in business. Nice mood lighting though.

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    2. Am I the only one who thinks that a 1-1-1 configuration in busines class is a waste of space? They could have easily gone for 1-2-1 imo.

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    3. I agree with you but it probably would have cost money to replace the entire cabin sine this is the same config used by Jet Airways (and it's an odd one on the A330).

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    4. Bit of a 'splav' therme in C?

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    5. Хахаххаах well the lighting wasn't up to JU, those Indians have an affinity for kitsch so...

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    6. No, this is not the same configuration as with JET Airways. Their configuration was 1-2-1. This was changed to 1-1-1 by Air Serbia.

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    7. Seriously? Why? Maybe because they knew they couldn't sell all those seats?

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    8. No it wasn't. Look at the seat maps. It's 1-1-1 in Jet Airways.

      http://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Jet_Airways/Jet_Airways_Airbus_A330-200_B.php

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    9. The only thing that was changed to Jet Airways was that the seats received new fabrics. Everything is the same including the configuration and pitch. Please get informed Anonymous 9:50 AM.

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    10. @ Seka Persa

      some aircraft come with mood lighting to create a more comfortable light setting in the cabin rather than just on or off. Above just shows the variations of the colours. These settings can create the appearance for example of a sunrise, allowing lights to turn on gradually, which will even change colour. Examples of effects is Iceland Air with the Northern Lights, Emirates has stars. Actually Emirates a few years back used to have a soft sounds of birds when replicating the sunrise effect in the cabin.

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    11. Yup. Hence my comment about 'splav' mood (lighting).
      I am not sure if other airlines have more subtle way of showing off rahter than Šabački Vašar effect?

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    12. As other posters underlined 20 times, "šabački vašar" is only one possible layout of cabin lighting. On top of that, the lighting is designed according to what the market wants - not according to your upper class taste. I am sure you can find an airline that can fit your "bečki dvor" requirements and save you from suffering from šabački vašar. The sooner you start looking for that perfect airline (and spend less time bashing others), the sooner you will find your perfect, noble and royal way to travel by air.

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    13. Wow! One wrong (and critical) thing mentioned and here are the supreme leader bots all united?

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    14. @ seka persa

      Its not an effect, rather all the lights are on. Photo was probably taken when they were testing the lights.

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    15. Onda to isto za svetlo vazi i za nove Avione , to su gluposti ali vi morate pisati nesto to svetlo moze da se menja kako god hocete .
      INN-NS

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    16. @JATBEGMEL

      That is my point. Its just all on. And it does not really provide any"mood" and therefore, from consumer point, does not achieve anything. That is all.

      It is also not certain when/where/if at all are these photos going to be used (was this just ExYu's photo) but I would hope that PR team would present the C cabin in a better way than "all switched on".

      (PS- It really seems hard for some readers of this blog to receive ANY criticism. Even in a view of improvement. They just cannot hear anything negative. Message for those- GROW UP MATE! And have courtesy to sign off your comment!)

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    17. @Seka Persa Criticism for criticism sake is pointless. Criticizing something does not make you automatically smart or wise. You criticized. Some discussants took your points seriously, showing respect for your arguments. They respectfully pointed out that your impression is wrong and explained what he case with the lights is. Then you ignored their arguments and explanations and repeated your initial impressions, showing lack of respect for other discussants. Discussions should lead somewhere. They don't serve to validate your preconceptions.

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    18. @ Seka Persa

      As you can see in one of the photos above, there is a member of the ASGS team on the aircraft. Not all photos on this blog are official release from JU. I have myself shared on this blog on many occasions my personal pictures for other people to enjoy. Its not about being a supporter or a hater, its about not talking non sense. I know what I'm talking about and operate these systems. JU and other airlines don't set as you say 'splav' themes with pax onboard.

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    19. These photos are not from Air Serbia. They are made by this website.

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    20. OMG, pink-purple-blue this reminds me some underground bars!

