Friday, June 2, 2017

Hainan brings forward Belgrade launch plans


Hainan Airlines has adjusted its application with the Civil Aviation Administration of China over its planned flights between Beijing and Belgrade via Prague. In a notice filed on May 31, the Chinese carrier has requested to launch the new service in August instead of September as initially planned. Furthermore, the airline has revised its equipment on the route from the Airbus A330-300 aircraft to a mix of A330-200/300s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Hainan has both the -800 and -900 variants of the type in its fleet, boasting 213 and 293 seats respectively. On the other hand, its A330-200 has the capacity to carry 222 travellers, while the -300 version has 292 seats.

In its modified application, Hainan Airlines has also requested to run flights to Belgrade up to three times per week (on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays), instead of the initially filed two weekly schedule, although the carrier could still opt for the latter without any further notice to the regulator. The Aviation Administration has now issued a deadline until Tuesday, June 6 at 11.00 CEST for any comments, feedback or objections to the planned new service. Despite the filing, Hainan Airlines still has the right to modify some aspects of its new flights, such as the launch date, once it is granted a permit. The carrier has also requested slots at Prague and Belgrade airports.

The majority of passengers flying between China and Serbia travel by Aeroflot via Moscow, according to Sabre Airline Solutions. However, most of the traffic flow between the two countries is between Shanghai and Belgrade, not Beijing. This is believed to be because the largest portion of Chinese nationals residing in Serbia have their origins in two provinces south of the Shanghai region. The planned new service between Beijing and Belgrade via Prague will cater primarily for businesspeople and Chinese tourists. Last week, Hainan Airlines said it plans to spend $4.2 billion on new planes, as it expands its fleet to take advantage of strong demand from Chinese travellers. The company's 238-strong fleet currently consists of 205 Boeing and 33 Airbus aircraft. The carrier opened 42 international routes last year and now has a network of more than 1.000 routes, 900 of which are domestic. Hainan Airlines, a unit of Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, said it expected traveller demand to keep improving with the growth of the Chinese economy and consumer incomes. "The fleet expansion will grow the company's capacity and act as strategic preparation for the company's plans to expand its route network and increase its market share", Hainan Airlines said in a statement.

159 comments:

  1. Nice. So we will see a Dreamliner in Belgrade on a regular basis after all.

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    1. Are there other cities that get the B787 in ex-Yu? I know Dubrovnik does. Split maybe?

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    2. None on a scheduled basis.

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    3. DBV gets scheduled flights in the summer with Thomson. Split doesn't.

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    4. It's scheduled as EQV so it's either B757, B763 or B788.

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  2. "Hainan Airlines has adjusted its application"... and they will continue to do so...until they cancel it. Btw. they announced an increase of flight to PRG so demand mus be good there, no need to share capacities with another destination.

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    1. Have you even read the article past the first five words?

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    2. How often do they fly to PRG?

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    3. yes! anything i missed? where can I book the flights? They increased PRG to 4 times a week from August, no announcement, I can book those flights, but BEG? We keep hearing they filed something with an administration, maybe 767, 787, maybe 332, 333 etc .... until now just a MAYBE. Not saying its not gonna happen, but until NOW its jus a MAYBE.

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    4. @ 9.07, 3 times per week. They will add a fourth weekly flight during June, July and August.

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    5. In order to put flights on sale, first you need to get approval for them. Requesting for approval indicates you plan to launch the flights. If you have been following the news about HNA and BEG you would understand that this makes sense. But you are just bitter.

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    6. @9.08 where did you see 767? It's not mentioned anywhere.

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    7. Don't worry. He claimed the same when Air Serbia asked for approval to start flights to New York. Some things never change.

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    8. Bringing forward the route and applying for more frequencies shows more confidence in the route, not the contrary anon 9.03.

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    9. No I am not bitter, I really hope those flights materialize.The only thing I am saying is that it is not really concrete to be starting flight in 8 weeks time (that is if they get the approval TODAY). EK ZAG flights went on sale half a year in advance, which according to some airlines is also not too much. But 8 weeks?

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    10. ^That is how Chinese airlines operate. They put tickets on sale 2-4 weeks before they start flights. Beijing Capital put sales for Barcelona 3 weeks before scheduled start.

