Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Air China: Belgrade flights "very promising"


Air China has said it is interested in launching flights to Belgrade, noting that a future service to the Serbian capital is looking "very promising". Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News, representatives from the Chinese national carrier at the Belgrade Tourism Fair said, "Air China flights to Belgrade are looking very promising at the moment. Presently, we don't exactly know the launch date or times. It all depends on an agreement between the Serbian Prime Minister and our Prime Minister. We hope to spread our wings to Belgrade very soon. That's why we are here". The Chinese carrier featured its own stand at the Tourism Fair for the first time last week, manned mostly by representatives from its Budapest office.

Last Friday, the Serbian Prime Minister said that a privately owned Chinese carrier would launch flights between Beijing and Belgrade, which would put the state-owned Air China out of contention for the service. However, state officials have previously noted that two routes out of China are currently being negotiated - one from Beijing and the other from Shanghai. The possible resumption of flights between the two countries after almost two decades is expected to be announced next month during the state visit of the outgoing Serbian President to China.

Initial discussions over a possible air link between China and Serbia began in late 2013, when the then General Manager of Belgrade Airport, Velimir Radosavljević, told China Radio International there was a possibility for the Serbian capital to be linked with Beijing through Air China. In 2014, the two countries signed an Agreement for the Establishment of Air Traffic. The following year, Air Serbia began codesharing on Air China's services between Vienna and Beijing, while the Chinese national carrier placed its code onto Air Serbia's flights between Belgrade and the Austrian capital. The last time a Chinese airline operated flights to Belgrade was prior to the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. Services were initially launched from Beijing in 1972 by Air China’s predecessor CAAC and were operated with an Ilyushin Il-62 via Karachi. Later on, the flights were upgraded to a Boeing 707 and later a B767. Services continued on to Budapest and Zurich, depending on the year of operation.

154 comments:

  1. To me Air China makes more sense than Hainan, especially since these flights are being negotiated on a political level. Plus they have a codeshare with Air Serbia.

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  2. This is a politically driven route.

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    1. sure it is. it's not that Serbia and China have good economic relations

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    2. It's a politically driven route but it does make a lot of sense.

      BEG-BNX was also a political route but in the end it proved to be a success for Air Serbia.

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    3. Not sure what point you are trying to make ... so what if it is a politically driven route ? Aren't all of China's foreign investments politically driven given that the companies making such investments are state owned ?

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    4. Did you just suddenly wake up and realise that ? Aviation is ALL about politics - the right to fly between countries is vested in govts negotiating and agreeing traffic rights - not companies. Logic therefore dictates that some routes will be commercial in nature, while others will be political in nature - just like any investments that are made

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    5. The point being, is that when politics and not pure commerce drives business decisions then things can change overnight.
      What happens when this really China friendly government leaves office? What happens when BEG is given to consesoners'? And they don't like the deal the 'previous' gov gave to Air China? How long of a political honeymoon will the route have if load factors prove to be continuously weak?

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    6. Let me continue your questions:

      What happens if an earthquake strikes Belgrade and ruins the runway?

      What happens if war breaks out in East Asia?

      What happens if Chinese Yuan loses value?

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    7. Mine are legitimate questions, you are just being a silly little boy.

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    8. Your questions are typical political activism that regularly pollutes this blog. If you think that airlines only open routes that have a 100-year certificate on commercial sustainability you are free to start your own carrier and do the business that way. Meanwhile everyone else will continue to grab opportunities as they appear, and let them go when they are not attractive anymore. Your 'what if' assignment to portrait Serbia as a some kind of political prison where everything is fake and unsustainable would be much more welcome among the readers of tabloids and your fellow political activists than on this blog.

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    9. It seems that you do not like any dissenting opinions, however legitimate they are.
      Thank you for suggesting that I can start my own carrier, but I have neither the time nor the inclination to venture into the aviation business.

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  3. With Air China the flights could make a stop in Budapest and continue to BEG. Possible 5th freedom on the BUD-BEG segment would be interesting because it could replace Air Serbia's route to BUD that was suspended 2 years ago and cold feed other flights as well.

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    1. The BUD flight makes a stop in MSQ, enough of Budapest already. Air Serbia should restart it themselves. This'll be maybe via OTP/SOF.

