Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ryanair plans further Serbia expansion


Low cost carrier Ryanair plans to further expand its operations in Serbia in the coming period but has ruled out flights from Belgrade for the time being due to high costs. Instead, the airline will continue to focus on services from Niš Constantine the Great Airport, from which it currently flies to four destinations. Its expansion from the city will be announced within the next month, Ryanair said. At a press conference in the Southeast Serbian city today, the Deputy Sales and Marketing Manager for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dimitra Apatsidou, marked the carrier's 50.000th passenger since launching operations in September last year. "Probably within two weeks to a month we will finalise our plan for new routes and we will have good news for Niš. We look forward to growing our number of destinations in Serbia and increasing traffic and tourism in the coming period", Ms Apatsidou said. The airline is believed to be in talks with local authorities over flights to Paris, Barcelona and Malta.


Ryanair, which entered the Serbian market through Niš in 2016, anticipates a strong year ahead at the airport, from which it serves Bergamo, Berlin, Bratislava and Weeze. "In 2017 we will handle 120.000 passengers to and from Niš and support ninety jobs. We will continue developing our operations throughout the summer and we look forward to opening additional services in the future", the carrier's Sales and Marketing Manager for Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Israel, Chiara Ravara, said. Ryanair's Chief Commercial Officer, David O'Brien, recently noted, "We have been planning our arrival onto the Serbian market for a long time. It will take a while to judge whether it was a wise decision but considering loads on our flights, we believe that the Serbian market has great potential".

Ryanair recently ruled out the possibility of basing an aircraft in Serbia but has noted its commitment to expanding its operations from the country. As a result, Niš can only be served from cities in which the airline boasts an operational base. "Now that we have opened the doors to Niš, it makes it easier to expand. We are on the lookout for new opportunities", the airline's Route Manager, Luis Fernandez-Mellado, said. He added that Ranair opted to launch services to Niš last year following fourteen months of negotiations and as a result of Constantine the Great Airport's low fees, which amount to just three euros for handling, landing and passenger services. Niš Airport anticipates welcoming over 300.000 passengers this year. Besides Ryanair, it is currently served by Wizz Air and Swiss International Air Lines, while Germania Flug will introduce flights in June. Furthermore, the airport boasts a regular cargo service from Istanbul, operated by Turkish Airlines Cargo.

119 comments:

  1. It would be nice if they announced something today but I doubt it. I do think Paris and Barcelona have potential. Malta would seem odd especially with Wizz starting the flights from BEG, plus the existing JU flights.

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    1. "Its expansion from the city will be announced within the next month, Ryanair said".

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  2. Shame they don't plan to fly from BEG too. How isn't it too expensive for Wizz?

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    1. Ryanair has always been the toughest negotiator regarding airport taxes, accepting nothing but a clear advantage on their own terms.

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  3. Sooner or later they will introduce Belgrade flights. They are not going to leave the market to Wizz Air.

    I have a feeling that in addition to launching new flights they might be adding some frequencies, maybe Bratislava will be increased to three weekly.

    On a side note, Arkia starts sending its B753 to BEG from today. It's expected to land at 09.36.

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    1. If they ever start BEG, I wonder what destinations could work for them.

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    2. The thing is that by the time they launch Belgrade, they won't be able to start any new/unserved destinations. They will be directly competing either with Wizz Air or with Air Serbia.

      Maybe they could launch: BRU, FRA, TXL, BCN...

      To be honest, I do hope easyJet expands its presence in Belgrade. They are a very decent carrier.

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    3. I think the Serbian government and JU have made a deal to limit LCCs to Nis. None of this happening without the approval of the government. So I don't think we will see them any time soon.

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    4. If that were true, Transavia would not have launched flights to BEG a week ago.

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    5. Hmm... they can't limit or forbid any EU airline from flying to Belgrade. After all, Wizz Air is adding a second A320, Transavia launched flights and easyJet increased them.

      If your theory was true then Transavia would have launched AMS-INI, not AMS-BEG.

