Air Serbia launched its maiden flight from Belgrade to St. Petersburg over the weekend, marking its second destination in Russia. With 125 passengers on board, the Airbus A319 was welcomed by a traditional water cannon salute at Pulkovo Airport. Flights will operate three times per week. Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, said, "Air Serbia is delighted to commence passenger flights to St. Petersburg, a well-positioned gateway to North Europe and the vast country of Russia. With multiple weekly flight options, convenient arrival and departure times and easy connections over Belgrade to the Balkans and South Europe, we expect the St. Petersburg flight to be a hit with business and leisure travellers who have expressed strong travel demand to the city". He added, “By improving air access and our travel offering to the Russian market in this way, we will also stimulate commercial and tourism activity on both ends, driving economic growth in Serbia and fulfilling one of our core objectives as the national airline".
On top of its non-stop services to Russia, Air Serbia has a codeshre agreement in place with Aeroflot between Moscow and Kazan, Krasnodar, Samara, Sochi and St Petersburg. In addition, Aerfolot codeshares on the new direct service between the Serbian capital and St. Petersburg. The Chief Commercial Officer of the operator of Pulkovo Airport, Nothern Capital Gateway, Evgeniy Ilyin, said, “In the past five years, the indirect traffic between the two cities grew by 263%, exceeding 20.000 passengers in 2015. This made the Serbian capital the top unserved destination in Europe in Pulkovo’s network. Russia and Serbia have longstanding cultural and business ties, and we are confident, the new service will help strengthen them".