- Germania Flug to launch Niš flights
- Etihad looking for new investment opportunities in Serbia
- Air Serbia handles almost 60.000 passengers on its New York service
- EX-YU nations implement joint air control project
- easyJet to launch Milan - Zadar service
- Adria Tehnika looks at servicing new Bombardier C-series jets
- Rijeka Airport closes for runway repairs
- DAY 2 COVERAGE HERE
17.40: Rijeka Airport has closed its doors for runway repairs as it prepares for a busy 2017. The move comes several days after Pula Airport did the same to overhaul its runway. More details can be found here.
16.55: Air Serbia is in the process of developing a mobile phone app, which will give it a possibility to offer additional services to passengers. The carrier’s Head of Direct Sales, Veljko Ristić says, “Air Serbia is looking to become much more customer-centric where we can engage and communicate with our guests throughout the whole journey and meet their expectations”.
16.30: Adria Tehnika is building on its partnership with Bombardier and is looking at extending its services to the aircraft manufacturer's C-series line of jets.
16.20: Adria Tehnika’s Deputy CEO, Mirjana Tratnjek Čeh, says Adria Airways now accounts for only 30% of its revenues, compared to 60% several years ago. According to Ms Tratnjek Čeh, Adria Tehnika is seeking long-term partners with its focus being on low cost carriers. “We need to build stronger relationships with budget carriers and so far we are succeeding”, Ms Tratnjek Čeh says. Adria Tehnika recently secured a deal to maintain easyjet aircraft. The service provider does work on narrow-body Airbus jets and regional Bombardier aircraft. Ms Tratnjek Čeh notes that this is good for seasonality as Airbus jets are more commonly serviced during the winter, while Bombardiers during the summer.
14.05: Dubrovnik Airport General Manager notes that conditions set by Ryanair to fly to the city were “unacceptable”. “Everyone has the same conditions and treatment at our airport”, Mr Tolić says. Earlier this year, Ryanair and Dubrovnik Airport entered talks over future flights, however, plans for the low cost airline to launch services to the city never materialised.
13.55: The Deputy General Manager of operator TAV Macedonia, Alper Ersoy, notes that subsidies enjoyed by Wizz Air in the country are in line with European Union regulation. Mr Ersoy said that there is always a risk when dealing with no frills airlines as they can leave the market if they see no profit. However, Mr Ersoy adds that subsidies in Macedonia were offered in order to create a market. “If Wizz leaves, another will come even without initial subsidies”. The Deputy General Manager also believes there needs to be a balance between legacy and low cost carriers at any airport.
13.40: The General Manager of Dubrovnik Airport, Roko Tolić, says the airport is happy not to be part of a concession arrangement and can support its own growth. “There will be no changes to the ownership structure at Dubrovnik”, Mr Tolić said.
11.55: easyJet will launch flights from Milan Malpensa Airport to Zadar next summer season, marking its fourth city of operation in Croatia following Dubrovnik, Pula and Split. Further details can be found here.
12.40: The Serbia and Montenegro Air Traffic Services Agency (SMATSA), Croatia Control and the Bosnia and Herzegovina Air Navigation Services Agency (BHANSA) have implemented a new air control project which offers airlines the chance to plan and execute free route flights around the clock. More details can be found here.
11.30: Next week, Air Serbia will hit close handling 60.000 passangers on its Belgrade - New York service since its launch in late June. Mr Kondić said the results have surpassed the airline's estimates, considering regulatory hurdles and the late start of ticket sales. "We will be much wiser and smarter next year after we have one summer and one winter behind us. I am very proud of what we have built and what we offer". On the other hand, the Chief Financial Officer of Aegean Airlines, Michalis Kouveliotis, says the airline has no plans for long haul flying in the next few years.