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    11. @9.07 this is the Prague schedule
      http://www.routesonline.com/news/38/airlineroute/273047/hainan-airlines-expands-prague-frequencies-in-s17/

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    12. Is that why they dont fly to BCN then?

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    13. Looking at the schedule, seems like the flight will arrive to Belgrade at around 10.00 and leave just before the noon madness starts.

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    14. @9.20 Sorry I meant Lisbon not Barcelona. Was reading the Level story on the left before that. They do seem to have pushed back the Lisbon start by a few weeks.

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  3. I don't understand these Chinese companies that put tickets on sale a month before the flights start. How can that work for them? What's the catch?

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    1. Thee are 1.3 billion Chinese in China, I think that is the catch :)

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  4. How soon after these flights begin do you think we will see direct flights? I'm hoping for spring 2018.

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  5. These are some fantastic news! Not only are we going to have the Dreamliner in Belgrade but the airline is already increasing its flights which is a good sign for what's to come.

    Serbia has been promoted like crazy in China so we shouldn't be surprised if the number of tourists keeps on increasing. The airline has already stated that flights via Prague are only until they see how their Belgrade flights perform. I am sure that from spring we are going to have non-stop flights to Beijing.

    As for Aeroflot, we shouldn't worry too much about them. O&D market has been steadily increasing over the last months. For example, in 2015 there were less than 600 Russian companies in Serbia while today there are over 860!

    BEG handling 5.5 million is not so unrealistic now.

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    1. +1

      To tell you the truth I think it is smart on their behalf to start flights via another city, especially since winter is coming. Makes much more sense and secures the development of the Belgrade route which can later go nonstop.

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    2. And 6 mil in 2018.

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    3. Chinese airlines seem to operate many one stop flights. Air China flies to BCN via VIE and to ATH via MUC.

      Also, if I remember correctly the flight to BUD is operated via MSQ.

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    4. @NemjeeJune 2, 2017 at 9:19 AM

      If Belgrade handles 5.2 million that'd be really nice result, 5.5 million in 2018, that be a really great result too, 6 million in 2020, you can count yourself lucky.

      As things stand Air Serbia will need to make profits, clearly tax-payers can't pay for carrier that is losing money so bad.

      Only option Air Serbia has, cutting on loss making routes, introduce new revenue stream so the airline can recuperate what are massive losses, and we'll see if Etihad is still interested in what Air Serbia does in 2018. I don't think Etiahd will maintain their interest in Air Serbia, and 10 A320 NEO might not happen. We'll see in 2018, but somehow it looks to me this way.

      Etiahd suppose to lease 10 A320 Neo to Air Serbia, but wit Etiahd's own financial wows, I can't see this happening now.

      Air Berlin, Alitalia have taken Etihad down to its knees.

      Wizz Air will be one of few vehicles of growth @Belgrade airport. I anticipate 4-6% growth rates for Belgrade for foreseeable future.

      If Belgrade can secure more airlines, this might change, Hainan isn't a serious airline, if China Southern or China Eastern or Air China decide to establish direct links ,that'd be something completely different, these are serious Chinese airlines. Everyone else is literally taking a piss.

      Hainan often demands subsidies from airports. I wouldn't be surprised this is the case here as well.

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    5. Hainan isn't a serious airline?

      110 destinations
      Three hubs
      177 aircraft
      Publicly listed on Shanghai Stock Exchange

      It's more serious than 80% of the airlines flying to ex-YU airports.

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    6. There is no doubt JU is going through a tough period but the airline is far from being in crisis mode. Even if EY pulls out, the government can continue pumping money into it as there is nothing to stop them. No government will ever close JU, it would be a massive fiasco.

      Air Serbia has recorded a 7% passenger growth this year so they are going to continue providing BEG with the necessary growth.
      With zero growth until the end of the year, BEG will handle 5.1 million. I am sure they will add another 400.000 in the next six months, especially since this summer season will be a busy one.

      As always, time will tell. That said, these Chinese flights are definitely a step in the right direction and are in line with Serbia's foreign policy.

      What I don't get is how some people on here justify ZAG's growth with such ease while having a hard time believing BEG can keep growing.

