The Chairman of the Air Serbia Supervisory Board, Siniša Mali, has said the carrier has recorded strong results on its Belgrade - New York service since its launch in mid-June, adding that the airline is on "the right path" to record continued passenger growth on the route in 2017. "More people are flying on the Belgrade - New York service (and vice versa) than we expected and this is a good indicator that we made the right decision to open this route. Over the past six months, we have carried more than 40.000 passengers on these flights and have managed to position both Belgrade and Serbia as a prominent point in the region", Mr Mali said. He added, "We are the only country in the region to have flights to New York operated by our own national carrier". In addition to solid passenger numbers, Air Serbia has transported a wide variety of cargo to the United States, including food products made in Serbia and Italy, garments and machine parts from Turkey and Romania, mail from Russia and Greece and safety glass from Croatia.
Mr Mali noted that the airline's New York service has been popular with transfer passengers who either start or end their journey from places such as Sarajevo, Skopje, Zagreb, Sofia, as well as other cities, adding that this was one of the aims of the route. "It was a major decision to launch these flights, the first to the United States operated by our airline since 1992 and I think we have shown that we are on the right path with the results achieved over the past six months. I expect for passenger numbers to grow next year. This year, the public first found out about this route and people need some time to get used to it".
The Chairman of the Air Serbia Supervisory Board confirmed that the airline will not be the operating carrier of the upcoming flights between China and Belgrade, which are to launch "in the next few months". Instead, these will be run by Chinese airlines. "This will be another great opportunity for Belgrade to position itself as the bridge between East and West. This is extremely important for our economic and trade growth", Mr Mali concluded. Air China, Hainan Airlines and China Eastern Airlines have all entered into negotiations to commence flights from Beijing to Belgrade next year, while a fourth carrier, from China's South (tipped to be China Southern Airlines) is also considering the service. Another city in China could also be linked with Belgrade next year. China and Serbia will abolish visa restrictions for each others' nationals on January 1, 2017.