Thursday, June 23, 2016

Air Serbia touches down in New York


Scroll down for live coverage as it happened

Air Serbia has introduced services between Belgrade and New York this morning, 24 years after its predecessor, JAT Yugoslav Airlines, suspended the route. Using the same flight numbers (JU 500/501), the carrier will maintain the flights five times per week with its newly leased 254-seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft, named after Nikola Tesla. The airline's management has described the occasion as the start of "the next phase" in the company's development. The CEO of the Etihad Aviation Group, James Hogan, notes, "Air Serbia is about to take a huge step forward on its journey to become the leading airline in the region. With an A330 in its fleet and a strong network, the airline has laid the foundations for the success of its New York service". The maiden service to the largest city in the United States is being piloted by the airline's Chief Operations Officer, Davor Mišeljić, while some of the passengers on board the sold out flight include Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, as well as Mr Hogan, the Ambassador of the United States to Serbia, Kyle Scott, the Serbian Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, and the Mayor of Belgrade, who is also the Charimain of Air Serbia, Siniša Mali.

New York JFK Airport

Mr Kondić says the airline is extremely satisfied with sales on the route so far. He notes that some 60% of bookings have come from the United States, and a further 35% from Serbia. The carrier will now work on building its brand awareness in the States and developing Belgrade as a stopover point. According to Mr Kondić, the airline has seen "good traction" in business class sales and the region has responded favourably towards the new service. In addition, some of Air Serbia's newly launched flights, in particularly Kiev, have aided the New York route when it comes to sales. The carrier's Chairman, SIniša Mali, notes, "This new air link will supercharge relations between Serbia and the United States, and as such, it is fitting that our A330 has been named after Nikola Tesla, the man who was responsible for so much progress in the 20th century. We are turning a new page in the history of this country. We are the only country of eleven in the region with a national carrier offering flights to the United States".

It took Air Serbia nine months to gain all necessary regulatory approvals from US authorities in order to inaugurate the new route. The carrier has also drawn resources from other airlines in the Etihad Aviation Group in order to make the flights possible. It has leased the A330 from Jet Airways, trained its pilots at the Alitalia Training Centre in Rome and its crew at the Etihad Airways Academy in Abu Dhabi. Furthermore, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of the wide-body jet will be carried out jointly by Air Berlin and Etihad. The Emirati carrier will codeshare on Air Serbia's New York service under flight number EY 6023/6024.



James Hogan, President and CEO of Etihad Aviation Group

As an airline executive, what an exciting day. When you consider the vision of the Prime Minister in approaching the government of Abu Dhabi to re-establish Yugoslav Airlines back in 2013 and to see where the business is today, it's quite a journey. In aviation terms, this has been one of the fastest turnarounds of any airline. From an aviation perspective, the vision to replace this airline has been extraordinary. JAT is no more. The days of JAT are gone. This is about the era of Air Serbia. Air Serbia is the leading airline in the Balkans and, quite frankly, will be the leading boutique airline in Europe.

Today, being able to create Air Serbia operating to New York is all about Air Serbia being part of a family. If Air Serbia was not part of the Etihad equity family we couldn't be launching flights today. No airline this size in their own right could have launched one flight per week. But being part of a family of airlines, we sourced the aircraft from Jet Airways, the MRO is managed in conjunction with Etihad Engineering and Air Berlin Engineering and the training of the pilots was undertaken by Alitalia. In fact, Alitalia pilots are supporting the A330 transition. So we have all come together to launch this five days per week flight. Today is the start of the next phase. What we have seen over the past three years is a repositioning and moving Air Serbia to a mature brand. I think New York today marks the next phase of the development of this airline. Just think, after 24 years, today you are launching and creating the gateway to the Balkans and to the Americas, connecting to the other states of the region, to Athens and the greater Mediterranean area. As importantly, it's not just about ethnic traffic and transfer traffic, it is about the destination. In my opinion, the next phase is about selling this wonderful country and this great city. I'm excited about being on the first flight. It's good to be in Belgrade.


