Friday, September 9, 2016

Air Serbia to expand China reach


Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, has said that China will play an important role in the airline's continued expansion, noting that the market represents a critical step in the company's growth in Asia. It comes after the carrier appointed a general sales agent (GSA) for China with the aim of boosting its awareness on the market and promoting it as the airline of choice for the Balkans. Several months ago, Serbia's Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, noted that Air Serbia will most likely launch Beijing as its second long haul destination after New York, although the carrier has never endorsed these claims. More recently, the Serbian government noted it was negotiating with a Chinese carrier over potential services between the two countries, which are to commence in 2017.

Mao Jun, Air Serbia's consultant in China, says, "We are very excited that Air Serbia is re-entering the China market. China and Serbia are old friends. Together with CITS Air Service Company Limited, we will reintroduce Belgrade as an affordable and convenient gateway to Europe, and build greater awareness of Air Serbia as the airline of choice to the Balkan Peninsula and southeastern Europe for Chinese travellers". CEO Kondić adds, "China is not only important to the continued expansion of Air Serbia, but also important to the development of Serbia and the Balkans region. Our appointment of Air CITS as the China GSA is a critical step in Air Serbia’s expansion in Asia".

Air Serbia currently codeshares with Air China on its flight between Beijing and Vienna. Furthermore, Air Serbia also has special prorate agreements (SPA) on all of Etihad Airways' flights out of China, as well as SPA’s with China Southern, Xiamen Airlines and Hainan Airlines. The last time a Chinese carrier operated services to Belgrade was prior to the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. Flights were initially launched from Beijing in 1978 by Air China’s predecessor CAAC and were operated with a Boeing 707 via Karachi (and for a short period of time via Tehran). Later on, services were introduced from Urumqi via Budapest. On the other hand, JAT Yugoslav Airlines launched Beijing in 1979 and operated its final flight to the the city in late 2000.

100 comments:

  1. I think 3 times per week BEG-PEK could work. The longer you wait to introduce these flights, the more difficult it will be. With flights starting from PEK to ZAG next year, LOT expanding in Asia, Chinese carriers starting more and more Eastern European routes, the chances to establish yourself on the market are getting slimmer and slimmer.

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  2. Nice, would love to board that plane and experience a jugo long-haul flight. Unfortunately BEGtoJFK doesn't make much sense for me, since i live close to ZRH.

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    Replies
    1. And why is this different since Swiss also flies to Beijing?

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    2. Because it makes sense geographically. Swiss is very expensive on direct flights.

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  3. Does China-Serbia bilateral allow for potential Air Serbia flights to China ?

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  4. What would be the makeup of passengers on these flights. Would it be mostly leisure transfers, business passengers, ethnic even?

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    Replies
    1. You can have all three. The majority of Chinese people living in Serbia are near and around Shanghai and almost all use Aeroflot.

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    2. So would it not be more logical to fly to Shanghai instead of Beijing?

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    3. It sounds more logical JU to fly to PVG, but don't forget more Serbs in US live closer to ORD than to JFK and JU started flights to JFK. I believe they are more concentrated on transfer passengers than to P2P and expect to have better LF on PEK than on PVG

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  5. Makes sense. If you can get passengers to one destination and then quickly transfer them to neighbouring capitals, which Air Serbia is the only airline in ex-Yu in a position to do, then this could work. All exYU capitals, as well as places like Tirana, Bucharest and Sofia could generate the demand required to fill a widebody 3-4x times per week.

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    Replies
    1. TK flies to more destinations in the Balkans than ASL.

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    2. What do you mean 'good luck with Tirana' ASL flies daily, if not 10x per week.

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  6. Sorry but to me it seems like:
    Dear Serbian taxpayers, brace yourselves.

    Haplek

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    Replies
    1. Winter is coming. :)

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    2. Look, even if we shut down ASL tomorrow morning to please your hate, guess what happens to your taxes - they remain the same. They don't go down if we eliminate ASL so that you can finally have some joy in life. And on top of that, last time I checked Serbian taxpayers did not have an official PR person/lobbyist, nor was anyone hired to spam, troll and flame internet blogs on their behalf. Have at least that much dignity not to hide behind people who pay their taxes - step up in person and with your own individual hate.

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    3. Sounds like you're the one full of hate.