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    21. Who cares if the photos are official or not, the fact that they took them means that JU has them on like that. :(

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  2. Good that they have back up for the plane but by the time a plane arrives from Abu Dhabi it would take quite some time. Wouldn't it have been better to have made this arrangement with Alitalia? Persuming they have an aircraft sitting around.

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    1. If the plane goes tech they can deal with one flight and transfer passengers onto other airlines - Air Berlin, Alitalia. The additional Etihad back up aircraft will probably only be taken if there is some prolonged issue with the A330.

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    2. If (which I doubt) there is a dedicated plane sitting in Abu Dhabi that was to replace the ASL 332 whenever needed then why is this airplane not simply parked in BEG?
      Most likely because that plane is not only dedicated as an ASL replacement, but is also needed for ad-hoc services, charters and as replacement for EY operations!
      Hence, what guarantees that the plane is available on short-notice?
      Who will pay the empty legs AUH-BEG and BEG-AUH each time plus crew?

      Also, it would take at least 7 hours until the plane is ready for flights from BEG - if a spare crew in AUH is found immediately that can operate the empty flight to BEG.

      I am sure there are good intentions behind that kind of replacement option, but in reality it seems tricky, costly and complicated.

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    3. It surely will be.

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    4. It is the only option they have - aside of course rerouting the passengers to AirBerlin and Alitalia. Of course that A340 is available for the entire EY fleet, not just ASL. But it's still better than nothing. It's not like it's frequently used anyway...

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    5. @ anonymous 1,39pm

      The A345 is being retired from the EY fleet and doesn't do as many rotations as the other aircrafts, therefore is the main type that will jump in for JU. 7 hours isn't too bad of a delay, not convenient either.

      Remember, OK is operating to ICN on 1 A333 for quite some time now.

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    6. was there not info that JU is looking into leasing one more A330 at the start of next year?

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    7. The 2nd A330 was said to be coming towards the end of the year. However I think JU has been having problems with that as 9W intends to hold onto its A330's, from where the 2nd A330 was to come from.

      Last rumor I heard was that end of the year a 2nd aircraft will join the fleet and a third one next year.

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    8. Thanks for info JATBEGMEL. Damn that would be great if the 3rd aircraft is in consideration. Do you have any info on regional aircraft? Someone said that 2 Embraer might come from Montenegro.

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    9. I know nothing of the ERJ's, just read what was written here in the comments about it.

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  3. Does anyone know the loads on the first flight?

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    1. The first flight will probably be almost full. Reason is there will be several dozens of all types of important and "official" people flying FOC or being "invited" by JU. Maybe we can get a first impression of the loads after one week, neglecting the first flight.

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    2. The first flight isn't even bookable anymore! I checked a couple of weeks ago and it didn't eve show up.

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  4. OT: Wizzair to start Warsaw - Split from August 8.

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    1. Will this be their first SPU route?

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    2. LTN for quite a while now.

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    3. OT: Look at the Brač airport Facebook page. It looks they will have works during the following winter which will allow bigger planes to land there. AirBaltic interested to launch VIE, ZRH and MUC service.

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    4. Thanks, interesting that the route is starting so late. I mean they've more or less missed the whole summer season.
      Still, it's interesting that they are building up their ex-YU presence, especially in Croatia which has been rather weak for them.

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    5. @ Brac / 9h38: I also heard about that. They want to prolong the runway to almost 1800 metres that will be able to handle up to A319 and 736 (150 seaters).
      But they should not forget to build more accommodation, number of hotels cannot cope with the new airside capacity.

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  5. It's a pitty they didn't send the A330 to more cities for promotional purposes.

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    1. Regional cities were chosen to keep costs to a minimum, that is landing fees, over flight fees, handling, fuel etc. I think cities like OTP, SOF, DBV, SKG and TIA should of had a promotional flight as well.