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    6. BEG is much more of an easyJet type destination than Ryanair, and I do expect AS to be protected like a polar bear - so it might not even be up to Ryanair whether they're going to pop over or not. They're not exactly known for their flexibility regarding costs.

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    7. But that's the thing, the most BEG can do is overcharge FR, they can't turn them down. Just like MUC couldn't turn down FR when they considered launching flights from there a few years ago.

      The era of absolute protectionism is over. All the government can do is pump money into JU, they can't shield them from competition.

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    8. Right. Now all that has to happen is for Ryanair to somehow be convinced BEG deserves to be a strategic exception like in the above cases. :)

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    9. I am sure it will happen at some point. Ryanair won't ignore such a big market. Given the increasing number of lowcost flights I can only assume that BEG is not too expensive.

      After all, Ryanair should not get any preferential treatment. If they want to fly to/from BEG then they should pay the same as other lowcost carriers.

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    10. Whatever route Ryanair flies from BEG will be a runaway success. Everyone loves a good price point

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  4. Good news for Serbian consumers.

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  5. This will definitely be the starting point to a slow death of Air Serbia. The announced measures of JU are just the starting point.

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    1. They are adjusting their business model so they can compete against such airlines.

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    2. Your really believe they can sustain RYANAIR?

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    3. Why couldn't they? With the right strategy FR (and W6) can be defeated. After all, that's what happened in Greece.

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    4. But what would be that strategy? They are slowly abolishing their boutique full service model. So what would be the competition on? Just Price? No chance they win that battle.

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    5. Price, flying to main airports, offering connecting flights on its own network and codeshare partners, a significantly bigger network then both airlines from Serbia and a frequent flyer program.

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    6. I don't think Air Serbia should degrade its product so as to compete more effectively against the lowcost carriers. They can never match their prices so why match their product?

      What Air Serbia needs to do is invest in real marketing like Aegean has done over the years. The few commercials JU made were bad, bad, bad. They were bland and uninspiring.

      If they start removing meals, business class... then it seems they are clueless about their business strategy and they might end up like Air Berlin.

      After all, airlines such as Lot, airBaltic, Aegean... have all survived their own lowcost invasions.
      They didn't do that by copying their enemy's tricks but by creating their own. They've all created business strategies that suit them and the market they serve.

      That's what JU needs to do. Not to come up with a business model and then after two years to step forward and say: well, we tried it for this period, we spent a lot of money and now we know it doesn't work.

      You can afford to make mistakes with little things. Not with your core business strategy/ideology.

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    7. Nemjee you are forgetting one thing - people in Serbia are generally poor. A lot of them don't have money to fly unlike in Poland, the Baltics, Greece etc. Neither is Serbia a tourist country where it can expect for holidaymakers to fill planes. Unfortunately as Air Serbia was launched the overall economic position of Serbia's citizens hasn't improved. In fact I'm sure that compared to 2013, our standard of living among the people has decreased. That's why it is very difficult to compare the Serbian market to the countries you mentioned.

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    8. The economic situation in Greece or Latvia is not great either. Once you step outside of Riga it's pretty poor.
      Greece has its diaspora and tourists but the market is extremely competitive. Not to mention that your average Greek citizen has been demoralized and impoverished after years of crisis.

      Air Serbia should have worked harder on building a hub at BEG. It can cover a market of some 40 million people with the highly economical Atr.

      We all remember Air Serbia's fares when the airline was launched. I gave the example of BEG-LCA several times. Before Wizz Air stepped in, it was normal for them to charge us €370. Today, fares are on average €170.

      If JU kept its European fares between €150 and €250 they would have been fine. The issue is that they started charging regular fares only once they started facing competition... or extremely poor loads.

      Also, I wasn't comparing these markets. I was merely pointing out how airlines that serve them have found a way to cope with the new reality.

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    9. well, it is a question whether will JU downgrade its product. as i see it, it will put different in options in front of passengers to choose from. why would someone need to pay all the stuff that he doesn't need from the ticket? downgrade will happen for business class seats which are occupied ~15% of the time, so it doesn't make sense to keep the same product.
      point 2 is that current JU approach is just not working and creating losses, so they need to try something new (or rethink the business model, as dane has put it)

      also, serbia is highly sensitive market and this changes will be greatly welcomed by the customers

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    10. The thing is that they might downgrade the product but I am sure ticket prices will remain the same.

