Monday, March 27, 2017

Hainan Airlines to launch Belgrade service


Hainan Airlines has confirmed it plans to launch flights between Beijing and Belgrade after officials from parent company HNA Group signed a letter of intent with the Serbian government last week for the establishment of services, the set-up of a flight training centre in the country, and unveiled plans to invest and run Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. The airline has conducted a feasibility study into flights between China and Serbia and also plans to either establish or run an existing flight training centre in the country in order to meet global demand for new pilots over the next fifty years. Furthermore, it was recently revealed that the HNA Group is bidding as part of a Chinese consortium for the 25-year concession of Belgrade Airport.

Details of the new agreement with the HNA Group, as well as Hainan Airlines' planned service to Belgrade are expected to be revealed at the end of the week, when Serbia's President travels to China for a two-day state visit. HNA Group is a Fortune Global 500 company headquartered in China with businesses spanning across aviation, holding, tourism, capital and logistics. As of December 2016, HNA Group has a fleet of over 1.250 aircraft, operates 1.100 domestic and international routes, flies to over 270 cities and serves 92 million passengers annually. It operates and manages Hainan Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines, Deer Jet, Lucky Air, West Air, Fuzhou Airlines, Urumqi Air, Beibu Gulf Airlines, Yangtze River Airlines, Guilin Airlines, Chang’an Airlines, Africa World Airlines, and Aigle Azur. Furthermore, it runs HNA Tourism, which will be selling joint tour packages to Serbia and the region, primarily Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.

Preparations are already underway for the new flights between Beijing and Belgrade. In 2016, some 24.000 Chinese tourists visited Serbia, which is not a large number considering China's size, but for Serbia the trend is encouraging as in 2011 only 12.000 tourists from China came to Serbia. "We hope that the visa free regime, the establishment of a direct flight, joint presentation with our neighbours, as well as the strengthening of regional cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe will have an influence on Chinese tourists to perceive this region as more attractive than before", Milica Čubrilo, the Secretary for Tourism in Serbia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said. Miodrag Popović, the head of the Tourist Organisation of the City of Belgrade, noted, "Preparations are ongoing at Belgrade's hotels, restaurants and all those linked to the service and hospitality sectors for the arrival of Chinese guests. Research has provided us with information about what interests Chinese guests the most and how they should be treated, from the most banal such as to avoid anything connected to the number four, to more serious issues, such as that one needs to have Chinese food for guests who stay longer, together with local specialties that they may wish to taste. Chinese guests also like to take photos and we need to provide them with enough places to capture their memories", he said. Flights between Beijing and Belgrade last operated in 2000 when they were run by JAT Yugoslav Airlines. Serbia and China abolished visa restrictions for each other's nationals at the start of the year.

150 comments:

  1. +1. Good luck!

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  2. Wow... what a great way to start this week! I guess the airport will also go to the Chinese, not bad.

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  3. wow so it's not just flights, its part of a bigger picture. Nice!

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  4. Does anyone know by when BEG's A10 gate will be fixed so as to accommodate widebody aircraft?

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    Replies
    1. I think they start work during the summer.

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    2. So I guess Hainan will have to use C6 like JU.

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    3. Yes. C6 and C3 are used for JU's A330.

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    4. Actually, it is C5a and C3a which are used for YUARA. :-)

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    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Great. I wonder if Hainan itself will operate these flights or one of the subsiduaries that are listed in the article. Beijing Capital Airlines has started expanding in Europe.

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    1. My guess is that if they get the airport then we will see Hainan with its own metal here.

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    2. Exactly, that is the point! IF they get the airport, they are now trying to win a point by announcing flights, without any schedule.

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    3. We all know the airport will eventually go to the Chinese, especially since our government is trying to sell them Bor.

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    4. You conspiracy theorists should really agree on a common approach. First your were preaching how the airport was already given to Arabs - and then we saw no Arab bidder in the tender. Then you preached how it 100% goes to a French bidder, no doubt - and now you are sure it will go to China so that you can prove some conspiracy behind Hainan's announcement.

      I would suggest you finally pick your favorite conspiracy and stick to it.

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    5. It's not a conspiracy theory, it's speculation. Learn the right terminology before coming here trying to be smart.

      The French were never a serious contender, they were just rumored to be interested.