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    2. Ah didn't know they already fly to BUD via Minsk.

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    3. Belavia flies to BEG via BUD.

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    4. But without any sort of codeshare on to ASL which is really annoying.

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  4. Oh come on! And the Oscar goes to... is it Air China, Hainan... or both?

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    Replies
    1. Booth, Bejing and Shangai.

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    2. Q400 be a little more creative.

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  5. Wouldn't having flights to both Beijing and Shanghai be a bit too much?

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    1. 2 completely different cities with significant geographic distance between each one and each having populations inexcess of 15m people which would serve 2 entirely different markets ...

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    2. Definitely not too much. There's inexhaustible potential in each of those cities, with the population of each larger than the whole population of Serbia.

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    3. What about Honk Kong?
      It is the nusiness center of the region and Belgrade is fast becoming the business center of the Balkans.
      A lot of pottential for boosting business links.

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    4. Belgrade the business center of the Balkans? Even Sofija, Zagreb and Bucharest can't pretend to be the business center... The business centers of the Balkans are Istanbul and Athens.

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    5. Athens might have been a decade ago, not anymore.

      Belgrade is becoming a regional center of Chinese influence which is why these flights will happen. Bank of China has already started working btw.

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    6. From the Chinese point of view, Belgrade is the upcoming center of the Balkans and springboard for Chinese business penetration into Europe. Which gives Belgrade a strategic hand in this expansion.

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    7. You sound to me like Nikolic - berlin je srce srbije lol

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    8. LOL Anonymous 9:53 AM!

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  6. I'm wondering what the frequencies between PEK and BEG could be.

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    Replies
    1. Air China's A330-200s have 207 economy and 30 business seats. I think that Air China could start 3 weekly PEK-BEG and fill the planes up well.

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  7. If it's Air China (which I hope it isn't) then we can expect Belgrade to be linked with another city. From what I know they currently fly:

    PEK-MUC-ATH-MUC-PEK
    PEK-VIE-BCN-VIE-PEK

    Maybe they could link Belgrade with Bucharest. Both cities have strong demand for China.

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  8. This makes yesterday's topic and discussion look ridiculous.

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    Replies
    1. Why ? Isn't this a blog to discuss aviation topics, no matter how trivial/important it may be ?

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    2. So much fuss was made about a small airline opening a regional route with a turboprop and most likely seasonal.

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  9. Is Etihad happy about this?

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    Replies
    1. What can Etihad do? Should they complain only to have their own access to the Chinese market restricted?

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    2. My guess is that Etihad doesn't really care. If you think about it, the routing from Belgrade to China via AUH is not direct at all. I am sure most passengers are taken away by Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines.

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    3. This has got nothing to do with Etihad. Plus they will get their slice of the cake through the codeshare between JU and the Chinese airline, whichever one it may be.

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    4. how will they exactly get that slice? there is no dividend

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    5. "My guess is that Etihad doesn't really care. If you think about it, the routing from Belgrade to China via AUH is not direct at all. I am sure most passengers are taken away by Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines."

      You really think passengers have the slightest idea which of the mentioned routes is more direct? Price > all.

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    6. Correct - EY doesn't really care. They gave up months ago

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    7. Are you implying that EY has any inflence on the bilateral relations between Serbia and China? Lol

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    8. You'd be surprised to know how easy the government of Serbia can be influenced...

      Either way I don't think EY would mind this as JU probably does not feed AUH with too many passengers to China. As someone already noticed, SU and TK would take a much stronger hit with these flights.

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    9. I think Beijing has more sway over the Serbian government than Etihad.

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  10. Last week Hainan, this week Air China, I'm predicted Xiamen Air. Air China are en route to ZAG. That's all

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    1. When ? The last reported news was of Beijing Capital Airlines flying to ZAG, not Air China. Perhaps by next week someone else may be interested too ?

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    2. Btw any announcements about ZAG? Flights were supposed to start this summer?

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    3. The focus for the Chinese has clearly shifted to BEG. I doubt they will bother with ZAG anymore. BEG certainly seized the moment here, focusing on the far east, rather than just eastern Europe.

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    4. Not only that but the Chinese seem to have covered well the region with flights to Vienna, Budapest and soon Belgrade. Only one that could work is Bucharest.

