Friday, April 7, 2017

Hainan finalising Belgrade flight plans


The HNA Group is finalising its plans for the launch of flights between Beijing and Belgrade with the Serbian President-Elect, Aleksandar Vučić, noting that an official announcement is due next month. "The [outgoing] President had constructive talks in China last week. I believe all is set for flights between Beijing and Belgrade and I will be able to formally announce the good news on May 14 or 15", the incoming President said ahead of his visit to Beijing next month. Initially, Mr Vučić noted that a formal announcement would likely occur last week, however, this did not materialise. The HNA Group, which owns Hainan Airlines, has confirmed it plans to introduce services to Belgrade this year, as well as invest in Belgrade Airport, a flight training school and an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul centre in Serbia.

The Chinese President, Xi Jinping, yesterday emphasised the upcoming service between the two capitals noting that, "Next month's visit will be an opportunity to discuss joint projects and strengthen economic and all other forms of cooperation, which will be attributed by the establishment of direct flights between China and Serbia". Last week, the Serbian government noted it was also looking into possible services between Shanghai and Belgrade. Air Serbia, which boasts a Special Prorate Agreement with Hainan Airlines, met with representatives from the HNA Group two weeks ago and is in discussions over strengthening the partnership between the two in order to cooperate on the future route.

During the first quarter, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Serbia has grown 102%. It comes after the two countries abolished visas for each others' nationals in mid-January. "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", the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said. Flights between Beijing and Belgrade last operated in 2000 when they were run by JAT Yugoslav Airlines.

121 comments:

  1. Starting Shanghai as well would be overkill.

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  2. FYI guys, HNA Group has purchased 80% of SR Technic from Abu Dhabi's Mubadala. SR Technic moved part of its operations to BEG 2 years ago. Mubadala and HNA group have signed a cooperation agreement to invest in airports. HNA Group is bidding for BEG and starting flights to BEG. So now we know that although no UAE company applied for BEG tender, they are actually present through HNA who will probably win the tender.

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    1. Interesting.

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    2. i hope to see SRT finally taking over JAT Tehnika

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    3. Tx anonym 0903h interesting

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  3. I read somewhere that Hainan is conditioning these flights with winning the tender for BEG airport. Is that true?

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    1. If it is it's a big price for just flights to Beijing. Maybe they do have a good offer for BEG, but all offers should be considered equally.

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  4. Excellent news. Can't wait to see exact starting date of those flights. Beside timing, price will be of crucial importance. If they are competitive and not overpriced people will chose HNA instead of Aeroflot, Turkish or middle eastern airlines.

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    Replies
    1. Chinese airlines are notoriously cheap.

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    2. I'm not sure. I've checked AirChina prices and they were overpriced from Europe to PEK. :(

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  5. I think it might actually be Beijing Capital Airlines that will run these flights. They just announced a couple of new routes in Europe - Lisbon, Madrid and Helsinki.

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  6. If the president/PM or whatever he is nowadays has to announce these flights you know that it is a political route

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    1. So what if it is a political route? The result is that Belgrade will have a direct line to Beijing with a pretty good and respected airline. If anyone wishes to use it they can. If it is political so be it.

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    2. You suffer a lot, don't you? No worries, pain will go away. And even if it doesn't you will get used to it.

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    3. Is there any route out of BEG that has not been branded as political? I've heard the same argument over and over.

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    4. AUH was also a political route which turned out to be a great success.

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    5. Closure of JAT route to Beijing was a political decision imposed by US embassy in Belgrade (check wikileaks cables form Belgrade). Routes to China will be a great success

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    6. AUH a successful route? You must be dreaming, JU can easily use that rotation to somewhere else. the one Eithad flight is enough

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    7. Not quite. EY is constantly full to the last seat. Air Serbia's loads have considerably improved and in season the flight is almost always sold out.

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    8. ^^^

      The one EY flight is definately not enough.

      This morning, EY landed in BEG 100% full in both cabins, as did QR. JU has been full or close to full lately on AUH. As Nemjee has said, loads have dramatically improved on AUH BEG, most notably on the JU rotation.

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    9. I think EY's flight is ready to handle an A321. My guess is that they don't have enough of them at the moment.

