Russian carrier Ural Airlines will suspend its services from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport to Belgrade at the end of August, just nine months after introducing flights between the two cities. The carrier has struggled with poor loads and strong competition on the route from both Air Serbia and Aeroflot, which will now retain their duopoly. Ural initially introduced flights to the Serbian capital in January, with plans to operate only during the winter but extended the service to two per week over the summer as well, utilisng its Airbus A319 aircraft on the route. However, the carrier has been forced to cancel flights on a number of occasions over the past few months due to poor bookings. Ural Airlines plans to operate its last flight from Moscow to Belgrade on August 24.
Russia is one of Belgrade Airport's biggest markets, although demand has softened over the past year due to falling oil prices and sanctions which have had an impact on the Russian economy. Last year, Air Serbia carried 124.696 passengers between the Serbian and Russian capital cities. Furthermore, Moscow was Air Serbia's fourth busiest route during the first quarter of 2016, according to Belgrade Airport. The airline carried 18.632 passengers between the two cities, which was down 17.2% on the same period last year. This is despite the number of Russian tourists visiting Serbia growing by 14% during the Q1 period. In June, Air Serbia launched flights to St. Petersburg, which had a further impact on Ural Airlines which offers connections to a number of cities within Russia through Moscow.
Both Air Serbia and Aeroflot have a wide-ranging codeshare agreement with the Serbian carrier placing its flight numbers and designator code on Aeroflot's services from Moscow to Belgrade, Kazan, Krasnodar, Samara, Sochi and St. Petersburg. In return, Aerfolot codeshares on Air Serbia's flights from Belgrade to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Skopje, Tirana and Tivat. The two airlines maintain a total of 28 weekly flights between Belgrade and Moscow, making it the fourth most frequent route based on the number of departures this summer.