Air Serbia has seen its passenger numbers grow with the airline handling its 2.55 millionth passenger in 2016 yesterday, surpassing its end-of-year result from 2015. The carrier says it is "on track to deliver another successive year of strong operational growth". The improved numbers were attributed to the launch of five new routes in 2016, with Air Serbia expanding its network to 44 destinations. This included the introduction of its transatlantic service to New York, as well as flights to Hamburg, Kiev, Ohrid and St Petersburg. The 2.55 millionth passenger, Biljana Stanivuković, was presented with two return economy class tickets to any destination on Air Serbia’s short-haul network after checking in for a flight from Belgrade to London Heathrow.
Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, said he expects for the airline to handle a further several thousand passengers by year's end. "We are delighted to have already carried 2.55 million passengers this year, breaking the record achieved for the full year of 2015. Our traffic growth has been driven by the expansion of our network in Europe and to North America, and it is especially pleasing to see both our new and established routes performing well", Mr Kondić said. He added. “We are now in the middle of the winter holidays, one of the busiest travel periods of the year, and will carry thousands more guests to and from Belgrade before we wrap up 2016. Sustainable growth has always been at the forefront of our business development strategy at Air Serbia and we will continue to focus on fulfilling this mandate as we enter the new year”.
The Serbian carrier has cemented its position as the busiest airline from the former Yugoslavia in 2016. According to a report by Belgrade Airport for the first three quarters of the year, the carrier's most popular destinations were Zurich, Paris, Podgorica, Tivat and Moscow, with the number of operated flights increasing 1.7% during the nine-month period. Speaking earlier this week, the President and CEO of the Etihad Aviation Group, James, Hogan, said, "With twenty aircraft, 500 weekly flights and 2.5 million passengers, Air Serbia is a leading boutique airline in Europe. This year we reached the strategic milestone of being the only airline from Southeast Europe to fly to the US. What matters even more is that Air Serbia is profitable and contributes to ever greater revenue from inbound tourism".