Monday, September 12, 2016

Air Serbia plans Tehran service by mid-2017


Air Serbia is considering introducing flights between Belgrade and the Iranian capital Tehran next summer season. The news comes after company officials visited the country and discussed the potential service with local regulators. Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, said, "Today's talks went well. Introducing these flights during the upcoming winter season is not possible, but they are likely next summer. Following the lifting of international sanctions, carriers from across the world have started operating from Tehran. If we do introduce Belgrade - Tehran flights, Air Serbia will have to fly in partnership with Iran Air". Mr Kondić added there will be surprises in the upcoming winter schedule, which comes into effect on October 30, and will feature "one or two new routes". The carrier previously confirmed it will extend its seasonal summer services to Hamburg and Larnaca into the winter months.

The Chairman of the Air Serbia Supervisory Board, Siniša Mali, noted, "We will undertake a feasibility study and hold talks with Iran Air over potential expenses on the route. I firmly believe that it is very important for direct flights to be introduced in order to fuel cooperation between Serbia and Iran. With the introduction of our flights to New York, we have observed a considerable number of people from the United States travelling to this region and Belgrade, and from there on to other countries". Mr Mali added that a direct air link to Tehran will make sense if Air Serbia launches flights to Beijing in the coming period. Last week, the company said both Asia and China will feature prominently in its future growth plans.

JAT Yugoslav Airlines previously operated flights between Belgrade and Tehran. The service was introduced on April 19, 1991 and the airline also opened its representative office in the city. The route was popular with a considerable number of transfer passengers to the United States at the time. However, the service was short-lived with the collapse of Yugoslavia halting all international operations. Earlier this year, Iran's largest tour operator announced plans to charter fourteen flights between Tehran and Belgrade, which were to carry some 3.000 Iranian tourists to the Serbian capital during a three-month period. However, the flights never took off due to administrative reasons. The tour operator previously said it plans to set up its south-east European base in Belgrade and estimates bringing some 10.000 Iranian holiday makers to Serbia next year.

106 comments:

  1. Ok this definitely means they are getting additional aircraft.

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    1. Seems like it, but hopefully also new/more short haul planes/ATRs.

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    2. Another A330, an A319 or two, and a few ATRs and that would be quite an expansion.

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    3. Could they use 737 for IKA?

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    4. Yes, 737 us suitable for the road

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  2. Smart move, although they probably should have done it a bit earlier before all the European airlines started flying there.

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  3. Beijing, Astana, Tehran are all being floated around for a few weeks. They are definitely looking to Asia for expansion.

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  4. I have heard Munich will be added to the network this winter and Pristina if a political agreement is reached

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    1. JU used to have fligts to MUC a few years ago. LH was flying 3x daily, and if I remember correctly, JU had a 5x week ATR operation to the city with some weird operating schedule.

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  5. I think we all agree there is potential for an IKA service.

    But what does Mali mean by saying: "Mr Mali added that a direct air link to Tehran will make sense if Air Serbia launches flights to Beijing" - what do these two possible destinations have to do with each other?

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    1. The only way I can understand it is that if Air Serbia strengthens their Asian presence, it will have positive effects on their Regional and European routes, similar to how JFK flights have brought benefits to certain routes in ASL's network.

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    2. Share an aircraft?

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    3. PEK would have be flown with a widebody, and I don't think IKA could sustain widebody flights. It is a perfect route for an A319. I think it would be about 4 or 4.5 hours each way.

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  6. How many flights per week?
    Is there a destination to which Air Serbia flies less than 5 times a week?

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    1. In winter there is Larnaca which is three times per week. In summer there are Malta, Varna and Warsaw from what I can remember.

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  7. Perhaps remove visa requirements for Iranians traveling to Serbia.

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  8. Very good JU! Like some of you have already said, there are already many European carriers as well as Gulf ones. Some airlines have already reduced their frequencies and maybe the market will be oversaturated. Lets see:)
    As for MUC a code share with LH will be perfect!

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    1. But it seems to me that LH and TK are JU's main competitors in the Balkans. Does code sharing makes sense for JU or for LH?

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    2. At one time, Lufthansa and Jat did have a codeshare.

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    3. They were even part of Miles & More.

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    4. Jat was part of Miles & More only on flights to Germany. That's why it made sense for them to fly to MUC with an Atr.

      Some airlines have reduced flights to IKA while some others have increased them. It all boils down to how well you market the route.