      The current model, is it not working because it is fundamentally flawed or is it failing because JU didn't know how to make it work. ;)

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    11. Nemjee, it all went pear shaped when you left us and with you, went all your smart wisdom which you are now dealing out on a daily basis... Interesting that i don't ever recall you making mention of or concerns around the business model, market positioning or advertising, like you are doing so now...

      Why is that ?

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    12. Hahaha I am not going to answer your question because I don't want to bring out some dirty laundry. Also, I did point out these things back in the day, especially in terms of ticket sales to Australia. ;)

      You should know that, you used to get my analysis.

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    13. Nemjee - you're living in la la land. 99.8% of Serbians will take the FR option if the flight is Euro1 cheaper. Now start working on a business model for JU? Good luck.

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  6. I really hope it will be LON (LTN/STN even SEN) so that JU gets it for the insane ticket pricing...

    (Cant see it happen though due to visa restrictions etc...only my wishful thinking!)

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    1. Would it really affect pricing? Wizz Air already flies between Belgrade and London.

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  7. Enough with Malta lol :D it would be nice if they started Paris and maybe London. Barcelona would be cool but is there really demand?

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    1. Barcelona is working out really well for Wizz Air in Skopje. The airline was surprised too,

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    2. Agree, what's the obsession with Malta? You would think half of Serbia lives there the way they are going on about it...

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    3. According to the latest data by Maltese labor ministry Serbs are the second biggest population of foreign workers on the island.

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    4. does this definition (foreign) include EU countries? link pls

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    5. Google is your friend, you can find the statistics online.

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    6. as a Maltese I can confirm that the second largest NON-EU population in Malta is Serbian...so makes sense..according to logic..but would love to travel to RS again...

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  8. Great news for Nis and bad news for SKP, SOF and BEG.

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    1. Don't forget PRN. Apparently 15% of all passengers using Nis Airport are from Kosovo.

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    2. It depends whether those passengers were using PRN or SKP.

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    3. Given that INI is advertising in Pristina I would guess they were using both airports.

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  9. Great news for Nis and passengers. if not today Ryanair will for sure expand later this year. But I think they will announce something today. It's a year since they announced they are starting flights from INI.

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  10. Like it or not, Ryanair has the strongest and most sustainable business model. As much as I and others who can afford it prefer the onboard comfort and amenities that Air Serbia offer, Serbia is at the end of the day a developing country where the vast majority of outbound passengers see flying strictly as a means to get from A to B rather then an experience in its own right. Etihad inspired Air Serbia on board high cost product isn't the most suitable for such a market. The Air Serbia model is a bit too "Marie Antoinette", but then what else would you expect from politicians like those that run Serbia who are completely out of touch with the reality around them.

    When (not if) Ryanair enters Belgrade with based aircraft, that will be the nail in the coffin for Air Serbia unless it's able to radically transform itself into something akin to Aer Lingus or Aegean.

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    1. BS. Ryan entered Serbia only 6 months ago. They operated for decades in developed countries where people also just want to get from A to B, that model was not specifically made for Serbia. Wizz has aircraft based at Belgrade and that didn't put any nails in the Air Serbia coffin. You have to be totally out of touch of reality to say that Ryan basing aircraft at Belgrade will have that effect.

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  11. Can Nis's terminal handle more flights? On Monday when there were 3 Wizz Air planes at the airport at the same time it was packed and crowded.

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    1. Yeah, the issue is that most flights arrive at the same time. There is a lot of room in the afternoon and in the evening.

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  12. Kinda OT: So far (Jan-Mar 17) INI has welcomed 66'220 PAX or more than 50% of last years PAX (124917)

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    1. Great! If FR further expands then the airport will handle more than 300.000 passengers.