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    7. @NemjeeJune 2, 2017 at 7:06 PM

      Cause Zagreb numbers are based on actual new airlines and new growth. Zagreb adds around 5-6 new airlines each year, this trend will continue until airport hits around 50-55 airlines serving the city.

      Currently there are 22-25 airlines flying in. So you can expect another 5-6 years of new airlines coming at this rate of 5-6 per year.

      Also Zagreb's numbers are based on large flow of visitors to Croatia, 17.5 million are expected this year, Zagreb expects around 1.3 - 1.4 million visitors, 2.3-2.5 million nights.

      Major Hollywood film productions are happening in Croatia, and will be happening in Croatia, this brings loads of visitors and more importantly trade.

      Belgrade's growth was based on massive Air Serbia expansion, which grew from 1.3 million in 2014 to 2.6 million in 2016, doubling in less than 2 years. This is impressive, but Air Serbia dumping prices, pushed many carriers away from Belgrade and now many won't return cause they see it as unpredictable and not worth a risk.

      Only airlines that are more adventurous are low cost operators. If Belgrade can attract these carriers in large numbers, yes growth can continue at certain rate, but never at rates you had when Air Serbia went ballistic.

      250-300 000 pax per year in growth is more realistic. Sorry I don't see 400 000 happening, not before 2020 at least.

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  6. Still don't see the benifit if it goes via Prague.

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    1. Good for transfer if you are going elsewhere other than Beijing. Hainan has a big network and this way you travel with 1 ticket.

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    2. And you also don't have to worry about your luggage being lost.

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    3. Anon 9.20: Cause there is none. Looks like Chinese had to throw a bone to ease conditions for their investments in Serbia.

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  7. Last Friday I was flying from BEG around 1pm and in front of the airport there was a massive group of Chinese tourists that were waiting to board a bus. I wonder which airline they used. There must have been around 40-50 of them.

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    1. If it was around 13.00 then most likely it was flydubai which arrives at 12.55 or Aeroflot which lands at 12.25.

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    2. It was probably Aeroflot. It was very busy in front of the airport especially with all of them standing there. Anyway good to see groups have already started coming.

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    3. Aeroflot does really well in Belgrade. Both of their flights are full to the last seat.

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    4. Aeroflot use A320/738 on afternoon flight and A320/A321 on night flight

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    5. How did you tell they are tourists?

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    6. lol... what else would they be? I mean if you see a large group of Asians waiting for a bus in front of the airport one will assume they are not businessmen.

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  8. Nice, but JU will have a competition on PRG services.

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    1. If Hainan gets fifth freedom JU can codeshare on those flights to Prague. The flight times wouldn't clash.

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    2. I don't think they'll get fifth freedom rights.

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    3. or to make things simple, with codesharing on HU flights JU can simply cease their BEG-PRG flights on the days HU serve it. It is not like Montenegro-bound flights so you can compete with an AT7 against a larger jet.

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    4. I suppose fifth freedom needs also to be approved by Czech authorities and not only Serbian, but taking in consideration that CSA does not fly to BEG I believe it should not be a problem

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  9. This route announcement shows how big countries and companies have little or zero respect to politicians from this region, how much Vucic had done just to bring this route via another city in Europe.

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    1. It shows that they value their business above all. Not that I want to endorse Vucic since I hate the guy but if it wasn't for his lobbying we probably wouldn't get this either.

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  10. Maybe it would have made more sense for flights from Shanghai instead of Beijing.

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    1. This just means BEG will have both destinations by summer 2018. Now wouldn't that be nice.

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    2. You also LOLed when JU announced its intention to fly to JFK.

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    3. That was not me, sorry.

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    4. Air Serbia should launch Shanghai 2x weekly from winter

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    5. It will be the same result nonetheless.

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    6. So real, that would make Belgrade to have 2 routes to China, something not even Budapest and Athens have. So real...

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  11. Last night I saw a huge group of Chinese tourists in Novi Sad. I think I never saw organized Chinese groups in NS before, seems like their numbers are really growing ...

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    1. Yes, triple digit growth and there is no sign of it slowing down!

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  12. OT

    More good news for Serbia. On tomorrow's DTM-INI flight one of the passengers will break last year's record when the airport handled 124.917 passengers.