More on the services being offered on board Air Serbia's A330-200 can be found here


LIVE AS IT HAPPENED

20.00: Ribbon cutting ceremony held at JFK Airport prior to the first flight from New Tork to Belgrade (JU501)




17.55





17.39: Touchdown! After 24 years, a Belgrade-based carrier has landed at New York's JFK Airport.

17.35: Preparations for return flight, JU501, in progress


17:27: Flight JU500 has started its descent into New York. Arrival is expected in some fifteen minutes.

17.25: Passengers have started checking-in for the first flight from JFK Airport to Belgrade.


16.40: James Hogan, the President and CEO of Etihad Aviation Group and the Vice Chairman of Air Serbia has written an editorial regarding the flights to New York for the UAE daily "The National". You can read it here.

16.35: Flight JU500 has entered US airspace and is expected in New York in around an hour. Meanwhile, New York is prepared:



15.10: Some photos from the inaugural flight. Click to enlarge






14.00: As flight JU500 nears New York, the airline will be hosting a gala evening at the Lincoln Center tonight to celebrate the new route. Among the 300 guests invited are sportspeople, actors and musicians. Actress Stana Katić, best known for her role in the TV drama "The Castle", will be the master of ceremonies.



12.40: Flight JU500 is now at the half way point. Estimated arrival at 11.40 local time, 17.40 CEST.



12.00: Serbia's Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, who is on the flight, says, "Today is a very proud and happy day for Air Serbia and the country and people of Serbia. It feels great to be back in New York. This is the first flight operated by a Serbian carrier to the United States since 1992 and it shows the huge steps we have taken to develop our economy and reposition our country, and Belgrade, on the world map".

10.00: On the other side of the pond, New York is ready to welcome the first commercial flight from Belgrade after twelve years.




08.30: Serbia's national broadcaster, RTS, has confirmed that Air Serbia will be advertising across Times Square over the next two days to raise its brand awareness and celebrate the new route launch.

08.05: We have lift off. Twelve years after the last flight between Belgrade and New York and 24 years since a Belgrade-based company operated the route, services between the Serbian capital and the largest city in the United States have resumed. Live coverage continues at EX-YU Aviation News until the arrival of flight JU500 at JFK Airport, currently estimated at 12.00 local time / 18.00 CEST.

Pushback at Belgrade Airport

07.50: The gate is now closed and departure is expected in the following ten minutes.

07.35: As the last of the passengers board the aircraft, it has been confirmed that the first three flights from Belgrade to New York have been sold out in economy class. In the article below, Air Serbia's CEO explains more about the passenger structure and where the bookings have been coming from.

07.05: Passengers have now begun boarding the flight. All 254 seats will be occupied today. As reported, the aircraft will be piloted by Davor Mišeljić, while the head purser on today's maiden service is Anica Rakonjac (pictured).


06.30: The ribbon cutting ceremony is taking place. Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, says, "This is one small step for a Serb and one big step for Serbia". The Ambassador of the United States to Serbia, notes, "I flew with JAT thirty years ago to the US but this is something completely different. You are opening the gate to New York with a modern aircraft, although it's an Airbus not a Boeing". The Serbian Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, expressed hope that flights to the United States will never be suspended again.





102 comments:

  1. Good luck Air Serbia and congratulations! Who could have even imagined this a few years ago.

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  2. Wohoo congrats JU. Clear skies :)

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  3. Srecan put Er Srbijo. Bez mogucnosti i mesta na aerodromu sa koga bih mogao da pratim uzletanje, ostajemi da vas od srca pozdravim. Uz dalje prosirrenje mreze u USA i Kanadi, Srecan Prvi let Er Srbijo. Radovan. Kraljevo✈Sydney

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  4. Good luck ASL with the hope of YYZ flight soon. Competition in this market is fierce but hopefully they can find the way to make it work.