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  6. Any idea when the plane will do the SKP rotation or they already did that? Since I think initially they didn't announce SKP. Also the business class layout is a bit weird, it would it be much better if the seats would face the windows instead of the aisles. Nevertheless I'm wishing Air Serbia a lot of success on the route.

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    1. Skopje was on Saturday. It was unplanned. I think it went there as a replacement for one of the Zagreb flights earlier which operated with the B737 instead. Apparently they need to operate 40 revenue flights before they start US.

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  7. sry but the illumination looks so tacky...
    more suitable for a gay pride event

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    1. The illumination can change color. It was just put on that red when the photo was taken obviously.

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    2. I agree that the lighting looks kind of silly, in my opinion.

      I find a very dim red tinted light to be the most comfortable for night flights.

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    3. Good thing for all those complaining is that they will probably never step a foot inside this plane on a transatlantic route. Complaining about everything will not make you money to buy yourself a ticket. Start doing something worthy, and stop complaining.

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    4. Anonymous June 20, 2016 at 10:27 AM

      If you are unable to participate in any discussion that does not include only "bravo and Go Go" maybe you should stop reading comments.
      I mean if you are getting so angry and attack people's opinions maybe you should leave internet forums completely.

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    5. I answered regarding the lighting above. To sum it up here, many airlines have in their aircraft many lighting colours and effects, replicating things such as sunrise etc where you will see those colours gradually, rather than only having the lights on or off. Its a very nice feature and leaves a nice ambience.

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    6. People, get real .... they at least have a widebody aircraft and in a few days time will start flights to the US ! Who else in ex-yu is even far away to do this, let alone close to doing it ?

      And to think where they were just 3 short years ago....

      Unthinkable - even incredible.... and people are writing negative comments - about the lighting !!!

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    7. The flights to the US do not represent organic growth but an artificial one pushed ahead by an egomaniac politician. That's the difference.

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  8. Can someone tell me whether there is Wi-Fi on board this plane?

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    1. Yes there is.

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    2. OK thanks :) Great way to kill time.

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    3. You also have IFE with movies, shows, games and live news to kill the time ;)

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  9. Congratulations Air Serbia. I think it's a record that an airline that applied for a permit for the US in November has managed to get everything ready by June next year. Wish you good luck.

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    1. Congratulation Air Serbia! This first route to America under Air Serbia name as national carrier is just beginning to yours future inter continental service. I will be on Belgrade airport in Thursday morning, just to witnessing this great moment in history of civil aviation in state of Serbia. This happening making my premature fly back from Sydney, few days ago. So proud on New Wings of Europe! Rodney & Good wishing Team. ✈ Kraljevo✈Sydney.

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    2. Anny body know, that official company ceremony at Wednesday, is open to general public? If is so. Where, time... Rod.

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    3. Just the press no public...

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    4. Wednesday! Doesn't the flight start on Thursday?

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    5. Media event is on wednesday.

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    6. In Belgrade or NYC?

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    7. Belgrade, thursday evening New York.

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    8. Is the NYC one open to the public by chance? I'm going to spot their A330 arriving at JFK on thursday.

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  10. I think Kuwait could be another good destination for ASL. Lots of transfer potential, similar to Beirut.

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    1. Beirut has a LOT more transfer potential to North America than Kuwait.

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    2. But I think Kuwait has far more O&D potential.

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    3. With Serbia?

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    4. Yes, a lot of them work in the construction business.
      Kuwait is also in TK's top five destinations for connecting passengers out of Belgrade.

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    5. KWI would be a great destination. Thousands of Kuwaitis visit the Balkans during the summer, many even looking at or have already purchased properties in Bosnia. KWI actually sent Jat years back a study they had of pax flow between the Balkans and Kuwait, attempting to lure Jat in restarting flights. KWI could have alot of transit potential especially to SJJ. Kuwaitis also do not require visas to visit Serbia.

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    6. Jat did operate to DXB via KWI back in 2005 or 2006. They rerouted it via BEY and LCA after that. Then again, it's Jat so who knows why they discontinued Kuwait.