      Zagreb can be nicely served via CA's Star partners, OU and OS.

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    5. I'm predicting ZAG and OU are up to something given all the significant news coming out of their camps. It's clear that they are creating a Star Alliance hub. Insider information confirms a UA and CA announcement imminent flights to ZAG shortly. Very exciting times ahead

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    6. UA announced it summer schedule yesterday. There was no mention of Zagreb.

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    7. And CA knows already that both BEG and ZAG would be too much for this region anyway, at least for the time being

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    8. CA serves ZAG via Vienna and it works fine. Maybe they will extend it to Zagreb next summer.

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    9. @AnonymousFebruary 28, 2017 at 9:43 AM

      Don't think UA will head for Zagreb this year, no idea if any North american airline will, apart from Canadians.

      Next year Air Canada Rouge might come to Zagreb, as they'll have additional 12 B7673s on disposal.

      UA might come next year too, but it is early days. Aer Lingus, SAS, TAP and Vueling might be coming to Zagreb this year. EasyJet and few others next year.

      Even with only current carriers and Emirates, Zagreb is looking at 3.2 million pax comfortably.

      Next year if 7 additional carriers come to Zagreb, 3.75 million.

      Things are finally moving for the better.

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    10. 7 additional carriers?? Hold your horses my friend :)

      And Vueling already flies to ZAG.

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    11. Zagreb is on fire!
      The new terminal seems to attract loads of new service.

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    12. It's demand that attracts airlines, not a flashy terminal

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    13. So far demand for flying to ZAG exceeds demand for flying to BEG.
      And new, flash terminals do attract airline service.

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    14. "So far demand for flying to ZAG exceeds demand for flying to BEG."

      That's why ZAG has significantly more passengers than BEG.

      Oh wait.

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    15. This growth ZAG is experiencing, BEG saw it back in 2010. You are 7 years behind schedule.

      Also, growth past year wasn't as spectacular. Even in January you were one of the few ex-YU airports not to have double digit growth.

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    16. ZAG has consistently higher increase in passengers numbers than BEG does. And for quit some time now.
      Sorry if it gets people angry.

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    17. The last time I checked ZAG hasn't added an extra million in a single year. Zagreb had a greater growth last year only because JU stagnated. Look at this January, Belgrade grew by 14% while ZAG by mere 7%

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    18. How about ignoring the fact there was only one international airport in Serbia at the time and now two, comparing to 7 of them in Croatia?

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  11. Great news. Especially in the year where BEG will be given up for concession, it makes it look as even more of an appealing investment. Great to see big players coming to the scene at BEG.

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  12. If these flights launch, Aeroflot would be most affected on their Belgrade route. They carry the majority of Chinese from/to BEG.

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    Replies
    1. A lot of people have started using Alitalia via Rome for these flights as well, especially since you can earn Etihad miles on them.

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  13. Ko ce iz Srbije putovati u Kinu?

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    1. Poslovni ljudi, turisti I kineska dijaspora koja zivi ovde.

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    2. With an ordinary passport of Serbia you can travel visa free to China for 30 days. This is valid from January 15th 2017. Great!

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    3. Шверцери иду бусом у Станбул, не у Пекинг.

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    4. Vise je naglasak na one koji ca da putuju iz Kine u Srbiju. Both business and tourist travel between China and Serbia is booming.

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    5. sverceri (pocnes sa stanbul pa posle neko vreme kina => kao ja)

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  14. I hope Air China has improved a bit. I flew with them a long time ago last time in 2001. It was the most excruciating flight I ever took.

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    1. I flew with recently over Xmas/NY holidays (CDG-PEK-MNL return) in economy on 777/A330 and I was expecting a nightmare but it turned out to be just fine in terms of both legroom and service. The crew was nice but they spoke really basic English. PEK on the other hand was a nightmare since they were hand searching all the luggage of all the connecting passengers and performing the most thorough check I've ever witnessed. I had a long connection but ended up spending well over 2 hours in different lines and it was just an international transfer. All in all, I would pick them again for 450€ return to the Philippines over Xmas holidays. :D

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    2. If u check seatguru, CA has one of the best seatpitches in Y class in the market.