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  5. Air Serbia is writing a new chapter in a history of Serbian aviation today. New York route is a key ingredient of an effort to reboot the airline into a world class carrier. Safe long haul travels, and may your widebody endeavor be enduring and financially successful!

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  6. Good luck!! Srecno!!!! Very proud today!! Next = Toronto

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  7. I'd be interested to know load factors and yields in the coming weeks and months. As well as percentage of O&D, transfer passengers, and from where.
    Good luck Air Serbia.

    -- Charlie

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    Replies
    1. Sorry but I don't think any airline in the world would provide such info to the public

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    2. Yeah, not likely. But it would be nice.

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    3. 250 pax (said on TV last night)

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    4. that economy class in the pic looks half empty

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    5. Obviously it is a photo made during boarding. You can see that the overhead bins are open and you can see a ground staff member with the yellow flash jacket on.

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  8. Good luck ASL,i wasnt able to sleep nearly whole night i was so excited to see first flight

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    1. This is a very proud day for every Serbian and i am sure that this flight will be a great success.

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    2. No, not every Serbian is "proud". It's just a flight. "Proud" Serbians with average salary of 200 euros have nothing but to pay for this stupidity via taxes.

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    3. Naravno mora ovaj negativac da se javi.Da si završio malo više škole mogao bi da zaradiš i do 500-700 eura kao neko od nas a to je više nego dovoljno za povratnu kartu i smestaj. uvek si bio i ostaćeš negativac koji radi za 200 eura. Sve pohvale AS na realizaciji ovoga leta i ex yu Aviation na opširnom izvještaju.

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    4. Anon 12:41,

      Who and when appointed you the official spokesperson for average Serbians?

      Speak for yourself and your own salary or tax givings.

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    5. A tebe je neko stavio da narices I kukas ovde kao baba kolika ti je plata? Da imas malo kulture i postovanja prema necijem radu ne bi se ni javljao ovde a kamoli daovao negatgive komentare za sve ono sta je neko radio i gradio godinama.

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  9. OT:Today on BEG will be two wide bodies one A330(departing in 20mins) and later EK 772F.

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    Replies
    1. And looks like Petersburtg route is doing well today A32O will fly there.

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    2. 🖒 ST. PETERSBURG will be a huge success. Cant believe they waited this long for this route.

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    3. Even crippled old JAT used to send their B727 there.

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  10. Very good looking head purser on the flight. Needless to say but all of the cabin crew is very good looking. It will be so nice to see them land at JFK. Thanks to ex-yu for the updates. You are being followed from Canada.

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    1. Дечко ТзарJune 23, 2016 at 7:26 AM

      Anica made it all the way from old JAT days, leftmost on this pic from Nemjee's old blog:

      http://aviationoverview.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/jatserbia.jpg

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    2. Aah very nice picture...hvala

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    3. Anica is a brilliant purser and I am happy she made it this far. She didn't have an easy life. She is definitely a great asset for Air Serbia and I am not surprised she was chosen to work on the first flight. If I am not mistaken, her mother was also a flight attendant.

      Best of luck to Air Serbia, looking forward to flying the route in a few months. :)

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    4. I love Anica. She is such a wonderful person!
      All the best to the New York service !

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  11. Želim sreću Air Serbiji.

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  12. Today's the special day for that old license plate:

    https://s31.postimg.org/knbocmge3/JFK_BEG_license_plate.jpg

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  13. Delayed 20 minutes. Which is to be expected.

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    1. I dont think it will depart until 8am.

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  14. Taxing according to mine FR24 app.But BEG.AERO says gate closed only.

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    1. Obviously taxiing. You can see that ex-yu posted a photo of it being pushed back.

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    2. I wasnt watching post at all,i was checking my FR24 app and i told you what i saw.Any problems with that?Last Anon?

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    3. Calm down. I was just pointing it out.

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    4. Guess Whoo, chill it dawg.