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    10. JU must stop AUH when they remove business class seats. No one wants to pay business class fare on a 6 hour flight in a narrow slim seat when most Europe - ME traffic is performed using widebodies with dedicated business class seat. It will be better to use that JU A319 in Europe and let Etihad fly A330 or 789 once a day to BEG.

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    11. There is absolutely no confirmation that business class is being removed and even if it is, it is unlikely to be temoved on all routes. Some aircraft will likely keep the dedicated C class product.

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    12. Biznis klasa ostaje ista ali dolaze takozvana pametna sedišta koja su tanja i puno lakša to se ukupna težina aviona smanjuje do 17%

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    13. Sorry to say, current business class cabin will go and they will move to the standard European configured 174 or 180 seats on the A320 and 144 seats on the A319 - which means movable curtain and blocked middle seat for business class.

      So no worse than anyone else in Europe. What will matter, is what in cabin service they will offer and how sharp their fares will be with this transition

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    14. a. Some aircraft keep current business class seats: further division of already small fleet, less flexibility

      b. blocked middle seat business class: not comfortable for AUH-BEG and not competitive against QR, EY, or even EK flying widebody business class from nearby ZAG, BUD, ATH, VIE etc.

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    15. Ovaj HotLane nikad nesto pametno da kaze, kao onda kada je tvrdio da je JFK bio pun a na njemu bilo 62 duse. Nszalost mislim da je jednostavno ostrasceni klinac.

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    16. Anon @ 9.28pm ... so maybe they won't have any biz cls anymore ? What's the big deal ?

      As for comfort, WizzAir seems to be doing just fine flying between BUD-DXB, which is further away than BEG. Again, what's the issue ?

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    17. Other airlines such as Austrian airlines and Aegean use the same slim seats on sectors that are between 4-5 hrs, with a biz cls using the same seats as Economy cls, but blocking the middle seat. As the last post said, i don't see the issue, given that that is the standard European business class offering nowadays

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    18. If I remember correctly, Wizz Air also flies from Katowice to Dubai which is even further away than BUD.

      Btw BEG-AUH on JU is overbooked tonight.

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    19. 1) Wizz does not have business class

      2) JU will not have economy-only cabin

      3) "I don't see the problem". Do you see it now:
      QR A320 business class:
      http://bit.ly/2oS7Lty

      EY A320 business class:
      http://bit.ly/2nMAH4p

      EK 777 business class:
      http://bit.ly/2oNyXMG

      Possible future JU A19 biz class:
      http://bit.ly/2ob8IPk

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    20. And ??

      The fact that Wizz is flying to the middle east with economy class only slim seats, clearly indicates that people have no issues flying on such seats.

      Elsewhere, airlines such as Austrian are flying similar and longer distances with the same slim seats with a curtain dividing the economy and business class cabin.

      And, because the aircraft has the same seats, if there is no demand for business class, then they will fly and sell it all economy - just like Austrian and most other European airlines currently do.

      Hope you see it now too....

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    21. The biggest issue for JU will be that it won't be able to attract the more premium business class passengers, those will fly with their competition that has a dedicated business class product. Let's not forget that flydubai also introduced a special business class product that's offered on BEG-DXB.

      I still think JU's business class could have worked but as always, their lack of marketing activities and adequate pricing have killed it.

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    22. What a dumb comment... How do all other European carriers continue to attract premium business class passengers with the same slim, blocked middle seat product ? Even low=cost hybrid carriers such a Eurowings have the very same configuration and product, not to mention, the likes of BA, LH, OS, Aegean and even OU

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  7. Air Serbia will cooperate with Chinese on the route and recently also partnered with Atlas on IST route. Where do they draw the line on what stays on Air Serbia metal and will be handed over to codeshare airline? What could be next, handing over AMS to Transavia, Paris to AF, asking Delta to take over JFK?

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    1. You are right. They should waste money on routes which have little or no chance of becoming profitable.

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    2. Are you trying to say that BEG-PEK and BEG-IST are going to be profitable? Why didn't Air Serbia go after launching PEK then?

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    3. Anon 9:36,

      It has been explained a million times on this blog why on some routes some other carriers may be quite successful even if Air Serbia can't. It happens in the market all the time - some players play the same ball better than others. So please stop pretending you are some benevolent, naive visitor who does not know how an airline route may work well for one carrier and bad for another.

      And just in case you really do not understand this simple thing, I would suggest that you quit this blog and start attending elementary school instead.