      The Arabs showed real interest at some point.

      Given how much China has invested into Serbia I am sure it would make perfect sense that they be among the top pics. Especially since the government is trying to get them to take over Bor, one of the biggest loss making companies in the country.

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  6. WOW! Nice! What makes me especially happy is that all these tourists who visited Belgrade used another airport but now they will fly directly into Belgrade.

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  7. Apparently the flights will be subsidized.

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    Replies
    1. Until you have proof stop spreading misinformation.
      And in the unlikely case that they do get subsidies then they will come from the Chinese, not Serbian government.

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    2. Vucic said so last week. It was published by the media.

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    3. He said that they will try to find subsidies for the route, he didn't say that the route will have them before it's launched. So no, he did not say that. He said something else.

      Also, I highly doubt the Chinese would take subsidies from the Serbian government. Especially not after all the investment they've made here.

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    4. Plus, the Chinese government already subsidizes most of international flights so Hainan can take money from there.

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    5. LOL Vučić said "he will try to find subisidies", which actually means that the deal most likels depends on that, is now being spinned as "he was just saying", "why would chienese take money" and "they have enough of their own money, why would they need serbian money"

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    6. Are you implying he found millions in a week's time? Maybe he could have done it for 2018 but this year's budget has been finalized and adopted months ago.

      Also, I doubt the IMF would really want Serbia subsidizing a new air link.

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    7. come on Namjee you know that he can find several millions in notime. And that he will do it if it is about his promotion.

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    8. Once again, we are down to malicious speculation.
      Unless there is some concrete proof that this line will be subsidized then I think the best would be to just drop it.

      If they didn't hide the subsidies to Air Serbia then I am sure these wouldn't hide these either.

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    9. Also, I don't see the point of turning every single positive news about Serbia into something negative.

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  8. When these start, Aeroflot's Belgrade flights will be affected the most.

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    Replies
    1. True story!!! Probably will go down to 1 flight per day.

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    2. SU to go down to one daily? In what universe exactly? Do you realize how big the market between Belgrade and Moscow is? Not to mention that SVO is a transit hub not only for China but for the CIS as well.
      If anything, SU might lose 10 to 15 passengers per flight. Worse case scenario they have a lower LF on their A320.

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    3. No way they will reduce BEG they are always 90% full. China transit is peanuts in the overall picture.

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  9. wow, if it's Hainan, then we'll have Dreamliner regularly in BEG

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  10. No fix date yet, subsidized flights... nothing to be thrilled about

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    Replies
    1. Hater brigade has arrived.

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    2. Yea, I really do hate my own country haha. Better say, realistic brigade has arrived.

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    3. You discredited yourself the moment you mentioned subsidies.

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    4. Obviously there's no fixed date, as that will be announced during the official statement, following Nikolic's return from China this week. The flights are not subsidised. So go hate your country in your own little corner of frustrations, as I doubt you are from ours.

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    5. +1 last anon

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    6. if there was to be no subisidies why would PM talk about them?

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    7. PM spoke of many things since 2012, 90% of them never came true. Seems like the same will happen with these subsidies.

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  11. Nice work guys! Nice to see some other countries from ex-Yu also getting on board this project :)

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  12. Wow... this is truly great. Great news for BEG and Serbia. This is a natural evolution of friendly relations between the two countries.

    Belgrade is truly becoming a real hub. Flights to New York, flights to Beijing, many flights to the Persian Gulf. :)

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    Replies
    1. The hub system is slowly evolving, although its still on glass legs. But another step in the right direction, nonthless.

      BTW, it rea.ly would be nice to see some more flights from the African continent coming to BEG. This is surely a huge, untapped market. Pity that EgyptAir doesn't link Cairo to BEG.

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    2. MS was supposed to start flights to BEG back around 2009/10: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/Archive/2007/844/ec1.htm.

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  13. Nice news to wake up to. Amazing how things in aviation have changed in this part of the world in 5 years.

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    Replies
    1. Who would have thought that BEG will see two widebody aircraft per day. :)

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    2. Back in the day JU had many wide body flights. I'm concerned that HNA will become the only wide body flight out BEG. Let's be realistic JFK won't be around much longer. Big loss maker grappling JUs finances

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    3. Well, let's hope your hopes have little to do with reality or future developments.