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  15. JFK airport website has no information about AirSerbia or this flight. Try searching arrivals either by airline or by origin - nadda. So ridiculous.

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    1. Netyacno, let je na ekranu dolazaka na terminal #4 I vec su ga stavili pre dva dana a mozes pogledati I na on line.

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    2. True... http://www.jfkiat.com/flight.html

      It says 12:00 pm; Air Serbia; JU500; Belgrade; 11:25 am; Early

      Not bad. Not bad at all.

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    3. Actually, the official JFK website is https://www.panynj.gov/airports/jfk.html and it's probably one of the worst airport sites anywhere.

      Someone hasn't updated the drop down list with Air Serbia, but it will soon show up on the arrivals page (it lists flights arriving within 6 hours). If you go to tracking, because Air Serbia is not in the dropdown menu, you can search it under Etihad, as EY 6023

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    4. Correct @ Anonymous 11:37. That is the official JFK site, and on dropdown menu there is neither Air Serbia nor Belgrade listed.

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    5. For some reason, it's showing up with the Jat Airways logo (three dots) on the Port Authority site:

      http://i67.tinypic.com/fn4gnr.png

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    6. Same was in Kiev, it shows Jugoslovenski Aerotransport.

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  16. Vedro nebo , mekano sletanje zelim mojim kolegama a putnicima prijatan let i jos mnogo novih destinacija i aviona!

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  17. Good luck this is a great day!

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  18. Good luck , wish u more long hauls in the future .
    Greetings from downunder ....

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  19. Where is today's fresh at 9?

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    Replies
    1. It's obviously today's news. It was just published earlier like it said yesterday because the plane departs before 9.

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  20. Congratulation Serbia and huge respect to workers of Air Serbia to succeed in this huge work to open JFK route.

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    1. Totally agree.

      But unfortunately what has been done so far will be the easiest part. The real challenge is just now beginning, and the question is how ASL will succeed in fighting to stay relevant in the transatlantic market. I strongly believe that with enough effort and investment, Air Serbia's longhaul operations to grow to something very beneficial.

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    2. Dear Aleksandar. You say all. Just to join your opinion. definitely, professional team with full responsibility in organisation and operation, will raising expansion network. long haul traffic include. Sa postovanjem. Rodney & People from Airport Morava. Chirs

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    3. Purger, hope you post photos from your A330 trip soon :)

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    4. Jel Purger ima neki poseban aparat pa cemo videti neke slike koje do sada nismo videli? ;)

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  21. If I remember well, red scarves are for pursers, blue for cabin crew, gray for ground staff... What is the meaning of the white one?

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    Replies
    1. Head of the crew in economy class. It is applied only on A330.

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  22. https://www.flightradar24.com/ASL500/a1ca658

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  23. wonderful congrats air serbia

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  24. And they said it couldn't be done, way to go Air Serbia! You da man!

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  25. Hi guys, me and my girlfriend are from Greece and today we started our vacation in montenegro riviera (based in kotor). We flew this morning to podgorica via belgrade with AirSerbia and rented a car there to kotor. Anyway we saw the a332 of AirSerbia at its gate, very beautiful plane and we want to wish all the best and safe flights.

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    1. Thanks guys....great to hear from you!!! Have fun in Montenegro and tell us how it went.

      Cheers

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  26. Sve cestitke ASL i management-u na odlicnom Poslu.
    Nadam se da ce se ispuniti i njivova ali i vecine nas zelja da do kraja Godine bude vise A330 kao sto vec neki znaju .
    I nadam se da ce letovi za nekoliko godina preci na A359 :P
    INN-NS

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  27. Another proudful and beautiful day in Yugoslavian aviation history. JU 500 back in New York, what a milestone. Thank you so much to all the people who made this possible
    One time JU, always JU!
    Cheers fm ZRH

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  28. AutoCorrect Admin it Half not Halg

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  29. Peter from SydneyJune 23, 2016 at 1:28 PM

    Air Serbia - BEG to JFK making international aviation news - in Australia courtesy of Ben Sandiland at Crikey - https://blogs.crikey.com.au/planetalking/2016/06/23/etihad-first-take-serbia-manhattan/

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  30. Article up on Business Insider, plus a few statements by Kondic:

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/air-serbia-ceo-kondic-interview-2016-6?r=US&IR=T

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  31. Congrats Air Serbia!