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  9. Hreat to hear there will be no cuts and there will be more expansion.

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  10. Replies
    1. Don't need to talk to yourself. (10:10am) and now. Your 'h' meant to be 'g'. same mistake from last post. :)

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    2. I think he was trying to make fun of the person above.

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  11. Congrats Air Serbia. Currently the only ex-yu airline with some sort of a strategy.

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  12. Wait, why new routes in winter schedule if they even can't fly to KPB and LED? Where's the logic?

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    1. Read the post before you write something, it clearly stated that it will not be possible to launch during winter but likely to launch in summer.

      Please read people, don't post anything if you didn't read the post. READ!!!

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    2. If i may quotate:

      Mr Kondić added there will be surprises in the upcoming winter schedule, which comes into effect on October 30, and will feature "one or two new routes"

      Now it's questionable who needs to read the post properly. READ!!!!!

      He only says that commencing operations to IKA isn'nt possible by the beginning of the winter schedule but there will indeed be "surprises"

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    3. The WTT comes into force a bit more than a month from today. Why is JU always so late with these changes?! They need to give people some time to book their tickets.

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    4. Believe me, they can't just put 2 new routes just before Oct 30th winter season coming very close and they need time to do marketing. no chance to feature one or two new routes just few weeks till winter season. most likely start late winter or summer season.

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    5. DK said that one or two new routes might be added this winter, not summer. My guess is that they will take place around NY.

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    6. im not angry with you it just. isn't it a bit too fast to introduce the new routes in winter season. seem too quick to me

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    7. Oh I agree with you, most airlines announce new routes around six months from the launch date, some even more than that.

      Announcing them last minute is pretty stupid and it represents an unnecessary increase in cost.

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    8. Exactly, but we can just wait and see. we can't say anything else until the news comes.

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    9. But still Air Serbia do that with all routes exempt JFK. They announced Zagreb just few days before flights, same with other new destinations.

      No logic at all!

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    10. All we know is Tehran is confirmed. Still waiting to see what the new routes. I have a feeling it might be Baku.

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    11. @ anonymous 10,38am

      I think the 'surprise' is that HAM, LED and KBP are staying in the winter. They're currently seasonal.

      In this months Elevate it mentions that 'Air Serbia flies daily to Munich'. I think this will open, while PRN is the second.

      @ Always Lftn

      - Winter season is traditionally the weak period. Announcing a route in lets say October for start in December is in time to pick up some of the new Years traffic and over the weaker months promote the route.
      - IKA hasn't been confirmed, only an interest to start. Just as with PEK and Kazakhstan.

      @ anonymous 3,37pm

      ZAG was launched as double daily 1 month before launch and is doing great. What works great for one airline might not for another.

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    12. ZAG is not doing not even good, and so far away from great. And to announce flight one mount in advance is at least stupid. And ZAG was announce two weeks, not one month in advance.

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  13. IKA would be a wonderful addition and I hope that they would make sure it connects to their European network and not the regional one. Maybe a 14.00 departure from BEG with the return flight arriving at 05.30?

    IKA can't be operated as an overnight flight which means the aircraft will have to sit for a few hours in Tehran.

    They could always start with three weekly flights and then build it up slowly like Aegean did.

    What's important for JU is that here there is a lot of potential for business class passengers.

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    1. Why can it not be operated over night?

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    2. Sorry, I should have expressed myself better. It can be operated over night but not in the sense of fitting between the two European banks, the same was LCA or BEY are operated.

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  14. I like how the carrier is focusing on expansion but I think some of the stuff mentioned (by them and by third parties as well) in the past is not being enforced and it could help to strengthen their current ops + help whenever they decide to open all of these new markets (IKA, PEK, TSE...).
    First of all, double daily to main destinations in their own region and work out a nice schedule to work with their JFK flights and ensure decent connectivity in between all of their main markets. In my opinion, they would need as well to rethink their fleet in medium/long term. ATRs are getting old, and they need something in between ATRs and A319/320s as well. Having some 320NEOs on order is not enough in my opinion.
    I think some errors could be made at this point which could be big headaches in a not so distant future.

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    1. While it took them long to make the psychological leap, it's finally happening, Air Serbia is realising the importance of Eastern markets in order to balance its overly Western network and strengthen its hub in Belgrade as a transfer point. As earlier said, better late than never.