      Also, back in the day, JAT wasn't run as a business. It was the extended arm of the Yugoslav government.

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    4. while today airserbia is an extension of "subsidies" line in serbian national budget

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    5. At least Air Serbia's business model makes more sense than JAT's did. Also, JU today is far more financially conscious than it was back then. Not to mention that less money is spent on it today than 30 years ago. ;)

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    6. Anon @9:57
      Scroll down to 24.3 post, you have all the info there

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  14. I hope this announcement comes to fruition. Given the massive schedule reduction by JU and the poor performance on the JFK route we need a good news story to start the week for BEG.

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  15. Very positive news and also good luck to Hainan on their new route

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    Replies
    1. For some people this is the worst possible news one can imagine - and we can clearly see it in today's comments.

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  16. It is interesting, all of this with HNA:
    HNA-Hainan-Beijing/Beglrade flight
    HNA-ANT concession
    HNA-SR Technics-Jat Tehnika connection

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  17. Can anyone tell me when the presidential election will be held in Serbia? I'm asking, because it is very common in underdeveloped countries to manipulate crowds to win the election.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah because to the common Serb flights to Beijing by a company whose name they can't even pronounce will for sure win votes.

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    2. Elections are taking place next weekend however this statement was made by a Chinese airline. I doubt they are part of Vucic's campaign team.

      Also, this route was announced ages ago, long before Vucic decided to run for office. ;)

      No need to be so malicious.

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    3. Anon 10:48,

      It is OK. Not your fault. The pain will go away. Allow it to go away.

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    4. Oh boy, you have a lot to learn about dark face of politics.

      Nonetheless, I wish BEG good luck and many Chinese tourists, as expected.

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  18. Amazing how much vitrol there is in the comments today. This news rubbed some people up the wrong way.

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    1. I'm not sensing the vitriol comments you imply. Bloggers are entitled to their thoughts and healthy debate. Your comment lacks intuition

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    2. I agree with Anon 10.54, there is so much hate. It's best seen by these accusations of the route being subsidized even though there is zero evidence of that.

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    3. PM's public announcement is not evidence? Really? What is evidence if that is not?

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    4. How about an actual paragraph in the government's budget proving that there are subsidies?

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  19. Last night, Belgrade City Authorities have placed tourist signs all throughout the city. They are trilingual: English, Russian and Chinese.

    Naturally, there is also Serbian.

    I guess the whole story is slowly starting to unravel. :)

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    1. Chinese?? Hilarious. Pics or it didnt happen!

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    2. Voila:
      http://beobuild.rs/novi-turisti%C4%8Dki-putokazi-p2690.html

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    3. That actually looks quite nice. Good job.

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  20. Cool!! So far Montenegro has joined Serbia in offering joint packages. Let's hope those deals with Macedonia, Hungary and Bosnia are concluded soon. Once that happens these flights will become an absolute hit.

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  21. OT

    Does anyone know if QR A321 has become the default aircraft to ZAG from now on?

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    Replies
    1. Yes it was reported many times that it starts from the start of the summer season.

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    2. I know but I don't know if it's only a seasonal increase or do they keep it in winter as well?

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    3. The A321 is there for summer. In winter it goes back to 10 weekly A320.

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    4. Do you guys think they reduced it because of Emirates or was it a planned 'reduction?'

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    5. They had 320 10 weekly last winter as well, so nothing to do with EK. Plus, there is more business during summer so any extra seat is welcomed, especially since QR doesn't have available wide bodies to place on ZAG during those peaks.

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    6. Yeah last summer but at some point there was also the A321 this winter. So why did they reduce it?

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  22. Iskreno, nisam hejter ali koji bi kolaps bio na BEG ako u istom momentu budu sirokotrupci ASL i HNA zajedno sa ostalim uskotrupnim avionima... BEG dostize maksimum svojih trenutnih kapaciteta, ima 3 pozicije (C1A (C1+C2), C3A (C3+C4), C5A (C5+C6), C7 se nece koristiti sigurno jer je busgate a nalazi se u istom prostoru kao C5 i C6, sto znaci ostaje cela A strana + 2 gejta na C strani (eventualno 3 ako ASL I HNA budu na C1A, C3A onda ostaje C5 i C6 i C7 za manje avione). Znaci u najboljem slucaju (naravno govorim ako HNA i ASL budu imali rotacije u istom trenutku) + 3 gejta na C strani + 12 gejtova na A strani (A1-A10 + A4A + A4B)... Uz ekspanzije WZZ, dolazak Transavie i sa slotovima ostalih rotacija, bice jako jako JAKO tesno u tim momentima na BEG.