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  15. Bravo! Congratulations on this great news! I am sure they alone can bring a lot of growth to BEG.

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  16. Replies
    1. Bravo Srbijo!
      Ako se g. "Bravo Hrvatska" zavadio sa vokativom, ne moras i ti.

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  17. Zagreb management have shown that they can keep all future plans quiet so I wouldn't be surprised if there is still an interest from China to launch flights that we could possibly see a link included here with Zagreb.

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    1. That would be rather bad news for Emirates which is selling ZAG-PEK for as little as €350.

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    2. That simply shows how difficult it is for them to fill these flights, so they have to resort to classic price dumping to generate any and all possible loads across every market.... It is cheaper than most flights from Europe to DXB, let alone all the way to China... EK are gonna lose their shirts with this flight to ZAG. They should simply make it seasonal to minimise their losses

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    3. So whom should we thank for these fares? Our friends in Croatia whose taxpayer money will cover the difference, or our friends in Dubai who have no taxes to pay and will therefore cover the difference from the oil-propped state funds?

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    4. He he. Boomerang effect.

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    5. Emirates is selling PEK cheap from all of Europe, its not only a ZAG thing. pls relax ;)

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    6. But if there was more demand from ZAG then fares would have been higher. Also it's nowhere as cheap as out of ZAG to fly to PEK. It's indicative. They probably feel that there is going to be a direct flight soon.

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    7. Yes, they are going to cancel ZAG very soon ;) Just chill guys, you have still the biggest airport in Ex YU, and ASL is a big company. Relax :)

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    8. "They probably feel that there is going to be a direct flight soon." ...that, or their loads are abysmal.

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    9. Check again, 350 is very old news, fares are updated and now lowest on Ek all in is in range of 600EUR. Overall, current EK fares from ZAG are not exactly low.

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    10. @2:24
      No one on this comment mentioned BEG or JU, so maybe you should relax?

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    11. Regarding EK China is one the hardest markets to penetrate, the Chinese just wont give them additional access

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    12. So much pettiness... BTW, EK to KUL is more expensive than QR. What does that say?

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    13. Just notice that flights EK ex China to Europe are well more expensive than EK ex Europe to China. That's the rule nearly all the time.

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  18. http://www.airlinequality.com/airline-reviews/air-china/

    Lets hope it's not Air China.

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  19. Is it true that the majority of the Chinese living in Serbia are from near the Shanghai region?

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    Replies
    1. Yes so I suppose any airline that links Belgrade with Beijing will see a lot of connections to Shanghai.

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  20. China Southern, China Eastern, Xiamen Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines soon! Which one?

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    Replies
    1. The Chinese ambassador in Serbia has said that talks have started with 3 airlines - Air China, Hainan Airlines and China Eastern Airlines

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  21. It looks like this part of the world is still not annoyed of talking Chinese opportunities (billion USDs worth trades, million tourist stories etc.). The fact is, there's no Chinese paradise, China will neither direct millions of tourists to a specific market, nor bring billion USDs of FDI. Although it's always great to dream about something, note that it can be used for speculative purposes when politicians are involved.

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    1. And are you saying Chinese 'investment' is any different from the German, British or American one?
      What massive benefit has Serbia received from German or Austrian investment in the country? At least the Chinese are transforming Belgrade into their regional hub from where they will expand their influence.

      What has Germany done besides exploit the citizens of this country? Not to mention that China supports Serbia sa far as Kosovo goes.

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    2. Someone needs a chill pill

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    3. I bet Anon 11:50 is the same guy who regularly repeats that Zagreb expects up to one million Chinese tourists by 2020.

      And the same guy who used to call all MEB3 political toys of notorious human rights violators - up until the moment EK announced ZAG. Now at least one of these political toys magically converted into the best thing that can possibly happen to an airport.

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    4. You forgot the same person who attacked JU for 'dumping' its fares but has no issue when TK, QR or EY do it in ZAG.

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    5. Of course. When others open routes and dump prices it is: 'the more, the merrier - let this happy hour last forever'. Only when JU does it is a politically motivated conspiracy.

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    6. I am anon 11:50,

      To make it clear, same goes for ZAG or ZAD or whoever has the dreams of "signing a magical deal" and expects "Chinese tourist and money" rain! I'm telling you, this is not the reality and it won't happen anywhere. Nevertheless, sweet dreams!

