Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Indian travel giant in talks over Serbia flights


InterGlobe Enterprises, the parent company of India’s largest and busiest carrier, IndiGo, with capital in tourism and aviation, has expressed interest in linking India and Serbia to cater for Indian tourists visiting the entire region. The company is currently seeking cooperation with Air Serbia to jointly establish flights between the two countries. According to the “Večernje Novosti” daily, InterGlobe Enterprises has already held talks with the Serbian government and the country’s tourism board over potential services from Delhi and Mumbai. The matter was also discussed between India's Prime Minister and his Serbian counterpart during the latter's visit to the sub-continent this January. “India is a large and promising market. We are currently in talks with one of India’s largest tour operators concerning our inclusion in its package tours”, the head of the Tourist Organisation of Serbia, Marija Labović, said.

InterGlobe’s regional representative in Belgrade, Zoran Dražeta, said, “If Air Serbia accepts the offer and becomes a partner, we could secure up to 1.000 passengers per week, maybe even more. This is a major opportunity for Serbian tourism, as well as the hospitality sector”. He added that the company will look elsewhere to the region if a deal is not reached, “If no deal is made with Air Serbia, then Croatia Airlines or Aegean Airlines most likely will. Talks are underway with the government and the tourism board as well”. However, Air Serbia’s CEO, Dane Kondić, told EX-YU Aviation News earlier this year that there is little interest in charter flights from Belgrade to far away markets. “There are very few destinations where you can fly the A330 that are going to be appealing to tour operators. Serbia is a price sensitive market and when we gauged interest for charters to Thailand – which is further to fly to than New York – the economics required to make it breakeven were too large. Another option we considered was the Caribbean, but that also can't be sustained from a market such as Serbia”, Mr Kondić explained. On the other hand, InterGlobe is aiming the potential service at Indian tourists. The last time Belgrade was linked with flights to India was just prior to the collapse of the former Yugoslavia when JAT Yugoslav Airline maintained services to Calcutta.

Serbia and India revised their Air Service Agreement in late March. Under the deal, Indian carriers can operate flights from any city in the country to any point in Serbia, while Serbian carriers can fly from any city in Serbia to four metropolitan cities in India, including Mumbai, Delhi and two other points which will be specified at a later date. Furthermore, any intermediate and beyond points can also be served by the designated carriers from both sides. Designated airlines are able to exercise domestic codeshare rights to any four additional points in the territory of the other party. According to the Indian government, "The new updated and liberalised Air Service Agreement between India and Serbia has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchange between the two countries. The agreement will provide commercial opportunities for carriers on both sides, ensuring greater safety and security. Currently, there is no connectivity between the two nations and the revised agreement may lead to establishing connectivity between the two countries". India's second largest airline, Jet Airways, is partly owned by Etihad Airways, which also holds a 49% stake in Air Serbia. India’s GMR Infrastructure Limited is currently bidding for a 25 year concession of Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport.

124 comments:

  1. The only reason they approached Air Serbia to shuttle Indian tourists to the region is because it is the only airline that actually can.

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  2. Interesting but I doubt it will materialize. Air Serbia probably won't accept any partnership.

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  3. "If no deal is made with Air Serbia, then Croatia Airlines or Aegean Airlines most likely will".

    How? If they don't have the equipment.

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    1. I seriously doubt that either one of them can spare an aircraft during Summer season.

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  4. The only way flights from India could work is if an airline operated the flight onwards to the US or Canada.

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    1. Didn't Air India plan something like that via Ljubljana a few years ago but they never followed through with the plan.

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    2. I think that was more wishful thinking by Ljublajana Airport. But Air India did express interest in Adria and Jat Airways stake a few years ago.

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    3. @ 9.06. I agree. Jet Airways could fly to Toronto via BEG. Since they are part of the same alliance Air Serbia could codeshare.

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    4. 9W seems very happy with their hub in AMS, moving there from BRU. Their AMS hub works very well for them. I dont see 9W doing TATL from BEG.

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  5. That would be interesting - flights to the US, China and India from BEG :D

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  6. This could be a good opportunity for Air Serbia to deploy its A330 somewhere this winter rather than sitting on the tarmac for 3 days of the week.

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    1. Didn't Kondic say it was cheaper to keep the plane on the ground then use it somewhere else?

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  7. Can't they get an Indian company to fly these flights if JU is not interested?

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    1. Because I doubt any Indian company would be interested.

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    2. Jet Airways would be the only one that would make some sense.

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  8. Indigo has 135 planes and 460 on order :O including 388 A320neos!

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    1. Huge market.

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    2. Over the next 20 years it is expected that India will generate 275 million new passengers.

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  9. It is impressive that Serbia is trying to establish flights to all corners of the globe and increase tourism. Not sure this will work out but I wouldn't dismiss it. Crazier things have happened.

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    1. Serbia developing its tourism sector is crazy to you? Look at what we did with the Israelis or the Turks.

      Israeli airlines will offer seven weekly flights while KK has already increased its frequencies to BEG.

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    2. I meant crazier as in flights to India which are a bit out there. I actually do think its impressive how some markets have developed for Serbia. Markets you would never have expected. It seems the government really has the objective to develop tourism, which it should. Serbia is a beautiful country with a lot to see.

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    3. How is the tourism quality outside Belgrade? I know Kopaonik. What else should I see in Serbia. Hotel standards?
      Do we hve seen a lot of investments and hotel renovations?

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    4. Quite a lot of 5 star hotels have opened across Serbia. They are a bit kitch but extremely high standard. Here is an example: http://a-hotel-izvor.com/ / http://www.hotelpremieraqua.com/en/ most of them are in the same style

      If you are looking for quick visits definitely visit Vojvodina. It's different then the rest of the country.