11.10: Air Serbia CEO, Dane Kondić, says the airline is competing "pretty good" against low cost airlines. "Over the next two days we will surpass the number of passengers we carried last year and there is still three weeks to go. If we were struggling we wouldn't be continuing to grow", Mr Kondić said. He added, "The business is evolving and changing. What's relevant today can become irrelevant tomorrow. You have to look what's happening around you and adapt or die. What's happening in Niš is good for Niš but I'm not sure that nine euro fares is what you end up with. People forget that we fly to primary airports, which is more convenient for passengers. If you have to travel three hours to Niš and then travel to secondary airports.... Most write about what we take, but not about what Air Serbia gives to the Serbian economy". Mr Kondić noted that the airline is supporting local industry and contributing significantly to the local economy.
10.40: The Etihad Group is currently in talks to open a call centre in Serbia to service its European partners. Etihad is also reviewing MRO (Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul) opportunities in Serbia as well.
10.35: The President and CEO of the Etihad Aviation Group says the legacy model must be reworked. He adds, "Air Serbia is on the right journey and is the right shape and right size. We are totally committed to the future of Air Serbia. While on the one hand there are some challenges, on the other there are huge opportunities".
10.10: The Head of the Air Serbia Supervisory Board and the Mayor of Belgrade, Siniša Mali, has announced the Serbian capital will see one or two new direct flights to China in the next few months.
09.55: Zurich-based carrier Germania Flug will launch flights between the Swiss city and Niš next summer season, competing directly against Swiss International Air Lines on the route. More information can be found here.
The first Southeast Europe Aviation Summit (SEAS) begins in Belgrade today, bringing together a number of airports, airlines, regulators and other key stakeholders in the industry from across the region. EX-YU Aviation News will be following today's Summit live and will bring you the latest as it happens. The two-day event is set to begin at 10.00 CET with an address from the President and CEO of the Etihad Aviation Group, James Hogan. It will be followed by a discussion on the Southeast European aviation market by Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, and the Chief Financial Officer of Aegean Airlines, Michalis Kouveliotis.
During the afternoon, Jakob Funkenstein from Boeing will present a regional market outlook from the aircraft manufacturer. Boeing has seen its presence in the former Yugoslavia decline significantly among commercial carriers over the past decade. Croatia Airlines retired its Boeing jets by 1999, which saw it move to Airbus. The airline has four aircraft from the European manufacturer on order. Following Etihad's part-takeover of Jat Airways and its subsequent rebranding into Air Serbia, its once ten-strong Boeing fleet has been reduced to four, operated by the airline's charter brand Aviolet. Instead, the carrier opted for ten Airbus jets for its fleet renewal and has a further ten on order. On the other hand, both Adria Airways and Montenegro Airlines operate a mix of different types of aircraft, but none from the American manufacturer.
Airport privatisations and concessions in Southeast Europe will be another topic of discussion during today's Summit, with the General Manager of Dubrovnik Airport, Roko Tolić, the General Manager of Brać Airport, Tonči Peović, the Deputy General Manager of TAV Macedonia, Alper Ersoy, as well as the Advisor to the General Manager of Belgrade Airport, Aleksandra Stanisavljević, and the airport's Director of Investment and Development, Marko Marković, set to speak. Later on, the Deputy CEO of maintenance company Adria Tehnika, Mirjana Tratnjek Čeh, and the Head of Marketing and Sales at Jat Tehnika, Vladislav Stajić, will discuss Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul organisations in the region. In the evening, the travel technology company, Sabre, which runs an air travel reservations system, will host a panel on the application of high tech solutions in air transport, which will include officials from Air Serbia, Alitalia and Etihad. The Serbian carrier will be switching to the Sabre reservation system early next year, which it says will allow it to introduce a number of innovations which will signal a "step-change" in its business.
The second a final day of the Summit on Wednesday will focus on aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus, Bombardier, Embraer and Mitsubishi at a time when both Croatia Airlines and Air Serbia are looking at expanding their regional fleet. Furthermore, a greater focus will be put on airports, with officials from Zadar, Pula, Niš, Užice and Mostar airports set to take part, as well as those from airport operators TAV Macedonia, Airports of Montenegro and Airports of Republika Srpska.
A full agenda can be found here. This news will updated throughout the day.