      For the rest of claims, I guess you addressed to the wrong person.

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  22. OT: Fraport in the race for BEG concession.

    http://www.b92.net/biz/vesti/srbija.php?yyyy=2017&mm=02&dd=28&nav_id=1235059

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    1. In the race with no prospects of winning

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    2. They should have extended the range to 500km.

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    3. If you read between the lines this is interesting news. Either it means no serious bidder has shown interest so far (the deadline has already been extended by 15 days) and it's not time to pull sleeves; or it means the stupid politicians have inadvertently announced the winner before the bids have even been opened.

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    4. At least Fraport will build new Terminal @ BEG - look at the new terminals in VAR and BOJ and their plans for LJU as well. Good luck to them!!! :)

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    5. BEG doesn't need a new terminal for another 6-8 years... have you been out there mid morning or mid afternoon ? It is like a ghost town.

      It needs the current space modernised and better re-arranged to provide better F&B options and it is in dire need of baggage sortation facilities. Beyond that, once traffic grows, it needs slot coordination.

      A new terminal would only result in an increase of airport charges for airlines, which would then make BEG uncompetitive vs other airports in teh region.

      It has a long way to go before it needs a new terminal. What it has is already under utilised and poorly managed

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    6. Belgrade heavily relies on Air Serbia which has its hub there. That means that its departures happen in 'waves.' That's where the airport has to make sure there is enough room for the airline to remain competitive.

      Sure, Air Serbia can add a departure to Sofia at 10.00 but what would be the point of that?

      Belgrade might not need a new terminal but it definitely needs more gates.

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    7. The earlier point was that the airport should encourage and incentivise foreign airlines to fly in the non-JU-peaks ... that way it gets better utlisation of the terminal facility.

      More remote gates (like most other airports have) would satisfy the needs of a shortage of gates in the peaks.

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    8. Do they still value the airport at 500 million Euros?

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    9. Fraport and LJU, i m not very much excited about their work there. At least we can hope that they will decide in march to build a new terminal

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    10. @6:17 PM

      Well, have you seen what FCO looks like past 8AM in the morning, with all the AZ flights departed? It's deserted. So, there are three or fours rush hours daily. That's how it works with airports which serve as hubs for an airline.

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    11. Anon at 6:17, how do you know BEG does not need a new terminal in 6-8 years? Any numbers to back that statement?

      If it needs new terminal in 6-8 years and terminal needs 3-4 years to build, it means new terminal should start construction in 2-3 years. If BEG didn't put any money in T1 renovations and just shut it down instead, they would have to start new terminal construction just about now.

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  23. Opet nagadjanja i tizeri. Sledeci put objavljujemo treceg prevoznika

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  24. OT: Official Wizz with mass expansion out from SKP with numerous increase of destination +1 Ohrid, 3 new routes and 1 new A320 - 4th!!

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    1. Please refer to the dedicated news here

      http://www.exyuaviation.com/2017/02/wizz-air-unveils-skopje-expansion.html

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  25. OT: Adria summer table is out. No new lines.
    https://www.adria.si/assets/Destinacije-in-leti-NOVO/Vozni-red/Summer-17-JP-conn1-SL1.pdf

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    Replies
    1. Seems like someone was a bit drunk while making this pdf. They put: BEG (AMS) and Brussels (BEG).

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  26. Who knows when serbian president will be back from China ?

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  27. Regarding Chinese Airlines they typically invest in business/industry/technology/hotels/logistics/transport near the new destination 6-12 months prior to launch, so evidence may well already exist.

    Serbia has a lot of Chinese investment, and the Croatian port of Rijeka is of significant interest to the Chinese which isn't far from Zagreb.

    Take your pick, both Belgrade, and Zagreb have a good chance of getting a Chinese Airline, maybe both get it.

    Honestly the Chinese have ordered so many aircraft they will have to fly them somewhere.

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    Replies
    1. Difference is that Zagreb isn't too interested in getting closer to the Chinese.

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  28. Beijing-Belgrade-Zagreb-Beijing would be a good solution if allowed and not make any quarrel.