    Jedva cekam. :)

    Fanatik*

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    1. Ја сам о томе причао пре неколико месеци али су ме овде исмевали. Време је дошло да се аеродром прошири. У шпицу једноставно нема више где да стану авиони.
      Не заборавимо да одређене стајанке на Б платформи се већ користе за паркирање теретних авиона.
      Ако ЈУ и Хаинан не буду сарађивали, а надам се да хоће, онда летови из Пекинга могу бити организовани тако да слећу у неко мирније време, између два вала.

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    2. Pazi, sad preko zime jednom je jedan cargo B744 bio parkiran na Deicing pozicijama (tamo su ga i opsluzili i utovarili teret) jer nigde nisu mogli da ga parkiraju drugde...

      Uz nove gejtove, aerodrom MORA da dobije i nove pozicije za parkiranje aviona, nadam se da ce zato iskoristiti onaj prostor gde su bili parkirani oni stari eksponati ali i to ne resava nista znacajno...

      Bice jako, jako zanimljivo ali opet i u najgorem slucaju da svi lete u isto vreme, zaposleni na ANT bi nasli nacin da sve to izvedu... I onda, opet ce sve preko njih preci...

      Fanatik*

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    3. JAT je imao 5 sirokotrupnih aviona.Kada su s. avioni parkirani na CXa pozicijama mogu jos tri uskotrupna aviona tamo da se parkiraju.

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    4. Фанатик, слажем се али ајде прво да видимо колико ће често уопште ићи ови летови. Ако буде једном или два пута недељно онда не верујем да ће бити проблем.

      Анон 12.25

      Колико често су свих 5 били на аеродрому у исто време? Не заборавимо да наш аеродром има скоро 2 милиона више путника него што је то имао 1987. године. Знатно је повећан број путника док је број авио-мостова остао исти.

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    5. 1987. године опслужено је 3.311.951 путника док се ове године очекује између 5 и 5.5 милиона.

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    6. @ AnonymousMarch 27, 2017 at 12:25 PM

      pricamo o worst case slucaju, nije problem koliko sirokotrupnih moze da se parkira u istom trenutku, na C strani moze 5, pricamo o rotacijama PUTNICKIH aviona i u tom slucaju mogu u istom momentu da se koriste C1A, C3A i C5A.

      *Fanatik

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    7. @Nemjee

      I think that cooperation between Hainan and JU is a given. Don't forget that Etihad also has strong links with Hainan - you can even collect Etihad Guest miles on Hainan flights.

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    8. Hope you are right. Air Serbia has a decent regional network and Hainan could make the most of it, especially when it comes to Bucharest, Athens and so on. Even Rome could do.

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  23. It is very nice to read such news. Congrats BEG.

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  24. I'm a huge critic of this government so please don't take this the wrong way but I don't think there has ever been a more aviation oriented government in Serbia then this one. Again not endorsing them, will vote against them on Sunday.

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  25. I'm generally very suspicious when it comes to any government meddling into economy. That said, and especially since this is connected to a long term infrastructure project, I wish the best of luck to Belgrade in realizing these flights, as well as the concession contract!!
    Any information, or speculation as to when this could happen?

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    Replies
    1. We should have more details in about a week from today once our president returns from China.
      Mind you, our president was the host of the Chinese president's dad when he was part of the Chinese delegation that visited Yugoslavia some decades ago.

      When the current president of China was in Belgrade, Nikolic, as a gift, gave him their picture from back then.

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    2. Thanks! I thought maybe someone knew something more about it already.
      Ok, and if theoretically everything goes as fast as possible, when do you suppose the concession contract could be signed and the airport operations turned over to the new management?

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    3. It was reported that a decision on who gets the concession should be announced by August so my guess is that the new owner should take over in early 2018.

