Air Serbia will suspend services between Belgrade and Warsaw at the start of the 2016/17 winter season, which begins on October 30. Ticket sales for flights past this date have been discontinued, however, the carrier will offer alternatives through its codeshare partners LOT Polish Airlines and Air Berlin. Air Serbia's flights to Warsaw, launched in May 2014, have struggled for some time and it is believed the route was only maintained over the past year since its competitor LOT temporarily suspended services to Belgrade from July 2015 to January 2016 due to European Union imposed restructuring. Air Serbia will operate its last scheduled flight to the Polish capital on October 28.
LOT, which maintains its services to Belgrade with smaller-capacity Embraer jets, is performing well on the route. This summer, the carrier boosted its four weekly flights to daily. Krystian Rolla, LOT's Sales Manager for Europe & Middle East, said the passenger structure on the route is mixed, with both transfer and point to point travellers using the service. "There is no dominant category of passengers. It varies based on the day of the week", Mr Rolla said. "Of those transferring through Warsaw, the majority of passengers connect onto flights to Toronto and several points in western Europe", he added. LOT competes against Air Serbia on the route, although the two carriers codeshare on each others' flights. "There is enough room for both carriers on this route. We view this as an opportunity to strengthen cooperation to the mutual benefit of both sides, rather than competition", Mr Rolla noted.
Air Serbia is operating four weekly flights to the Polish capital this summer, which is down from daily last year. LOT will continue codesharing on the Serbian carrier's flights from Belgrade to Abu Dhabi, Podgorica and Tivat, despite Air Serbia's plans to suspend its flights to Warsaw. The carrier has already made several changes to its upcoming winter schedule. As previously reported, it will extend its seasonal flights from Belgrade to Larnaca into winter, making it a year-round destination. In addition, the airline will also maintain its recently launched service to Hamburg during the winter months. Initially, the route was scheduled to operate on a seasonal basis. Flights to New York will run throughout the year as planned. Further changes to winter operations are possible.