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    Replies
    1. PEK-BEG-ZAG-BEG-PEK, nothing else

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    2. PEK-ZAG-BEG-ZAG-PEK makes more sense.
      Your suggestion involves longer flying.

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    3. By this way it makes sure an higher load factor

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    4. ZAG-BEG with full traffic rights so Purger can fly widebody when visiting Belgrade ;-)

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    5. Unknown PEK-BEG-ZAG-BEG-PEK or PEK-ZAG-BEG-ZAG-PEK makes no difference to the load factor.
      It makes a difference though in flight time.

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  29. LO, SU and QR will immediately crush the route and lower their rates, so the 3 weekly service will not last that long. Good examples of Air China leaving: African destinations.

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    Replies
    1. How low can they go? I've been flying BEG-China (PEK, PVG) for over 10 years now, regularly, and I have paid over 500 euros for a return ticket maybe once. It's always been 350-450, with one SU ticket for only 270 a few years back.

      SU is a big winner on the route because of one thing: generous baggage allowance. For their Chinese flights, they allow 2x23kg in Economy, and that's really important for a lot of travellers on this route. Plus it's a relatively short connection with almost no backtracking. Less than 3 hrs to SVO, plus 7ish to China.

      LO? They've never been on my radar and I fly there a lot. Not really relevant. As for QR, both QR and EY are very much similar when it comes to price and service, and while I prefer EY to SU, it still takes more time via AUH and for cheapest Y tickets only one bag is included.

      But, as with JFK, some people would pay a premium to fly direct. Personally, having a lot of experience with CA on domestic routes, I don't see myself switching over to them.

      Delete
    2. It's no surprise that LO wasn't on your radar since they launched flights only recently. To PEK that is.They've been in Belgrade since 2007.

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  30. This is real signal that deal with Etihad is history. If Serbian goverment push CA to start BEG this will hit Etihad business from BEG to Asia.

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    Replies
    1. Ovo je neka sala nadam se, jer vecu glupost dugo nisam cuo.

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    2. Kakva veza ima 'sala' misliš valjda šala?

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    3. Анон 10.48
      Мислиш шала?

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    4. Ili шала, ili šala, a ne sala, to je nepismeno.

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  31. From 12.07 Wizz Air increases INI-BSL from 2 to 3 weekly.
    A similar increase to Dortmund was already announced.

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    1. That is bad news for JU flights to Switzerland and Munich.

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    2. You mean it's bad news for Wizz Air's BEG-BSL? ;)

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  32. OT - Tonight Air Serbia JU604 BEG-VIE ATR72 LF 68/70

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    Replies
    1. Nice, but why so high LF, any idea?

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    2. VIE is always full

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    3. Well the market is huge and Austrian Airlines is ridiculously expensive. In the past few years they have managed to attract many Austrians who were avoiding JAT.

      There are quite a few connecting passengers as well.

      That being said i think that best metal for this route would be CRJ900 or a similar aircraft, since there are still people who avoid turboprops. I think many more people would opt for ASL considering their prices, especially when you introduce a good new aircraft and eliminate the "fear factor".

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  33. Nadam se da ce se ostvariti i letovi za PEK i PVG bilo bi odlicno da ce se leteti za PVG 3 pw i PEK 4 pw .
    Naravno odlicno bi bilo da HU leti sa 788 i da ce CA leteti sa A330 leteti za BEG imati uspeha na tim letovima za BEG.
    INN-NS

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  34. Let's introduce some hard facts to this BS filled forum - all data for Jan-Dec 2016.
    BEG-Shanghai: 15,500 pax (both ways), 80% with SU, about 3% via AUH.
    BEG-Beijing: 12,500 pax, 34% via SVO, 19% IST, 4% AUH.
    ZAG-Shanghai: 5,500 pax, 28% via SVO.
    ZAG-Beijing: 5,000 pax, 26% via SVO.
    BUD-PVG is 12,800 pax, BUD-PEK is 24,000 pax.

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  35. As for ZAG-NYC vs BEG-NYC:
    BEG-NYC is a little over 51,000 pax per year, of which JU has a 61% share.
    BEG-ZAG is non-existent at around 7,000 pax, 11% of whom are connecting via BEG to get to/from NYC.

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