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    2. I think they need also to improve their times at JFK.

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    3. Me again (anon 11.15).
      Not saying that expansion is a bad thing, but there are other issues to be address, either at the same time or before that happens. I'm sure their future Asian expansion could benefit big time from a good schedule and a efficient use of existing and future resources.

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  15. JU664 BEG-KBP today 95% LF.

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    1. Correction - 100% LF today, plane full, mostly transfers from US.

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    2. @AэrologicSeptember 12, 2016 at 5:58 PM

      Correction - Today JU664 was realy full, but there wasn't a single transfer from US; no surprise because JU501 from JFK had landed at 5 AM, or 13 hours before JU664 departed.

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    3. before or after? If it was before, I don't quite get what you are trying to say.

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  16. JU statistics for August says :
    Total number of passengers 342K, +6,6% yoy (including Aviolet charters, but excluding flights with passengers not connected to BEG), ops. 7,9% up.
    Best LF recorded on flights to TIV, SPU and ZRH, worst on flights to VAR, SOF, ZAG and OTP.

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    1. Thanks. I guess the worst lf is somewhere in the 70s?

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    2. LF may be low but seats usually are sold at higher prices compared to the rest of the destinations

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    3. Anon. 12.03
      "but excluding flights with passengers not connected to BEG"
      Who are these passengers and where to they were connected?

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    4. During August JU executed flights like BEG - (void) - OHD - BSL - (void) - BEG, or BEG - (void) - ZRH - OTP - ZRH - (void) - BEG.
      The worst LF were on routes to VAR (below 50%) and SOF (below 60%). There were 6 regular routes more which LF was between 60% and 70%. Overall LF was just slightly above 80%, or the same as it was in August 2015.

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    5. If LF to SOF was really below 60% then why did they rent Adria´s CR9 (bigger than ATR) to fly the route in summer?

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    6. ATR was needed for OHD and for the HR coast.

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    7. Oh wow - VAR as primarily a summer/leisure destination performs worst in summer month/high season? Is it performing that good in other months or winter? Or are they being paid for not cancelling the route?

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    8. VAR has always been a seasonal route. I guess the night departure isn't soo popular.

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    9. I think they will cut VAR

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    10. why is SOF such a disaster? hmmm

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    11. Low-cost competition.

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    12. Not to mention the split schedule network from BEG to Europe. It certainly doesn't help.

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  17. Iran has more than 220 new airplanes on order from Airbus and Boeing combined. They include planes capable of flying nonstop to JFK, LAX and other distant destinations. Airlines trying to offer connections to passengers from Iran have limited timeframe for their strategy.

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    1. The time-frame may be limited, but is not short. Iran could make these orders only after the international sanctions were lifted recently, so it had to go at the back of the queue. It will receive most of these planes in the 2020s, only after ASL and CTN already receive their airbuses.

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    2. USA Congress did not allow Boeing and Airbus (40% of Airbus parts are made in USA so they ban that) to sell aircraft to Iran. So, no new aircraft in near future.

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    3. @ Anonymous September 12, 2016 at 4:05 PM
      when this happened?

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    4. Brilliantly said Anon 2:05pm! The same with Cuba, it will soon be "flooded". It´s called milking the project.

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  18. "One or two new routes" next winter... PRIŠTINA? ;) Would be awesome.

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    1. Well we can charge them and since many Albanians live in ZRH, JFK etc. ... why not? Money knows no boundaries.

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    2. Ne lupaj gluposti, u razgovorima izmedju dve drzave je sve maltene stalo i za PRN ce se cekati jos dobrih par godina...

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    3. Serbs are very sensitive on that topic and I don't think that the Albanian market will fly with JU just yet. Especially from the diaspora where they are just as anti as the Serbs are - and Serbs have every justification to be. In another 10-20 years this could change, just like now where JU has transit pax going to ZAG and SJJ. SJJ obviously has been going longer than ZAG.

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    4. Je l' može molim bez "ne lupaj gluposti"? Uz minimum poštovanja sagovornika, diskusija je mnogo zanimljivija i produktivnija.

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    5. Alex Popov - ' and Serbs have every justification to be'. I am not albanian, I am not serb, but this is aviation blog and I dont think we should be discussing who is right and who is wrong in that respect.Lets focus on aviation topics.