    It is expected that by the end of the year the airport will welcome 330.000 passengers. However with LX extending its flights and FR introducing NYO we might expect even more.

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    1. Great news for INI, what a success this airport has become!

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    2. Maybe 500,000 next year

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    3. So, INI is actually catching up with SKP. I thought it was not possible but hey..not bad at all. Super INI!

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    4. How many passengers does SKP have? One thing that INI has going for itself that SKP doesn't is the variety in relation to the number of passengers handled.

      I have a feeling the next one will be Eurowings with flights to Nish.

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    5. SKP YTD pax: 501,483
      INI YTD pax: 124,917
      Difference: 376 thousand which is not that much bearing in mind that Germania still didnt start.

      My prediction is that INI can reach 1 million by 2019.

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    6. Nish has several airlines all competing against thus keeping fares low. In addition to that costs at the airport are low so they can actually make money while being there.

      The issue with SKP is that it has become a Wizz monopoly there and fares have been continuosly rising.

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    7. I admit INI has made a very smart move of not allowing a monopoly. There is a smooth division of destinations between FR and W6 and of course, the biggest shot was getting an all-year legacy and prestige such as LX.
      Very well done indeed, a lesson to be learnt.

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    8. I am still surprised Wizz has not announced something more for INI. Though I have to say that I am happy that they are adding another flight to BSL and seasonally to DTM.

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  13. It's nice to see Asian routes expanding in ex-yu. BEG started with China, hopefully Korean next year to ZAG and ANA to DBV. Plenty of options for travelers from ex-yu region.

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    1. Actually that is not "plenty of options" for ex-yu travellers. Because there is no real hub, just few average airports and nothing more. Noone from Serbia will come to ZAG and fly with Korean, and same thing with Hainan in BEG, there will be minor Croats on flights.

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    2. ANA will operate flights to LJU in S 17

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  14. Purger wrote a good analysis of this route a couple of days ago.

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  15. OT: EY is upgrading ATH to daily 787, can we expect to also upgrade BEG to 787 even if it is for some days of the week?
    With JU stopping its flights and with feed on both sides of the route I believe it is a must for them to send the Dreamliner here.

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    1. It is hard to belive, A321 is realistic, but not enough pax for 787.
      Belgrade is the poorest city and Serbia is the poorest country on Europe Etihad's destinations.

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    2. Are you saying that on their flights they're carrying passengers exclusively to Serbia??

      They have an alliance partner with a whole hub out of Belgrade, sending pax - guess where, even to Zagreb and the rest of Croatia. So you're implying it's also poor? Could be. After all they're for sure carrying more passengers than FZ used to ZAG.

      Wake up and smell the roses.

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    3. Dude, EY flies widebodies to much much poorer countries in Africa and Adia with widebodies... stop trolling...

      They've built up a nice market in Serbia together with JU and unless they are content with spillage as a result of JU's drop, they'll most certainly upgrade equipment to larger capacity.

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    4. Yes, flights to Croatia are very full, because of that ZAG is degraded and lof of flights are empty.

      In long term, QR will beat EY in BEG and it is more realistic to see QR double daily in BEG then EY.

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    5. Flights to Croatia are degraded because VCE was a priority and they couldn't afford to lease another aircraft. You need to set your priorities sometimes.

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    6. If ZAG performed better then they wouldn't be taking the plane away. Seems like there isn't that much of a market after which JU and TK are after.

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    7. A321 on route BEG-AUH is planned for winter 2017 and starting from summer 2018 A332 will be the regular plane used on that route

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    8. Nebojsa but shouldn't have they loaded the A321 already? I think it will stay as A320 this winter.

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    9. Where you can see it is planned on BEG-AUH route, or it's just rumor?

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    10. Wait, there is time. Maybe not on all of the days it'll be A321.

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  16. I have also noticed a lot more Chinese groups roaming around the city.

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    1. What city?

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    2. Belgrade :)

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    3. Anon 10.00 Did you tell all the Chinese tourists about the new daily flights with EK from the new fabulous ZAG terminal inc. A380 flights from Dubai?

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    4. No I just see them on the street, didn't talk to them.

      Good for you buddy and the dubai flights.