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    4. Ovaj šta stalno priča kako on održava AS plaćanjem državnog poreza je već svima dosadio.Kao da zarađuje milione pa toliko ulaže u državu.. kad god je nešto pozitivno na ovoj stranici u vezi AS ti moraš da kažeš nešto negativno pa makar to bila i jedna riječ.

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  7. Good news. Is it possible to fly directly to Mexico or Brazil?

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    Replies
    1. No, only from ZAG.

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    2. :D

      But I think the plane can make it nonstop to Mexico.

      P.s not advocating they should fly there though :D

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  8. I think the plan is to get another A330 by the start of next summer season.

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    Replies
    1. Mali and Vucic were saying another would come by the end of 2015.

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    2. I found that Vucic hopes one more widebody comes until end of 2016, not 2015. Even if it comes in spring 2017 it might be ready for PEK in summer season.
      http://tangosix.rs/2015/25/12/vucic-a330-dolazi-iz-indije-do-kraja-2016-jos-jedan-er-srbija-zeli-da-slece-na-pristinu-sa-turcima-radimo-ladevce/

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    3. @Nebojsa you are right. I meant to write 2016 for some reason mixed it up.

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  9. I would prefer they focus on USA/Canada and leave this route to one of their Interline partners.

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    1. They might expand in the USA but Canada is not planned in the near future.

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    2. Do you know why?

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    3. They think Toronto is highly seasonal and could not work year round. They also assumed low probability of Air Transat or Air Canada Rouge starting seasonal flights to Belgrade in the next couple of years.

      They made a mistake. Air Transat has enough flexibility to expand as they demonstrated by doubling Zagreb for next summer, but the real threat comes from Air Canada Rouge. They are doing great and will receive 5 more Boeings 767 in 2017, perfect for low yield seasonal expansion in Europe. They have also embarked on a mission to lift the 50 aircraft cap and renegotiate growth. With Air Serbia firmly away from Toronto in the next couple of years, Air Canada Rouge to Belgrade seems like a sure thing now.

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    4. Both Belgrade Airport and Air Canada Rouge will be at World Routes 2016.

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    5. Air Transat posted very poor financial results for 2nd quarter.

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    6. AT is not doing well at all, they are trying to adjust the network but it is not working well for them as they offer very poor service compare to schedule airlines on the same routes.They keep trying different destinations but advance booking is poor unless they offer crazy seat sales. ZAG should be profitable as they given a good amount of money by the CRO turizam office to do seasonal flights.

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    7. AT is not doing well at all, they are trying to adjust the network but it is not working well for them as they offer very poor service compare to schedule airlines on the same routes.They keep trying different destinations but advance booking is poor unless they offer crazy seat sales. ZAG should be profitable as they given a good amount of money by the CRO turizam office to do seasonal flights.

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    8. For starters, Transat should not squeeze 350 on board their 330. I mean, come on man, these flights are up to 12hrs long, you can't expect me to be still all that time in the seat. Everyone who I know, that has flown them to Europe, said never again. They all get lured by cheaper (like 100$ less) tickets and then they cry afterwards :)

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  10. Is Etihad happy about this?

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    1. Apart from the fact that it is Etihad that handles Air Serbia route planning, I also remember reading on several occasions interviews with Hogan where he says the biggest potential in the future air market is China

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  11. If Romania with over 20 mln. population and booming economy can't afford to have long-haul flights to China, why do you think that Serbia have the potential? I think we should be realistic the market size and to try to bite a bigger bite that the one we can swallow. It's nice to fly everywhere, but it's not profitable.

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    Replies
    1. Romania does not have flights to the US either. It's not all about size. It is about how you position yourself on the market.

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    2. Why don't you explain this to Etihad? They plan and approve ASL's routes.

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    3. Anon. 9.53. Well, Qatar has smaller economy than Romania.
      I rest my case.

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    4. @ Anonymous September 9, 2016 at 10:09 AM
      Qatar have smaller economy than Romania? On which planet?

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    5. On the planet Earth. Obviously not on the planet where you reside.
      Parochial thinking, expressed by anon 9.53 obviously did not stop Qataris. Good for them.

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    6. Qatar has a 0.4% unemployment rate where Romania has 1.1%, at least $10 billion more in annual revenues than Romania, the S&P rates them as BBB- for both domestic and foreign credit, while Qatar is AA for the same. How then is Romania's economy stronger?