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    2. TSR has 70% growth compared to Q1 2016 and served around 330k passengers in Q1 2017. Go FR, go W6!

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    3. Alen Šćuric PurgerApril 12, 2017 at 2:05 PM

      So, it is 66.220 in 3 months what would make 265.000 a year.

      But

      1. There would be new routes in rest of the year (Swiss and Germania to ZRH)

      2. Jannuary to March is the worst part of the year, all other months for sure will be much better

      3. There is huge possibility of new routes of Ryanair and Wizz answer to that. For some other carrier it is too late to announce now.

      So their prediction of 350.000 in this year was not unreal.

      Concerning possible new Ryanair routes, depends on date those would start, even 400.000 is possible.

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    4. Two more things:

      - Germania already confirmed flights in winter.
      - Wizz Air already increased INI-DTM by adding a freuqncy

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  13. Paris seems a logical choice. I'm surprised they haven't launched it before. Quite a lot pf people from east/south serbia lives around that area.

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  14. Extremely smart decision by the airport not to get tied down to just one LCC - Wizz.

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    1. Tuzla take note

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    2. I agree and let's see how will Wizz Air respond to this.

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    3. SKP should also take a note.

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    4. SKP is a bad comparison, and TZL a great one. INI literally started from zero so could set up any scheme without cannibalizing existing traffic. Ryanair on the other hand, while picking secondary airports has only ever chosen the ones with the lower costs than anyone else. This would probably indicate INI is leaving some money on the table in the process, yet that's a reasonable trade-off for the variety it brings in the long term. Good luck.

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    5. ^ True. Although I think Ryan came to Nis after they failed to make a deal with Skopje.

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  15. Good job INI! I was always thinking that Ryanair need to open more routes from Rijeka airport and promote that like routes from airport close to the Zagreb. They doing that almost on every secondary airport.

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  16. Exciting times for Nis. Who would have thought a year ago?

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  17. I hope Ryanair eventually opens a baae in INI.

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  18. From the text it does not seem they will be announcing any new routes today.

    At a press a press conference in the Southeast Serbian city today, the Deputy Sales and Marketing Manager for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dimitra Apatsidou, marked the carrier's 50.000th passenger from the city since launching operations in September last year.

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    1. They updated the info ;) new routes coming.

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  19. Nothing concrete in terms of possible new routes but I am sure they will come soon. Pity about no plans to Belgrade.

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  20. Replies
    1. They said they will announce new routes from INI next month :))

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  21. Very good news for Nis. So there will be more than one new route announced next month?

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    1. Ryanair rarely announces just one new destination (although it is not impossible). In January they announced just one new route from Podgorica.

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    2. Actually it looks like it will be just one new route and the announcement will be made by early May. My money is on Paris.

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  22. INI has been a remarkable success story. And for those interested how the airport makes a profit - they manage and collect fees from all of Nis city's car parking places. That's their main source of revenue.

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    1. That's interesting but I assume the losses of 3 euro charges for airlines is running at quite a loss for the airport. I can't believe that it can be covered by parking places in the city,

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    2. I think their goal at this point is to reduce the overall loss. Also once the airport passes the 400,000 passenger mark they should be close to a breakeven number.

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    3. in all fairness ... i heard tourism is booming down there so that should als be taken into consideration...

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    4. 48% of all FR passengers on FR to INI are foreigners.

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    5. there is a noticable numbers of foreigners in the city

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    6. In many parts of the world that is not infested by FR/W6 airports are profitable entities. Airports now have to run a side business such as parking lots to make up for the loss. What's next? Airports running casinos, smugling arms and drugs so they can offer no fee service to Wizz and Ryan?

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  23. Will we see some sort of response from Wizz? Last year they announced new routes straight away when Ryanair came onto the scene.

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    1. In the meantime they announced a 2nd a/c in BEG and TZL and a 4th one in SKP. I'm sure INI's turn will come once it's proven itself as a viable and self-sustainable market.

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    2. What do you mean once it has proven itself a self-sustaining market? It already has. Don't forget that no airline receives subsidies in cash, just reduced charges.