    Any updates on their North American codeshare partner(s)?

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  32. "In addition, some of Air Serbia's newly launched flights, in particulanrly Kiev, have aided the New York route when it comes to sales." - Now that is unexpected.

    *Ex-yu, typo at 'particularly'

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  33. just a little negative is that even inaugural flight had to be 25min late with pushback ... some things will never change! otherwise GOOD JOB!

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    1. Have you even thought that they have a slot time in New York? They are already going to be 20 minutes early in landing. Of course you didn't.

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    2. No I didn't!!... for sure you are the one who is going to teach me flying ...

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    3. Someone should.

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    4. Have you seen any of the recent reports on ASL's on-time performance? If you have then you would have concluded that some things have definitely changed for better.

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  34. Not sure if anyone knows.. what runway at jfk is planned for landing?

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  35. Among the 300 guests invited are sportspeople, actors and musicians. Actress Stana Katić, best known for her role in the TV drama "The Castle", will be the master of ceremonies.

    For the first time in my life I would like to be Zoran Babić. :D

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  36. Yaeh the eagle has landed !!!!

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    1. How long was the flying time ?
      To NY and back in hours ?
      Hvala!

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    2. Took 9 hours 20 minutes to JFK. The return is supposed to be a bit longer but hasn't departed yet.

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    3. Longer? Usually JFK to Europe is much faster. JFKBEG should be around 8.5h

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    4. According to Flightradar24 flight BEG-JFK lasted exactly 9:31 minutes.

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  37. Živeli! Lep dan za srpsko vazduhoplovstvo!

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  38. Without doubt this has been the best live reporting of any portal or website. Thank you!

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  39. What a smart choice for this week's vintage photo admin. YU-AMA and YU-ARA side by side :) both Nikola Tesla

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  40. Čestitke Air Serbiji iz Dubrovnika!

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    1. Hvala gospari i nadamo se da će i DBV uskoro dobiti svoj direktan let!

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  41. First of all, A BIG THANK YOU TO ex-yu for all of the updates from the begginging. You did a awesome job as usual.

    Secondly, I was lucky to listen to LIVE ATC today from JFK. Its was amazing to hear.. i went from NY approach to NY Tower and finally to NY ground control. The pilots did a great job in communicating with one of the toughest controlers in the world.

    It was so cool to hear "Air Serbia 500 Heavy, clear to land runway 22L"

    Congrats to AIR SERBIA!!! NEKA JE SA SREĆOM!!!

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  42. Very well done neighbours, what an excellent coverage! Historic and beautiful. Pozdrav ot SOF/VAR :)

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    1. Thank you dear friend!
      Hope to see many guests from Bulgaria to use the service in future.

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  43. ASL return flight
    https://www.flightradar24.com/ASL501/a1e4e3a

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  44. Replies
    1. Here is some atc from jfk. Not he best quality but im a amature.

      This is the takeoff in ny. Rhw pilot ia not best but will get better with time..

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    2. Koliko li je nervirao KJFK sa sporim readbackom... :)

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    3. Mene je malo nervirao. Ali sta je tu je.. mislim Rusi, kinezi, turci, itd nisu nista bolji. Let iz Beograd kada je sleteo, taj pilot je bio savrsen.

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    4. YYZ BEG - thanks! Do you have the landing ATC?

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  45. Sorry I dont this time.. but i will have 5 chances per week (every week) to catch them and get better with changing atc chanels. :)

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  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

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