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    7. Jat was doing well to Kuwait but primarily on Kuwait-Dubai-kuwait sector (they had fifth freedom and were cheaper then Emirates and Kuwait Airways). It was rerouted when some lcc (i think it was called jazeera or something like that) started flying and smashed them. Kuwait was introduced when Israel started bombing Lebanon but was extended even after that because it was doing ok until lcc came. Then they went to lca.

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    8. I don't think anyone besides JU flew between BEG and KWI. I might be wrong but I really can't remember anyone else.

      When the war in Lebanon started, DXB got a stop in LCA and it stayed like that until the very end.

      From what I remember, there were around 600 O&D monthly passengers between BEG and KWI back in the day. This should be enough help to make a route work once you add transfer passengers.

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    9. BEG-KWI would probably be profitable even with twice a week frequency.

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    10. @ nemjee

      Only JU has flown the BEG-KWI flights throughout the years.

      You are right that JU during the war in Lebanon rerouted the stop to LCA enroute to DXB, returning it to BEY, one season routed it via KWI and until DXB was dropped completely in 2011 routed the flight via LCA.

      Personally what I think makes KWI attractive is that there isn't a strong Kuwaiti carrier, and via BEG JU could offer good connections, especially in the Balkans which is a popular destination for the Kuwaiti pax. If I'm not mistaken, a Kuwaiti loan was used to fund phase 1 of Prokop station. Serbia is 1 of 4 countries in Europe that allows Kuwaiti visa free travel, the other 3 are also Balkan countries. Serbia seems to be encouraging Arab investments in Serbia, abolishing the visa regime for a few ME nations. Serbia even has an embassy in Kuwait.

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  11. https://www.flightradar24.com/ASL45D/a14a66d

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  12. Yesterday I flew Paris to Skopje.
    Paris to Belgrade was almost full with A320. Less than 10 seats left and Belgrade Skopje with 737 was around 65 passagers

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    1. I think it was a 733 to SKP because one of the Atrs was stuck in Timisoara. Still, both are great loads.

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    2. flightradar is showing 2 A319's and 1 A320 diverted to TSR. Must of been the thunderstorm last night and strong winds.

      METAR LYBE 192100Z 17017G30KT 3000 +TSRA SCT010 BKN020CB 19/19 Q1012 TEMPO 19025G35KT 1500=

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    3. If I remember correctly Prague also diverted to Timisoara. They are predicting another major storm tonight, it will be over Banat, Belgrade and Pomoravlje. I guess BEG ops might be affected once again.

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    4. Wow. Nasty METAR. I think every passenger yesterday should consider itself lucky and well treated to have been diverted, rather than attempting one or even several approaches to BEG under such conditions. Those approaches would not have been very stomach-friendly...

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    5. I feel sorry for the passengers flying in from STR. Not only did they circle over northern Serbia but they also got to experience an aborted landing before being stuck in TSR.

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    6. Not only that, I can imagine at least 1 flight had issues of crew flight time limitations resulting in a need to exchange crew to bring the ac back to BEG.

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  13. A day befire it was the A330. I didn't had that chance :-D

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  14. What is the current schedule for Air Serbia's winter flight to New York? Will they keep them five per week? Are they listed as 5 p/w from October 30 onward at the moment? Thanks in advance and good luck with the new service. Cabins look great.

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    1. At the moment it shows the same 5 p/w frequencies as for the summer season.

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  15. Today is 100 scheduled departures from Nikola Tesla, I think first time in history. Expecting busy June.

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  16. OT:

    If OU ever decides on wide body aircraft, I hope they go for A350-800,

    http://theaviationspecialist.com/a3589_seating.gif

    You can fit 258 seats in two class configuration, and A350 is slightly wider than A330.

    However OU can only hope to lease to won one of these, they're very expensive aircraft @272 million a piece.

    B787 would be best for OU from financial standpoint it can seat 240, and it is $50 million cheaper.

