The 2017 summer season will commence in under two months with all of the national carriers in the former Yugoslavia planning to expand their destination networks. However, all four are yet to schedule or put on sale their new services.
Croatia Airlines has so far announced the biggest expansion plans for the summer, which will be accompanied by the arrival of additional aircraft. The carrier's CEO, Krešimir Kučko, recently said, "Feasibility studies have been completed for the launch of new services, most probably to Scandinavia. In addition to Stockholm, this would likely include Oslo as well. We have also completed studies for Moscow and Dublin, and we would boost frequencies on several existing routes during the summer". Yesterday, Mr Kučko met with Croatia's Minister for Tourism and informed him of the carrier's intentions to add flights to Scandinavia, as well as introduce seasonal services between Split and Milan, despite competition from easyJet on the route. Last year, Croatia Airlines commenced new seasonal flights from Zagreb to Prague, Milan, Lisbon and St Petersburg. All four will resume and should be upgraded to year round operations.
Adria Airways has held talks with Lviv and Vinnytsia airports in Ukraine over possible flights this summer. The carrier’s Chief Commercial Officer, Thomas Hoess, previously said, “Ukraine has potential. We are now in negotiations with Ukrainian airports and are exchanging ideas. I cannot go into detail at this moment but we are discussing a direct service between Ljubljana and Ukraine”. The airline last operated to the country six years ago when it ran two weekly seasonal flights from Ljubljana to the capital Kiev. Furthermore, Lithuania's Vilnius Airport is in talks with Adria, as well as several other carriers, over the introduction of subsidised flights to the city. Meanwhile, the Slovenian government has taken the initiative of concluding Air Service Agreements with several countries in the Middle East and Central Asia as Adria "is already examining the possibility of adding these markets to its network". They include Iraq, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
Air Serbia is considering commencing flights between Belgrade and the Iranian capital Tehran this summer. The Chairman of the Air Serbia Supervisory Board, Siniša Mali, noted, "We will undertake a feasibility study and hold talks with Iran Air over potential expenses on the route". In addition, Mr Mali has talked up the prospects of introducing flights to the Kazakh capital Astana in the lead-up to the 2017 Expo, a major bi-annual international exposition which begins in June. "We hope that conditions are met for Air Serbia to launch nonstop flights to Astana", Mr Mali said recently. Meanwhile, the General Manager of Brač Airport in Croatia has revealed that the Serbian carrier is considering starting services to the island, as well as Zadar this summer. Last year, Air Serbia began seasonal flights from Belgrade to Ohrid, Hamburg, Kiev and St. Petersburg. Although Hamburg was extended to year-round operations, the other three are expected to resume this summer.
Montenegro Airlines says "the future of the company is based on new markets and destinations". This summer, the carrier will operate regular one-weekly charter flights between Podgorica and Tehran. Furthermore, the airline is looking at expanding its charter operations, particularly to Germany, Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, as well as the CIS. As a result of its recent wide-ranging codeshare agreement with Air Serbia, Montenegro Airlines is also likely to add additional flights to Belgrade. However, with a new management team appointed yesterday, it remains to be seen how the Montenegrin carrier's network will be affected by the new leadership which is looking to turn around the struggling airline's fortunes.