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    5. BEG is also connected to DXB only 3 times less per week vs ZAG.
      BEG will soon be connected daily to DOH - 3 times less
      ZAG is not connected to AUH though, but BEG is.
      So in the end, both cities win and there are no losers.

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    6. There is a difference between the number of frequencies and the number of passengers carried. :)

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    7. There is also a difference between being connected to Dubai and being connected to Abu Dhabi.
      We all know which one is more important.

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    8. Well that's why it is good for a city to have floghts to both.

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  17. Great news. Good luck Belgrade and Hainan.

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  18. There will be even more good news soon about flights to BEG from a country no one would ever have expected :)

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    1. OMG give us some hints at least

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    2. Qantas daily from Sydney

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    3. Mexico City via JFK

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    4. Non stop flights to rovaniemi - home of Santa Claus?

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    5. ryanair 3pw to auckland, new zealand

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    6. None of the above. It's in Asia, not the ex-USSR states. I think the media will pick up on it next week.

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    7. If what you're saying is true, it could only be charters to South Korea, Japan or possibly India

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    8. It's India guys.

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    9. India on Ryanair or Wizz? Must admit didn't see that coming? Is there a market for flights between Serbia and India?

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    10. ^ Since you don't know half of the story or background for these, try to reserve your 'smart' comments until more is made public.

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    11. This will hurt some.

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    12. I think he is trolling. There is no reason why media will pick it up next week.

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    13. He isn't. Already reported in 2 newspapers today.

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    14. Lies. I checked the main ones and nothing.

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    15. Why don't you check Vecernje novosti smarty pants.

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    16. The only thing I found is that some Indian tour operator Integlob is interested in these flights:

      http://www.telegraf.rs/vesti/2809535-uskoro-direktni-let-iz-beograda-do-indije

      Seems like they are looking for a local partner and Belgrade is the frontrunner.

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    17. '“Kroacia Erlajns” ili grčki “Egian” će sigurno pristati.'

      Seems like they are looking for an airline to operate these flights. He said that if JU doesn't want to then OU or A3 surely will. The only thing he is forgetting is that it's only JU that has the necessary aircraft to make it to India.

      I still don't know why they are after a European airline. They can cooperate with Jet or Air India.

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    18. i bet on JU flights to japan
      SRBIJA DO TOKIJA!!!1!

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    19. @Petar,
      Tokyo posle Hawaii lol

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    20. JU may have one aircraft that can make it to India but I highly doubt they could afford to send it there more often than once per week. And for sure they will not lease another one so that they serve India.

      Nemjee is right, Jet would be a logical choice as they have quite a few widebodies that could use some additional utilization.

      This story does not sound serious to me.

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    21. It's similar to what the Chinese are doing with Hainan so why not. The only thing that needs to change is the airline they want to partner with.

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    22. They will send it there as often as Indians and other passengers are willing to pay, which is more than have it sitting on the ground @BEG.

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  19. Not Turkmenistan? I thought that they were committing flights to LJU or is it VLM Airlines

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  20. Congrats to BEG. It's becoming a true hub.

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  21. Real hubs has KLM, Air France, British, Sas, Tap...

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    1. (refer to 10:41)

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    2. No, that's not true. A true hub has good links to many different places and several options for its passengers. BEG has a good mix of lowcost and legacy carriers and is connected to many different cities on four continents.

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  22. Wow! BEG has certainly come a long way since December 2009! I am sure more great news will come our way! Congrats to everyone.

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  23. Holy cow! First it was JFK, then daily DOH and now its gonna be PEK and eventually SHA in 2018!
    I certainly think the future of BEG will be bright. Hope to see connections to Canada and Australia soon.
    If Serbia cannot become an EU member, then it can work with China and get more economic ties, free movement.

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    1. With popular support for EU membership down to 41% I think the option to look the other way is becoming a reality.
      Serbia is already paving its road to the east where more opportunities lay for its citizens and companies.

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  24. OT: DBV with 19% growth in May!

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    1. Split up 28% in May.

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    2. Croatia Really rocks! 10 Million Pax this year :)

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    3. Split will handle 650.000 Pax in July!

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    4. Wow so twice as many as ZAG!

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  25. Good news. Good luck!

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  26. Anyone know when the renovated A10 gate will open?