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    4. Air Serbia long haul strategy is a disaster. Management is commited to JFK route but flying only 3 days a week with just one leased plane. No plan to introduce more destinations and planes. Airport Belgrad will follow Zagreb airport approach to bring other long haul airlines, no?

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    5. Why is it a disaster ? Many airlines reduce their winter frequencies to the US - no one moreso than TK, as has LO. JU will be increasing the frequencies back to 5 pw as it heads into the summer season.

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    6. Ljubomora će uvek postojati a najveća je kad je počeo JFK.AS linija do Njujorku nije nikakva katastrofa i više je nego odlična za ovo kratko vreme . Linija je dobro popunjena i normalno je da ne bude profitabilna u tako brzom periodu. Kako Dane obično kaže " niko nije otvorio prodavnicu i odmah zaradio milione" , za sve treba malo vremena. Smešno je čitati neke komentare ovde, baš me zanima da li ovi koji pišu ovako neke amaterske komentare imaju imalo veze sa avioindustrijom?

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    7. Unlike JU, LO keeps adding new long haul destinations. LAX is the latest. Their long haul strategy was based on early order of most fuel efficient airplane for replacement of old 767s and planned long haul network expansion. They added new destinations in the USA and Asia (Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo) over the past few years. They didn't invite Hainan or Air China to fly; they started own flights there. WAW is now long haul hub that allows LO to fill regional jets with connecting passengers to places like BEG and kick out competition like JU. Yes, they are sizable EU country with large diaspora etc, but at least they had a good long haul plan and did it well.

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    8. You can not seriously be comparing Poland with Serbia on any level.

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    9. @Hot Lane

      Šta je po tebi plan Er Serbije za duge linije? Da pozovu druge aviokompanije iz celog sveta da lete za Beograd i sa njima imaju kodšer? Para nemaju za drugi avion a kamoli treći, a bez tih aviona nema širenja. Čekam odgovor.

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    10. @Anon at 9:00PM

      Moot point. You can't compare Serbia to Greece on any level yet Greece does not have long haul airline.

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  8. "During the first quarter, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Serbia has grown 102%."

    Impossible. Some of the top minds on this site assured us that there would be no increase in the number of Chinese tourists because they won't go all this way simply to visit Serbia. This is fake news.

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    1. +1000 great one :D

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    2. Well, growth of 102% can be very easy to do if the base is low. Sometimes, growth of 5% equals significantly higher growth in absolute numbers. Anyway, good for incoming business in Serbia!

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    3. Well, you gotta start from somewhere, no? Also, we are talking about triple digit growth, it's impressive no matter how modest (or not) previous numbers were.

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    4. Of course, and it is good for Serbia, just noting that not every 100% is that bambastic necessarily, that's all. Just mathematics. That being said, I dont even know the base number (btw, if anybody is in the know, please share), just always noticing doom and gloom here on this blog based only on %, while numbers are generally low, so variances tend to provide high % spikes and lows, while in absolute numbers it is not dramatic. That's all.

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    5. Last year there were 20.000 Chinese tourists in Serbia, the Chinese ambassador expects this number to rise to 100.000 this year. Given the triple digit rise in the first three months it's not unrealistic to expect it to happen.

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    6. Zadar grew by 260% in April ;)

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    7. Thanks anon 11:16, seems that growth is solidly on track to surpass 100,000 visitors then, good additional income for the country!

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    8. Last year there was 14.000 Chinese tourist. 102% is 14.000 more this year. In same time in Croatia there was just 16% more Chinese tourists but on top of 130.000 that is 20.800 new Chinese tourist.

      102% in Serbia
      15% in Croatia

      But that is
      14.000 new Chinese in Serbia
      20.800 new Chinese in Croatia

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    9. Okay, but Chinese increase to Croatia is not making an impact as it does to Serbia. But yes, here you see that % is just one way of looking at things. Good example how base is relevant.

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    10. But you see, that's the thing, when BEG gets direct flights, for many Belgrade will become the starting point for many regional tours. That means that next year we might be looking at 200.000 to 300.000 Chinese tourists where most of them spend just a few days in the country.

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    11. oh, I am not saying anything about that, of course with direct service one can expect number of passegners between the countries to grow, and in high numbers.

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    12. Good, so BEG will be first town after Paris in Europe by number of Chinese tourist. Even better than Prague, Budapest and Vienna. And that will happen in just one year. With 1.000% increase.