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    7. Because Romania has bigger economy than Qatar, both nominal and PPP GDP. Just google it please

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    8. @Alex Popov
      China also fares worse then Qatar in unemployment and domestic and foreign credit. Still, it is bigger economy. Believe me ;-)

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    9. Hahaha...the size of economy is measured by nominal gdp and Qatar has way bigger economy than Romania. The guy who said google it...said all about his ignorance with it.

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    10. Michael, what is funny is that you can't read a simple table.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)
      See? Qatar is below Romania. It is no wonder. It is a super small country. But luckily not parochial in aviation business.

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  12. Air Serbia (Pristina to Belgrade) ????

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    Replies
    1. A political deal has to be reached first. JU is ready to start flights as soon as that happens.

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    2. Air Serbia will probably start this route with Aviolet B737 so they can begin as soon as they get the all clear.

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  13. When Air Serbia strated flights to US there was a steady stream of aiport/ government officials in Croatia saying how flights from Ceoatia to the US would start soon. Now that Zagreb is getting flights to Beijing the same is happening in Serbia.

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    Replies
    1. I believe potential JU flights to China are much more realistic than OU flights to US (or some US carrier to Croatia)

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    2. Except that:
      - this is not the first time we hear about a route between BEG and China
      - a route between ZAG and China has not started yet

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    3. Dotle Mali pregovara sa Teheranom o letu.

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  14. Could PEK have more passengers than JFK?

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  15. On Sept 06 flew BEG-SVO JU654 (APF) ... economy was 100% full and business had 3 pax. From what I could see many of the passengers where Chinese and continuing further to China via SVO. I happened to be in business class; service was good but nothing extraordinary and I can remark that catering quality dropped since the inauguration of AirSerbia. Crew was professional and courteous. Captain made 3-4 announcements and even mentioned the splendid view of Moscow prior to landing which was a nice touch! Departed with 15 minutes delay because one of the transfer pax from SKP forgot his documents in the bag that was somehow sent to the cargo hull and we had to wait until that bag was retrieved and brought into the cabin ..turned out that it was a small laptop bag so no idea how it ended as luggage opposed of being a carry on item!?!?!.... landed 13 min late. Unfortunately seems that the return flight had a poor pax load as there were only a few people in the departing lounge waiting for boarding.

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    Replies
    1. I do not get your point. Catering quality in J dropped since the inauguration of Air Serbia? Comparing to what? Jat Airways?
      Business class in Air Serbia planes are maybe the best in Europe.
      http://www.businessclass.co.uk/reviews/air-serbia-business-class-london-belgrade-europes-largest-underdog-airline/

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    2. Nebojsa, what I meant is that catering quality dropped and was better at the start of AirSerbia when they started their operations. The quality of J class product is quite good but there could be a few improvements done: a) bread basket b) starter dish doesn't exist c) white wine was not chilled as it should be (had to use ice) d) main dish was tasty but the appearance could be better e) no drink refills (had to ask for) f) no Serbian dish on the menu outbound from Beg (there was one before) g) price for J class in the mid time went up by about 200e ...return SVO-BEG-SVO is around 830e now with the cheaper fare version

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    3. Few times (as i had over 70 flights with them) i was upgraded free to business and i know everytime when i finish the drink they ask me would i like to have more, even if is 15minutes before landing. Maybe on your flight stewards were not in mood.

      But yes, how times pass i see that their catering is bit dropping. Also, I remember when they start in every seat in economy you had the pillow - now you need to ask for it.

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    4. Anon 2:43 PM,

      Why don't you c/p your post and email it to ASL? If the cabin crew in J underperformed on your flight I'm sure the company would take it seriously - they don't want their prime product to earn bad reputation. They may even consider introducing some of the details you've suggested. I really think it is worth sending them a kind feedback.

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    5. Could be. But I think chance that this email is not deleted instantly or dissappears in nirvana is 1%

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    6. You're wrong. Air Serbia answers to all the feedback.

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    7. I agree with above. Write the email, they'll respond!

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  16. Ovde se prave dosta njih strucnjaci za raznim izmisljanjem samo da bi izmislili nesto protiv uspesne ASL. Ne znam kakve veze ima koliko drzava ima Stanovnista sa letovima kompanije .
    INN-NS

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    1. +1 INN je juce bio u pravu.

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    2. Loša kritika je loša kritika. Ali loša, neukusna i neumerena hvala nije mnogo bolja. Jednako su ubedljive.

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    3. Ima gde su laskavci u prednosti. Nadaju se da će im laska pomoći u karijeri.