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  26. OT: Why are the 3 (three!) flydubai flights to Sarajevo today?!

    06:35 07:15 DUBAI FZ8763
    13:15 15:05 DUBAI FZ761
    15:30 17:50 DUBAI FZ8765

    They are all running late, but still, impressive.

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    1. It's not only today. Flydubai schedule for SJJ:
      26.03.2017. 3X Dubai-Sarajevo-Dubai
      27.03.2017. 2X Dubai-Sarajevo-Dubai
      28.03.2017. 1X Dubai-Sarajevo-Dubai
      29.03.2017. 2X Dubai-Sarajevo-Dubai
      30.03.2017. 2X Dubai-Sarajevo-Dubai
      31.03.2017. 3X Dubai-Sarajevo-Dubai
      01.04.2017. 3X Dubai-Sarajevo-Dubai
      02.04.2017. 2X Dubai-Sarajevo-Dubai
      03.04.2017. 2X Dubai-Sarajevo-Dubai
      04.04.2017. 1X Dubai-Sarajevo-Dubai
      05.04.2017. 2X Dubai-Sarajevo-Dubai
      06.04.2017. 1X Dubai-Sarajevo-Dubai
      07.04.2017. 3X Dubai-Sarajevo-Dubai
      08.04.2017. 3X Dubai-Sarajevo-Dubai
      09.04.2017. 2X Dubai-Sarajevo-Dubai
      10.04.2017. 1X Dubai-Sarajevo-Dubai

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  27. This is great news for BEG airport, but surely "not bigger than JU project" :-)

    Obviously, the more detailed information about these flights will be known in 1 week time after Serbian President returns from China,but even at this moment we can say it is big step for BEG and for whole region.

    BEG will cement its position as the biggest and most important of all Ex-Yu airports.

    I truly hope that JU will code-share with Hainan that would bring success to both companies.

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  28. I think that it will be with a stop-over. May be at OTP. I don't see how BEG can sustain alone this line. I think the way the Qatar Airways introduced their flights is the best. They were having stop-overs until the lines got sustainable.

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    1. PEK-BEG-ZAG-PEK

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    2. @Anonymous March 27, 2017 at 3:15 PM
      Sounds reasonable

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    3. Can it be done politically? It would be great sign of cooperation.

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    4. Why would they, instead of shuttling Zagreb pax by two daily flights which they have from Belgrade? That makes absolutely no sense.

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    5. It makes sense. If travel from ZAG to China:

      Option 1: Have direct flight to PEK
      Option 2: Can choose flight with stopover between BEG(ATR) or DOH/IST/DXB
      What should u choose?

      ZAG+BEG = enough PAX for year round, min 3-4 pw

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    6. I would choose via BEG cause i prefer overall shorter flight time. Besides, it makes no sense for a Chinese bird to fly West then East. If any stopover makes perfect sense that's OTP, not Zagreb.

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    7. But you see, the leg ZAG-BEG basically costs nothing since it's operated by the Atr. It means that Hainan-Air Serbia will always be more competitive price wise than EK/QR.

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    8. If you have connecting flights it's always better to have the connection in the middle.

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    9. Have you got a possible timetable for PEK-BEG vv. to connect with ZAG's ATR (and to the coast)?

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    10. No, i don't think so. It's much better have a short flight and then one where you can really relax.

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  29. I just don't get it, why doesn't Air Serbia start the Beijing flights? They have the plane and even if it's a subsidized route wouldn't it be better for Serbia to subsidize their own company instead of Chinese? If the politicians want these flights so badly and the public on their side where's the problem?

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    1. Тhe thing is that this is not a subsidized route. I think you are just trolling, just like you gave yourself a plus.

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    2. Air Serbia now wants to codeshare with other airlines instead of sending own aircraft to China. Hogan said he wants more American tourists in Belgrade so the next step could be subsidy to Delta or American Airlines to start flights from Chicago or Los Angeles to Belgrade.

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    3. Oh wow... what a failed attempt to be funny.

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    4. Hogan actually said that in Nov 2015 when JFK was announced. Joke is on Air Serbia for not doing anything about it.

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  30. Does AS code share with Hainan?

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    Replies
    1. AS will surely have a formal agreement to feed these flights.