      Congratulation on reality. But still this ultra-optimistic nonsense is nothing compare to PM 500.000 Chinese tourists. In 3 years you will at least be better than Paris, and will be No. 1 Chinese destination in Europe.

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    13. You see, when we make our own predictions we are using facts while you are blinded by your hate and bitterness. If Belgrade manages to welcome 100.000 tourists this year then I see no reason why it can't double that number the following year?

      So just because Paris couldn't do something no one can?

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    14. Did you really just compare Belgrade to Paris?

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  9. - Have the Chinese build Pupin's bridge.
    - Sell the Zelezara to the Chinese.
    - Bank of China opens its Balkan offices in Belgrade.
    - Sell Bor to the Chinese.
    - Sell the airport to the Chinese.
    - Be the first European country to suspend the visa regime with China.
    - Bring in thousands of Chinese tourists via scheduled flights.

    EU: *autistic screeching*

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  10. Great news for BEG and Serbia. This really didn't look likely a few years ago.

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  11. When did Hainan terminate Budapest? I thought they were still flying there.

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    Replies
    1. A couple of years ago but the route has been picked up by Air China.

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    2. Hainan just like American Airlines had a deal with Malev. When they were shut down both airlines terminated BUD flights.

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    3. Where does HU fly to in Europe?

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    4. Malev's collapse brought to us by the EU is such a shame.

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    5. @9.59: Berlin, Brussels, London, Paris, Prague, Rome and St Petersburg.

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    6. Thanks. Quite limited coverage.

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  12. This was Hainan Airlines schedule for Budapest when they use to fly there. I think we might see similar timing for BEG which would perfectly feed Air Serbia's morning wave also pick up passengers from JU's morning wave.

    HU481 PEK0220 – 0530BUD 330 15
    HU482 BUD1320 – 0540+1PEK 330 15

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    1. That would be an ideal schedule for BEG.

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    2. I assume the frequency will be the same.

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    3. With that schedule, two widebodies would be docked at the gate at the same time st BEG.

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    4. Nice! Go BEG!

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    5. Hopefully the A10 gate is renovated before these flights take place.

      Also, the flight from PEK can arrive either one the day when JFK departs at 13.15 or when there is no flight at all.

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    6. But still even if the JU flight is at 1.15, the return flight to PEK will be around that time. I don't think they will do A10 in time for these flights but I still think they can get two widebodies

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    7. *handle two widebodies at C at the same time.

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    8. But then there will be chaos as there won't be enough gates with Air Serbia's morning wave of departures plus two Wizz Air birds, Etihad and Lufthansa.

      If they finish the bus gates before summer then Wizz Air can be moved to the B platform.

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  13. Let's hope they don't delay the announcement again.

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    1. Do you really expect an airline in northern hemisphere to announce new flights in May for S17?

      Think wisely.

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    2. Look into how and for when Chinese airlines announce flights.

      P.S Hainan announced flights to Rome two weeks, yes two weeks before the launch date.

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  14. Outstanding growth in Chinese tourists to Serbia this year! Well done! This is one helluva lucrative market that should be tapped into. The Serbs definitely recognized the potential.

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    1. All those tourists buy political travel packages from agencies, that's how they end up in Serbia.

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    2. @Anon 11:15

      Made my day hahahah

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    3. What's a political travel package? Is that what you call tourism to Serbia when you feeling a bit jealous?

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    4. Jealous of what or of whom exactly? I highly doubt anyone here is jealous of Croatian tourism. If anything we would be jealous of the Greek or Turkish one since that's where most of us go.

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  15. Great news, congratulations to BEG!

    So let's see what non-European flights we will have this summer:

    - JFK - Air Serbia
    - PEK- Hainan
    - TUN - Tunisair
    - HRG - Air Cairo
    - TLV - Air Serbia
    - BEY - Air Serbia
    - DOH - Qatar Airways
    - AUH - Etihad & Air Serbia
    - DXB - flydubai

    I would say this is not bad for an airport the size of BEG. This year 5.5 is within our reach.

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    1. Great news from Belgrade. I'm again visiting your city next month. Can't wait. My favorite ex-you city beside LJ. Cheers from SLovenia.

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    2. You are more than welcome here!