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    4. To uopste nije hvaljenje nego istina koja vas vredja .
      Ne znam kome spominjete to sa karijerom .
      INN-NS

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  17. Nadam se da ce sledeca ekspanzija biti zajedno PEK i IKA . A linija za PEK ce biti jako profitabilna i ako mnogi drugacije misle .
    Nadam se da ce uskoro biti porudzbina za A330 neo ili A350.
    INN-NS

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    1. Tako je, ti unaprijed znaš što će da bude profitabilno, prije nego se zna hoće li se, koliko će se tjedno i s čime će da se leti.

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    2. To i nije neko čudo, INN-NS uglavnom daje takve super optimistične izjave. Negativan je jedino kada strančari.

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    3. Svako ko se razume zna da ce linija za PEK bilo ko je bude obavljao biti profitabilna iz velikih razloga kao sto su :
      Postoji veliki deo O&D putnika iz EX YU pogotovu SRB za Kinu + BG i RO. I da ne pricamo o Kargo Teretu .
      INN-NS

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    4. A ti znaš sve podatke vezano za cargo i koliko će transfernih putnika iz exYu da leti sa AirSerbiom za PEK? Ti se razumeš?

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    5. On barem ne stalkuje druge ljude kao što ti i još nekoliko trolova svakodnevno radite i to vam se toleriše.

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    6. Pa normalno kad se vidi znali bi da bi 2 pw moglo da se leti na osnovu O&D putnika iz ex yu.
      INN-NS

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  18. Few days ago: http://www.airliners.net/photo/Air-Serbia/Airbus-A330-202/3953409

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    1. So where are the predictions of Air Serbia's A330 going tech and all the difficulty in operating the route with a single airliner?

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  19. If Air Serbia wants to to China they need an other widebody possibly an other a330 or a brand new a350

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  20. -Hey Mr. Vučić, did you hear that Zagreb is going to have flights to Irkutsk? (*giggles)

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    1. @ 3:29: so true :-D

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    2. @Anonymous September 9, 2016 at 3:29 PM
      +1000

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  21. Brilliant news! We usually talk about Chinese business but keep forgetting Chinese tourists coming to visit Europe. This way JU can compete with LO and/or code-share on the route.
    Again, I am still hoping that Etihad will inject more money in JU and successfully conduct this project. Air Berlin, Jet Airways and especially NIKI were a disaster. Not to speak about Darwin. Lets hope JFK and soon PEK prove to be successful.

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    1. Etihad to inject more money? How much they have "injected" so far, because I know only about 60 mln.
      JU to compete with LO? Do you have a light idea about the difference in size between them?

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  22. ASL...a line to Beijing, bwahahahahaha! Someone was talking about dreamers here the other day, clearly that only applies to everyone BUT Serbs on this site. When Serbs start talking nonsense, that's not dreaming, that's legit. Admin...please stop this!

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    1. I will gladly quote your post in a year.

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    2. When Croatians starts dreaming every airline is starting flight to ZAG.So lets figure this out ASL could have line to PEK its they decision but you CTN cant even have flight to Brussels with jet plane-...

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    3. @Michael: kompleksi, kompleksi...

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    4. Michael thinks that adding hahaha to his post makes him more persuasive. It does make him funny, but not in the way he intends.

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    5. Beijing is not just a dream for JU. You should know that JU also operated Beijing route in the past:
      http://www.jetphotos.net/photo/450989

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  23. This is how it starts. The same thing happened for JFK. Air Serbia posted a job listing for a North American market manager. People on this site were saying that this is nonsense and that it means nothing.

    What is obvious is that there is political desire within the Serbian government to start flights to China.

    Making an agreement with a GSA just for a minor codeshare with Air China over Vienna doesn't make sense. Something larger is happening here. I think we will see YU-ARB for Summer 2017.

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    1. It seems like it may be heading in that direction, although I thought ORD and YYZ would happen first.

      I still think it is a big mistake to cut LED, HAM, and KBP. You will need flights like these to feed JFK & PEK.
      I would like to see IKA 3x per week to start. And all ex-yugo major cities must go 2x daily.

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    2. I think they said weeks ago they are keeping HAM. Did something change?

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    3. Yup BEG-HAM is staying operated by A319

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  24. Could be just new ASL codeshare with Chinese airline that will fly to Belgrade in 2017. July news:

    "Flights between Beijing and Belgrade are set to begin next year after the Serbian government entered into talks with a yet-to-be named Chinese carrier over the matter on Wednesday"

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