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    1. Honestly, id be happy with a 12yo used 763. They are absolutly sufficient for both US and China flights and should be available for no more than 100.000 EUR a month or less. Can sit also some 240pax

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    2. @AnonymousJune 20, 2016 at 6:53 PM

      If that's the case I'd go with B767 200 with winglets. Extra range.

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    3. The A350-800 will never been built...

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    4. They struggle to launch new routes and expand their network and you talk about widebody aircraft .... My advice - go straight to the hospital and seek urgent help !!

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  17. Ovo su odlicne vesti za ASL i ovo ce konacno zatvoriti ustima koji su stalno govorili da DoT nece odobriti neke stvari ali su odobrili bas sve .
    Nadam se da ce biti jos A330 kao sto vec neki znaju .
    INN-NS

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    1. Tebi svaki komentar na vesti o ASL-u počinje ovako; "Ovo su odlicne vesti za ASL." daj bre promeni ploče.

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    2. što? čim je neka lošija vest, vi svi odmah u glas: ovo je loša vest za ASL i slične gluposti. ako, neka je rekao, i jeste dobra vest

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    3. Slican se slicnom raduje. ;)

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  18. Airbus 330-300 would be better fit for Air Serbia

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  19. As promised a week or more ago, here are links to screen shots from the JU Elevate Play system from the A319 available on portable devices.

    https://flic.kr/p/Hqv8Z1

    https://flic.kr/p/Hqysv2

    Below is the movie selection. Movie selection is ok. As I said previously, biggest problem is the movies are not labeled, leaving only the cover photo. Movies are not subtitled.

    https://flic.kr/p/JeVVrF

    Music selection is the same as with the movies regarding titles.

    https://flic.kr/p/HVYups

    And the same for the TV shows. Selection is random episodes from random seasons. Again no subtitles.

    https://flic.kr/p/JeVYWg

    Route map is missing from the selection, although the time to arrival is shown. Presentation could be better, however on an iPad it looks a bit better. A minus is that no seat has a charging station and using the wifi for the entire AUH trip to use the system drains the battery. Big plus for various videos of Belgrade and Serbia, which makes for great advertisement for the country. Destination info for JU destinations is not complete, yet they've included a few codeshare cities like Dubai, Melbourne, Turin etc. For a start overall its great, and I'm sure in time it will be better.

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    1. WRONG ! The charging station is under the seat in economy ... there is one between every 2 seats. In business class, there is 1 charging station for every seat.

      Sorry to disappoint you ....

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    2. I'm talking A319 and not the A332. I did write it above!

      sorry to disappoint you...

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    3. So bring along a power bank, what's the problem with that ??

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  20. With only 3 days to go, ASL hardcore haters are in a panic mode at this point. Last resort: attack party lighting! That picture is just a demo of LED cabin lighting. It is available on many newer planes and mostly used to set different mood lighting during nightime, morning breakfast service etc but almost never in that demo mode. Air Serbia will not use it in that mode during flight!

    JATBEGMEL, thank you for detailed review and screenshots of Elevate Play.

    Lastly, as Anon said Air Serbia received all paperwork in a very short timeframe. This does not happen by accident, think about it.

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    1. Huh? Just because someone wrote something about JU doesn't mean he is a hater in panic mode. That's like saying that because you are supporting JU that you are a cheerleader blinded by her absolute and manic support for the airline.

      And anyway, it will be years before the airline is profitable which is what haters care the most about.

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    2. Haters and superfans need each other. The purpose of their conversation is not to discuss, but to tease each other and to demean the other side. They are enjoying it. Just ignore them.

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    3. There is no need for a Superfan when there are no haters... and on this site there are always haters when it comes to Air Serbia, not so much when it comes to any other airline or topic. I don't need no haters, I am not enjoying them and don't put the Superfan mask when commenting on other topics. When I do, it's because I can't educate Admin that democracy does not equal hate speech for everyone.

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