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    6. @Alex Popov On the other hand, Kosovo imports a lot of Serbian products. It started already in 1999, immediately after the war. Kosovo houses were rebuilt with Serbian bricks! The stores in Priština are full of Serbian food. People may be less sensitive when it comes to economy and transport. Politically, it is also not necessarily negative for Priština status to negotiate over air transportation with Belgrade.

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    7. This guy Alex Popov is obviously still syuck in the 90's .... A hug proportion of Air Serbia's passengers on the JFK route are ethnic Albanians - from Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania and yes, Kosovo as well.

      Just like everything in life, people make their decisions on travel for a variety of reasons ....

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    8. The other day I flew VIE-ORD and the girl sitting next to me was moving from Kosovo to Michigan. With her she took a few bags of Chipsy saying that it's one of the things she'll miss the most.

      So much for Serbian animosity among normal Kosovo Albanians.

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    9. Also, let me add that JU has more transfer passengers to SJJ not because of hate but because JU charges €170 for a 35 minute flight. If the price was €50 like for BNX then the O&D numbers would have been better.

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    10. ^^^

      JU is currently hiring Albanian speakers for ASGS at BEG, as well as for cabin crew.

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  19. OT: FZ ukida privremeno Zagreb!

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    1. As per GDS, no ZAG DXB FZ services between 07.11. and 26.12. After that period frequencies seem to return to normal.

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    2. Apparently, it seems it is IT problem and should be fixed asap. Normal operations are planned.

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  20. Very good to here about both Beijing and Tehran.

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  21. Odlican je potez za PEK i IKA zato sto ce te linije biti profitabilni i imace dosta transfernih putnika.
    INN-NS

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    1. I evo ga cuveni ekspert INN-NS,koji naravno u svakom trenutku zna koja ce ruta biti proftiabilna koja ne.Ma znas sta vise postao si gori od onog hrvatskog austrijanca i onog BRAVO lika

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    2. Posle tačke i zarez ide razmak.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. Ja ne znam gde sam vas pitao za misljene ili sam vama nekad nesto pisao .
      Naravno nije svaka ruta dobra ali te dve jesu vi da znate nekoliko stvari znali bi to.
      INN-NS

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    5. INN-NS koje rute misliš da su rizični, i da bi teško uspeli?

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    6. Linije poput SZG i GRZ bi bile jedne od tih.
      INN-NS

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  22. OT
    I found great news in an other forum

    British Lowcoster Monarch will inaugurate twice weekly flights from MAN to ZAG.
    From 29.4. on monday and saturday

    September 12, 2016 at 8:43 PM

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    1. There is no info of this on their website.

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    2. LGW–ZAG 1-3-5-- (eff 28APR17)
      MAN–ZAG 1----6- (eff 29APR17)

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  23. Tehran is really a good news, many transfer passengers could be attracted. This probably means they will get additional aircraft, that's great. They really are an airline with a strategy and perspective, but what I don't understand is why does it take so long for them to expand their fleet, thus doing the same with their network as well. Maybe the lack of funds?

    If I were the one leading this airline, I would expand 'regional' network by adding destinations such as Pristina, Chisinau, Maribor or Mostar. When it comes to Europe, I would definitely be looking forward to expand in markets such as:
    1) Romania - cities such as Oradea, Sibiu, Iasi, Cluj, Craiova (it's a growing market and I really think that there is potential)
    2) Austria - Graz, Salzburg, Linz (diaspora)
    3) Poland - (now I know they failed in Warsaw, but with good marketing I believe some transfer passengers could be attracted from cities like Krakow, Wroclaw, Katowice etc.)
    4) Italy (now I'd focus first on strengthening their presence in Milan and Rome, but with reasonable prices I believe that cities like Pisa, Venice and Naples could work)
    I would also consider flights to:
    Munich (diaspora)
    Barcelona (they could attract both tourists and transfer passengers)
    Cairo, Riga, Baku (mostly for transfer passengers)

    When it comes to long-haul expansion, I would consider Chicago, Beijing, Shanghai and Toronto for now.

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    1. 1. Leasing aircraft is not cheap. Air Serbia has brought in 13 ac since its beginning which is a lot for an airline of its size.

      2. A319 currently isn't suited for a couple of the destinations, having too large of a capacity. As you mentioned the 'fail' in WAW, there is the perfect example.

      3. I think that the ATR's are loosing their place in JU, and is what JU needs to replace. I think a larger regional jet is more suited, and make the fleet more flexible to demand.