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    1. It hasn't been renovated

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    2. Not yet but they said that it will be opened before these flights take place.

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    3. No they didn't. They said they would eventually start work on it and provided renders. They never set out an exact date.

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    4. The CEO said it in one of his interviews, it was reported on here.

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    5. True but he was saying about the T1 check in area which will be completed in about 10 days.

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  27. PRG STA 6:00
    PRG STD 7:50
    BEG STA 9:20
    BEG STD 11:10
    PRG STA 12:45
    PRG STD 14:35

    Means, all turnaround times in Europe will take 1h50.

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  28. Has the number of Chinese passengers arriving to Belgrade increased with the newly established visa-free regime?

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    1. Yes, so far this year the increase of Chinese tourists in Serbia has seen triple digit growth.

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    2. Off a virtually zero base number

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  29. Cestitke Beogradskom aerodromu. Za dve, tri godine Beogradski terminali ce doci do maksimuma za normalno opsluzivanje putnika. Koncesionar je potreban neizostavno da bi se blagovremeno i efikasno uslo u gradnju novog Teceg terminala. Naravno i ostalih objekata. Tek posle masovnog investiranja i dovrsetka celog aerodromskog projekta, aerodrom Nikola Tesla ce postati veliki hab jugoistocne Evrope. Ali mali za sedam do osam evropskih. A za velike svetske aerodrme, centralna, istocna (izuzev Moskve) i jugo istocna Evropa nikada nece moci ni da sanja. Jer do 25 miliona su veliki aerodromi. Iznad toga su habovi, super habovi i za iducih dvadeset godina pocinju mega habovi. Sleteo sam do sada u mojim putovanjima oko 170 aerodroma u zadnjih 48 godina. Pomalo sam ponesto i shvatio o njima.
    Najdrazi meni su Sydney, Belgrade, Tel Aviv and Los Angeles. Najimpresionarniji su za sada Dubai, Peking, Atlanta, Singapore, Johannesburg, Incenon, Bangkok, Santjago i Frankfurt.
    Ima velike nade za Beogradskog Nikolu Teslu. Tek dolaskom investicije od strane izabranog koncesionara. Do tada ovaj aerodrom se sporo razvija. Njegovi finansijski potencijai su skromni i ogranicavajuci...
    pozdrav iz Sidneja.
    Rodney Marinkovic at Home of Qantasville I.
    Kings Park NSW.
    Sydney AUSTRALIA

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    1. Gritings to Austrejlija, bre!

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    2. Dear Anon 12:52 PM.
      Greetings to you in Serbia, with no "bre". Svako dobro i toplo Vam leto.
      Radovan.

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  30. Congratulations to BEG! We shall have next summer regularly at least A332(JU), A332(EY) and A332/A333 or B787(HU)

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    1. EY 332 will came same second as 2nd A330 from Air Serbia will come. Ops... wasn't that plan for last December?

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  31. I am sure that if Hainan flew to SYD, then Serbians in Australia will use it. China Southern has sometimes some amazing fares via Guangzhou and CDG/AMS. I dont care to have 2 stopovers but to pay 200 or 300 EUR cheaper vs EK and QF.
    China will be the future close partner of Serbia, once they arrive they can even fix the country, roads and tourism. Railways and invest heavily in Serbia. And one day, JU might fly with the new Comac Chinese aircraft - cheaper than A319.

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  32. Nice! I am sure this route will become an even greater success once it goes direct!

    Things are really looking up for Belgrade.

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  33. OT

    For all interested here is a video of Cyprus Airways' inaugural flight from LED. Personally I love their livery.

    https://www.facebook.com/CyprusAeropolis/videos/1881135258801868/

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  34. Anyone notice that Hainan adjusted their permit request a day after the bid submission deadline for BEG airport? :D

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    1. I wouldn't read too much into that.

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  35. Bravo BEG, Hainan is very good company. Now, we will have direct flights BEG - PEK in April, May 2018.

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  36. The dreamliner in Belgrade!! Respect! China is definitely the way to go in terms of developing connections with. Also, if I'm not mistaken, Serbia is the only country in the ex-yu region, with significant Chinese immigrant community. I read somewhere there's 15,000 Chinese living in Serbia (mostly in Belgrade).

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