      Also, Wizz Air has already increased INI-DTM.

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    3. I don't mean to prove itself in the eyes of an Anonymous poster on a blog somewhere, but in the eyes of the relevant airline execs. A good sign towards that will be a based aircraft.

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    4. ...or the fact that they already increased some destinations. It's a positive sign, not only for me but for those people working there in the airline.

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  24. Eurowings will also be announcing flights to Nis soon.

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    1. http://www.aviatica.rs/eurowings-u-pregovorima-sa-niskim-aerodromom/

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  25. It is sometimes hard to believe that airlines ignored or underrated gems like INI, but also it is not normal for a medium sized country like Serbia to have 1 airport. After all BEG is not Serbia.
    Also shows how this part of the country badly needed new routes. Still remember the days when YM used to fly daily to TGD. It´s all gone with the wind.

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    1. Ne lupetaj pogledaj madjarsku i slovacku.

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    2. Hungary has two airports, Slovakia has 4.

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    3. Још када би могли да блокирамо овог примитивца што говори народу да лупета.

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  26. I didn't understand - did they announced any new routes today or didn't?

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    1. If you read the article you will find your answer.

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    2. I can't read the article 100 times, because every 5 min. it is modified. When they modify articles they shall put the modification as P.S. in order not to read everything in order to find 2 new sentences.

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  27. OT: Austrian B767-300 to Dubrovnik tody- full house :)

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    1. Btw their B763 is only slightly bigger than the A321. They are sending since they don't have any A321s available. :)

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    2. The 767 is scheduled every Wednesday and they are increasing flights to 10 per week!

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    3. Is it full house because of easter celebrations?

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    4. The 767 is scheduled every Wednesday and Friday due to high demand.

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    5. Also in Split 10% more routes than last year, most of them almost full! Looking forward to seeing April pax numbers!

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    6. Any info on Zagreb? I've been following the equipment in and out and it seems pretty standard. TK did send their A321

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    7. LH, OS, BA with bigger planes, but, of course, not OU. They still fly MUC-ZAG with Q400. 100% on most flights. God forbid to make few extra flights to DBV, SPU, Germany...

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    8. Where does OU fly its A320s these days? Star hubs and AMS?

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    9. For high demand Austrian should use sometimes 777 before 10/7 service begins!

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  28. 50000 pax in less than 6 months is not bad. That means their avarage cabin load factor out of Nis is around 85%. Looking forward to the new destinations.

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    1. Good. They usually aim for a 90% LF on their flights.

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  29. Could INI overtake PUY this year? If FR adds more destinations then they could easily pass the 400.000 mark.

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    1. Maybe not this but they can next year

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    2. Why not? They will be neck and neck. INI could handle 500.000 in 2018.

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    3. And if more carriers come to PUY?

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  30. Chance to see rayan air on brac next sommer? Did sombody talk abaute some new routes from brac? Only tui with 2 detination or hawe somthing more?chance for some new company?

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  31. Intresting will be route to Prague,Budapest,Athens,Rome and Barcelona

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  32. Would be great if they announced flights from KVO. Its much closer to BEG, has a better terminal than INI, and currently has no competitors. Its more than ideal... someone jump on this opportunity!

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    1. I totally agree and breaks me apart to see KVO so abandoned. Do you know if there is a bus station or if they are planning to connect the airport to downtown?

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  33. No matter if other airlines are flying to nearby destinations, from MALTA still remains expensive and with to much land travel to reach the great city of NIS and all its vicinities!!!! Along with the many Serbs working and living in Malta coming from the South/ East part of Serbia, there are many Maltese who would like to explore the great city. But until we have a cheap direct flight it cannot happen cos still not competitive. The Maltese believe so much in weekend breaks and I am very certain that having a low cost flight to Nis it will be an ideal destination. I know,cos I've been there many times myself and I always enjoyed my stay. I always say once you go there you keep wanting to keep going again and again. Malta - Nis / Nis -Malta both destination has alot to offer but we need a good and practical connection. RYAN AIR we wait and look forward to fly with you at Low cost and good service.......

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