      3. JU might have a decent onboard product, however BEG is still not an ideal transit point. BEG is fairly disorganized and I don't see that improving anytime soon going by current trends. A lot of the bad reviews on JU is directly because of BEG:
      - missing bags,
      - damaged luggage,
      - rude and unhelpful staff,
      - last was BEG staff announcing JU flight to Tel Aviv, Palestine, with angry Israelis spamming the JU facebook page and calling for a boycott of JU.

      Facilities and retail is somewhat, however even then its not open for all waves:
      - Hleb and kifle for example was closed for 12 departures during the midnight wave.
      - No smoking facilities means pax need to clear passport control and customs to smoke.
      - Toilets can be untidy.
      - Arrivals hall is a mess.
      - BEG staff disinterested in pax, seen a few on their phones talking with friends.
      - Border police sterile at best, generally rude.
      - Screening at gates means being cramped in crowded gates.

      Have in mind that BEG has only so much room, and no concrete plan has been enforced regarding its expansion.

      4. I don't think that JU intend to increase the ATR fleet, and the current ATR destinations don't seem to justify a A319 roatation. I think more region al points will be opened once a plan for the regional fleet is known.

      5. MUC seems to be in the works. Theyre still waiting for approval for PRN.

      6. As mentioned above, for increase in Italy their needs to be a change in ac. If I was peeking right onto the load sheet, MXP was full going out and roughly 80 pax on the return yesterday.

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    3. Odlicni su vam svi predlozi osim tih destinacija u Austriji .
      INN-NS

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    4. ATRs are very suitable for regional destinations, such as Vienna, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Tirana, Skopje, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Prague... Cheaper to operate than Q400, profitable even on lower loads... They should renew them, not replace them with a more expensive aircraft.

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    5. @ anonymous 11,26pm

      Lets paraphrase my comment.

      I don't disagree that the ATR72 is a suitable aircraft for regional routes, far from it. My comment comes down to whether the ATR fits into what JU needs.

      Lets look at this:
      - ATR cannot replace A319 when loads are lighter on many destinations.
      - A319 is too large for a couple routes, however ATR is not a suitable replacement.
      - ATR cargo capacity isn't the best.
      - Current ATR routes often go weight restricted due to loads ie: goes with x amount of empty seats, generally due to cargo.

      Luggage allowance in JU is quite generous have in mind in regards to long haul ops, as well in EY to which JU also feeds and is fed from.

      I think ERJ175 is a great fit:
      - AZ already operate the type.
      - Slight increase in pax capacity.
      - Much larger cargo hold.
      - Ability to fit a J class cabin.
      - Perfect for routes such as PRG, WAW, KBP, TIA, TGD, TIV, DBV, SPU, MXP, FCO, VIE, SKP, SKG, IST, TLV, HAM.
      - Better flexibility with the A319 ie: lighter load on A319 route, send the ERJ and vice versa.

      JU lost out to LO in WAW where the A319 was too large. PRG is a long hop for the ATR. SJJ and VIE I know frequently have weight restrictions let alone others.

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    6. In my opinion the Atr in JU's fleet makes a lot of sense. There are a lot of regional routes that could be increased thanks to the economics Atr offers.

      Think of SJJ, TIA, SKP, OTP, SOF, SKG... to name but a few. In my opinion the A319 is a pretty useless aircraft in JU's fleet. It would be much better to replace it with the E195. It's not like BEG handles so much cargo that all this extra cargo capacity is needed. What JU needs is a lighter aircraft that carries about the same number of passengers.

      In my opinion a combination of A320s, E95s and Atrs should be a good fit for JU.

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    7. I think the Sukhoi Superjet is the best RJ for Air Serbia. It has range, it can carry a lot of cargo compared to other RJs, the 3-2 configuration is more "mainline" than other RJs such as the Ejet. Plus the SSJ can offer 8 seats of business in 2-2 so that commonality can be kept with the airbus fleet.

      Also the delivery time is much shorter and a deal could be reached.

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  24. Do you think a JU connection to Amman is possible/good idea? It is the main airport to 10 million people in Jordan (with big diaspora in Europe and north America) and to a large number of people around Jordan as well.

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    1. Yes. I think JAT flew there in it's heyday.

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  25. I'm Iranian and came across this piece of news just now and I'd be delighted if the service inaugurated this winter. Such a shame. I'd lead the queue to visit your country.

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