Air Serbia recorded a third year of operational growth in 2016, driven by the launch of new routes, including New York, and the introduction of a new wide-body aircraft. The carrier handled 2.62 million passengers during the year, up 3% on 2015. Over the course of 2016, Air Serbia ran 33.171 scheduled and charter flights, of which 1.213 were operated by its leisure brand Aviolet. The carrier recorded double digit growth in cargo operations, with 4.913 tonnes of freight and mail uplifted in 2016, representing an annual increase of 31%. The airline's on-time performance (OTP) at its hub in Belgrade was 87.3% (up from 86% the year before), while the overall OTP for the whole Air Serbia network came in at 84% (up from 83.6%).
Network capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), grew 11% year-on-year, from 3.65 to 4.06 billion. The average passenger load factor, a measure of seat capacity utilisation, increased to 72.4% in 2016, compared to 70.7% the year before. The growth of Air Serbia’s network capacity was fueled by the launch of services to New York, St Petersburg, Kiev, Hamburg and Ohrid, which widened the airline’s network reach to 44 destinations. At the same time, the Air Serbia fleet grew to 21 aircraft as the airline took delivery of its first wide-body jet, a 254-seat Airbus A330-200. During the year, the company also signed codeshare agreements with another four airlines, bringing its total number of codeshare partnerships to nineteen carriers and expanding its connectivity to 127 cities.
Commenting on the results, Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, said, "Air Serbia continued to grow its passenger and cargo operations in 2016, bringing more choice and convenience to travelers across Serbia and Southeast Europe. The launch of New York, our biggest operational undertaking to date, really showcased the full benefits of our membership in Etihad Airways Partners in terms of fleet development, training and so forth". He added, “In 2017 we will continue to focus on the long-term sustainable growth of Air Serbia to ensure we continue to hit on the commercial objective set out by our two shareholders, the Government of the Republic of Serbia and Etihad Airways”. The Chairman of the Air Serbia Supervisory Board, Siniša Mali, noted, "2016 was a year for the history books at Air Serbia. The airline achieved major fleet and network milestones and managed to deliver sustainable growth in a tough business environment. The development of Air Serbia is intertwined with the development of Serbia, and was integral to the economic growth recorded last year, the likes of which have never been seen before".