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    3. TLV also has Arkia and Israir

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    4. Capacity growth in BEG is less than 2% for the rest of 2017. So 5,5 million is quite optimistic. I'd rather say between 5,1-5,2.

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    5. If BEG has 0% growth until the end of the year it will surpass 5 million so 5,5 is not unrea

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  16. From 18.06 to 25.10 AlMasria will operate two weekly flights from Hurgada to Belgrade.

    --3---7
    Departure from BEG: 05.20
    Arrival to BEG: 04.20

    The airline has three aircraft in its fleet, 2 A320 and 1 A321.

    BEG-HRG will be operated five times per week this summer.

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    1. so, 2 companies operating the route?

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    2. Yes, Air Cairo flies to Belgrade year-round.

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  17. Good news for BEG. Good luck with the new flights. Being connected with the US and China is quite good for an airport its size.

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  18. And Vucic again. This guy is a joke!

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  19. OT:

    It's not related to exYu, but I hope the admin will allow for it since it's major news in the industry.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-06/ryanair-to-embrace-connecting-flights-in-move-toward-hub-model

    The next big step. Ryanair is launching connecting flights passing through Rome Fiumicino. 3 hours minimum between flights and bags are checked in through to the final destination.

    Hopefully our friends at Wizz Air are following this. It would be good to see it in BUD at the very least. Some constraints on scheduling and incremental demand on customer support, but on the other hand network development opportunities get unleashed. I hope the time to switch some of the focus to RASK is just around the corner.

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    1. Three hours minimum? Unless they offer rock bottom fares I don't see this working out well for them; especially not since most modern day airlines offer their connections from 25 to 120 minutes.

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    2. It's Ryanair. It pretty much doesn't get lower than that. Част изузецима. :)

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    3. Haha true that but then again I am wondering why they decided to experiment at an airport that's so unpredictable in terms of strikes and so on.

      Time will tell but this is definitely a very interesting development. Can't say I am totally surprised.

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    4. Yeah, right? I mean, FCO of all places? So weird.

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    5. I think CRL or BCN would have made more sense but I am sure the Italians gave them an offer they couldn't say no to.

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    6. "especially not since most modern day airlines offer their connections from 25 to 120 minutes." good that u dont see JU as modern airline

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    7. "It's Ryanair. It pretty much doesn't get lower than that. Част изузецима. :)" Izuzetci su your Wizzair. ima ih par jos ali uglavnom Wizz

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    8. Anon 01.37
      The last time I checked JU falls within that category.

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    9. Kako neko moze da lupa kao @11.44? Sve vreme cekaju raspad Alitalije.

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  20. Hainan is a great airline. Flew with them recently. Very good service, wi fi on board, good in flight entertainment, excellent food. Probably the best Chinese airline around.

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  21. I hope those talks with JU lead to a codeshare agreement on a few regional routes.

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  22. I used to fly Hainan airlines in the domestic network in China more times. I agree, after my point of view this company is the best company in China. I didn't know about wifi onboard, probably for long haul international flights

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  23. Posted on another forum - Hainan's response on its FB page to someone asking about these flights. So it seems we can expect the official announcement next month.

    http://ch-slike.com/images/2017/04/06/YznSK.png

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    1. No kidding, you've got to be patient with them.

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  24. It is a political response, probably posted by the communist party official.

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  25. There is a website with Chinese friendly hotels and restaurants

    The quirks of mainland Chinese tourists are being celebrated rather than ridiculed in a novel hotel-ranking system that aims to attract Chinese travelers by using dragons instead of stars to score hotels on a niche set of criteria.

    www.feellikehome.cn

    Hotels get points for such things as offering congee at the breakfast buffet and Chinese-language TV. To attain the highest "five dragon" ranking, hotels must have Putonghua-speaking staff, city maps in Chinese and activities specifically tailored to Chinese tourists.

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  26. I hope they code-share with JU to ZAG and LJU.

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  27. Lets bet...
    BJS-BEG: 3 weekly days 2,4,6 30OCT A330
    Daily March 2018 B787

    Any other suggestions or predictions ;)

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    Replies
    1. I agree with everything but I think flights start in June.

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  28. I'm flying to Belgrade in October for Nick Cave concert!! That's twice in two years!

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    Replies
    1. Are you the same Michael? Maybe you shouldn't go:

      http://bit.ly/2pbfBxO

      Delete

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