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  31. So the competition between ZAG & BEG heats up. More and more long haul flights coming to the region. Go ex-yu!

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    Replies
    1. What happened to flights from China and US to ZAG?

      We have been hearing here in last almost 6 months that these flights "are just around the corner" but still no announcment has been made.

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    2. It's a very big corner.

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    3. Well, so far only Belgrade has scheduled long-haul flights. I think ZAG-DXB/DOH qualifies as medium-haul.

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    4. Don't forget about YYZ-ZAG via Air Transat.

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    5. My bad, forgot about that one.

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    6. All is forgiven my aviation brotha.

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    7. @AnonymousMarch 27, 2017 at 3:18 PM

      LOL :D ;)

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    8. Anonymous 5:24, unfortunately in Croatia we don't have a PM/president/almighty announcing flights and taking care of new routes :(

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    9. @3:18PM

      Hahahahah, best comment in ages!!! :D :D :D

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    10. Well, the JFK was just a rumor, I think, not sure. But if they reported on it, it was because there really were negotiations going on and they had it confirmed. Don't remember it tho. But when it comes to the Chinese, that I do remember and they reported on it because the Beijing Capital Airlines, a subsidiary of Hainan, had themselves confirmed the plans to launch direct Zagreb flights in June 2017. Now that clearly isn't going to happen this June, or otherwise we'd already have a concrete, official announcement and the tickets offered in the system. Maybe it fell through, maybe it's been postponed.
      Happens.

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    11. There is simply not enough demand for Zagreb.

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  32. Now BEG needs AS to launch ORD, YYZ, IKA, and regional flights to PRN, and year round Euro flights to LED, KBP, MUC, CAI. And possibly Krasnodar, Odessa, Baku, Tripoli, and Spain, and maybe even NCE, would be nice. ;-)

    And then we have a real party!

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    Replies
    1. This will take a few more years.

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    2. True dat. I think the Chinese concessinars will be able to implement these goals best.

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    3. Short of buying Air Serbia one Airbus A330 I don't see how can possibly new concessionare help Air Serbia launch ORD and YYZ. Dream on.

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    4. YYZ? AC Rouge or Air Transat.

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    5. They can offer incentives/discounts for AS (and other airlines for that matter) on a sliding scale. It would be in the interest of the concessionaire to have as many flights as possible. More flights means more charges per pax. Plus more tax per pax for gov.

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    6. Therein lies the problem. Deep discounts at BEG are not enough for Air Serbia to expand widebody fleet but they would attract Hainans, Air Transats and Emirates to BEG. With discounts, tourist promotions and incentives other airlines would eat Air Serbia's lunch on busiest long haul destinations from Belgrade. That would be great for concession and BEG airport passenger numbers but not so good for Air Serbia long haul plans.

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    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  33. OT
    Germania will keep their flights to INI over the winter 1pw (fridays) apparently

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    Replies
    1. If true then that's great. One weekly should be ok given that this is an ethnic route. However, if this is true then it should be bad news for LX.

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  34. Nice one BEG. I checked that BJS is connected to 6 European cities: TXL, SVO, PRG, MAN, PRG & LED so BEG would nicely fit being in the southern part of Europe compared to the rest.
    Greetings from Sofia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BJS (or PEK) is connected with almost every major city in Europe, not just these six. BJS is actually the code for all airports in Beijing metro area (LON for London, e.g.), but PEK is the airport code for Beijing Capital airport. That's why you might have missed dozens of other European destinations out of Beijing.

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    2. Makes sense, thanks man.

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    3. I was actually referring to Hainan itself as an airline, sorry my mistake.

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  35. What, no CDG, LHR? can't be?

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  36. OT: Croatia Airlines-Air India codeshare

    http://www.poslovni.hr/hrvatska/croatia-airlines-uskoro-uvodi-usluge-zracnog-prijevoza-izmeu-hrvatske-i-indije-325954

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  37. I am not aviation expert so I dont know if there is a demand for Baltic countries?

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    Replies
    1. I don't think there is a significant demand.

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    2. To BEG probably not but to TIV maybe so. I saw lots of cars with Estonian license plates (of course, these people are actually Russians living in Estonia) when I was on the Montenegrin coast last summer so I think a TLL - TIV could very well be an untapped potential line

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