Air Serbia is looking to evolve its business and product in the coming months, the carrier's CEO, Dane Kondić said as the carrier took home the Airline Market Leader Award at the 43rd annual ATW Airline Industry Achievement Awards in New York last night. Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News, Mr Kondić said the company has a strong mandate from both its majority and minority shareholders, the Serbian government and Etihad Airways, to continue to develop. "It's a great recognition not just for Serbia but for the region aviation-wise. Nobody has ever been recognised at this level from the region, let alone Serbia. It sends a very good message to aviation lovers that good things can come from our part of the world. People often forget that unlike all of our EX-YU friends, and I mean the airlines, we've only had three and half years and they have had significantly longer". He added, "All told, given the legacy that we inherited, the changes we've made, to do all that in three and half years has been really an amazing effort. The fact that someone like ATW has recognised us as market leader is vindication for all that we have done in the last three and a half years".
American Airlines was named ATW's airline of the year due to its recent transformation and integration with US Airways. Other winners included Mexican low cost carrier Volaris (Value Airline), United Airlines (Eco-Airline), Singapore Airlines (Onboard Experience), AltAir (Eco-Company), Pittsburgh International Airport (Airport of the Year) and NAVBLUE (Aviation Technology).
The Serbian carrier is expected to announce a number of changes for 2017, chief of which is the upcoming move to the Sabre system. "It will make the whole system work much more efficiently and it will save us a lot of money in the longer term. It will enable us to do a lot more things that we haven't been able to do. Today all airlines, whether they are full service, somewhere in the middle, or at the other end of the low cost spectrum are all selling bags, and selling seats, monetizing certain things that we call ancillaries, that we can't do and that we haven't been able to do and I know people have been critical of us for not offering fares without bags for example. They are the things that are tangible, that people will be able to see". He noted, "There will also be far more seamless interlining between us and our partners and other airlines. It's not something people will see too much of but internally, for the company, it will be a massive step-change".
EX-YU Aviation News will bring you a series of articles on Air Serbia's future plans in the coming weeks.