      For me the most beautiful part is Western Serbia in summer (Tara mountain). Really worth a visit.

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    5. Personally, I think eastern Serbia is beautiful especially areas like Kladovo. However, all hotels there are constantly full with Romanian and Bulgarian tourists.

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    6. Thanks guys, will check it out. I ve a friend in Novi Sad, will def visit him in the near future

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  10. Could this be linked with the Indian company bidding for BEG concession? The Koreans have also said that flights to BEG would start if Incheon gets the concession.

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    1. I don't think the two are related in this case.

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    2. I don't know but 2 weeks ago representatives from the Indian company bidding for BEG visited Belgrade. They held talks with the government too.

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  11. Possible charters, why not.

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  12. What is next? Qantas to LJU 3pw from Sydney?

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    1. Why is this far fetched? India's biggest tour operator wants to offer packages for the entire region. They need someone to fly these flights. The only one that can operate the flights because it has the equipment is JU.

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    2. Yes with the Dreamliner :D

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    3. People launched when New York was announced. People launched when Beijing was announced.
      Follow the trend I guess...

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    4. Yes, more launches.

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    5. I think he meant laughed :D

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    6. ������

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  13. 1,000 people per week? Does he mean return passengers?

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    1. Lets assume its return pax, that is 500 each way, which is enough to fill 2 JU A330 flights per week.

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  14. Why did JAT fly to Calcutta? :D

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    1. They used to operate a few of their weekly flights to Beijing via Calcutta. India was one of Yugoslavia's closest allies at that time.

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    2. They used to get a lot of transfers from India to the US. The airline was very smart. From Australia too there were many transfers, not just Yugo diaspora. There were Greeks, Maltese, Turks. Even a lot of people traveling to the UK.

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  15. Air Serbia really has to do something with its A330 during the winter. I'm not saying they should fly to India but it is a good option since the rotation is shorter. Off course only if they can make some deal like this where a tour agent fills their plane. Otherwise there is no demand whatsoever.

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    1. Somehow I do not see Indian tourists coming to Serbia in
      Winter.

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  16. We all know JFK is a loss making route so in an ideal world they could have reduced it to two, three weekly with convenient times for the O&D market while the rest of the week they could run charters to India.

    It's not like they would lose money on them, especially since the Indian giant will fill all the seats at a decent price.

    India is roughly six, seven hours away. It will be cheaper to operate than New York, not to mention that yields would probably be higher as well.

    Another option is to have the DEL flights depart from BEG at 13.00 and to have them return at 05.30. Like that they could offer connections as well.

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    1. Agree. But the question is if that A330 could be better used on another destination other than India. So in addition to New York maybe Chicago or Toronto.

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    2. They could like in the old JU times fly Indians via BEG to the States. In the morning the aircraft arrives fm India and 2 hours later flies to JFK.

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    3. JU's main advantage is having a local partner, 9W who only have a couple Euro destinations in their network. Having on top a tour operator willing to supply 1.000 pax per week is an added bonus.

      Serbia has a lot to offer, is cheap, stable. Growing economic relations between the 2 is an added bonus, and direct flights could boost trade and investments between the 2 countries.

      India is a massive market and could gain a decent amount of transit pax to stimulate growth in the Euro network. JU offers 9W some unique destinations via BEG.

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  17. Indian tourists usually go to places which are inexpensive. In Europe they mostly travel to places like Switzerland and Austria where they spend time in the mountains. So village or banja tourism could be of interest to them. But a lot of work would have to be done and only a company like this could actually do it.

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    1. Yes, price is one of the most important factors for Indian tourists which is why the entire Balkan region could be of interest to them.

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    2. Switzerland and Austria are inexpensive?

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  18. I read an interview with Ana Brnabic recently who will probably become Serbia's next PM. It is interesting that she talked a lot about India and how after Russia and China it will be the next country where relations will be brought to the highest level. So you never know, if the government wants to improve relations they could be interested in these flights happening.

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  19. Would be really interesting if this materialised. Can money be made on this route?

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  20. LOL yeah right.

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  21. Does Croatia get tourists from India?

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    1. I think they filmed some Bollywood film in Dubrovnik two years ago and the number of visitors exploded.

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    2. Nice :) do you have the numbers by any chance?

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    3. Alen Šćuric PurgerJune 7, 2017 at 11:39 AM

      In 2016 there was 35.057 Indian tourist (77% more than 2015.)

      In Zagreb you could see a lot of Indian tourist last year. I Spoke with several of them in city (during some project of tourist office we supported).

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    4. Thanks Purger. That's a good number from a market which is not too acquainted with this region.

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    5. Alen Šćuric PurgerJune 7, 2017 at 2:03 PM

      You are welcome.

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  22. Do Indians need a visa to enter Serbia?

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    1. Yes. Only Ukraine allows visa on arrival out of the European countries for Indian passports.

      Serbians need to apply for an e-visa for India.

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    2. I think Indians need visas to the majority of countries in the world, But if they have a schengen visa they can enter Serbia as well up to 90 days.

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    3. According to Wikipedia, they have visa free or visa on arrival to 49 countries and territories.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_requirements_for_Indian_citizens

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    4. After Visit to India "Vucic also said that there will be talks on how to establish a visa-free regime between the two countries."

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  23. This all seems like they are dreaming. I mean the guy expects 1000 passengers per week. How many planes is that?

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    1. That's two return flights per week - one from Delhi and the other from Mumbai.

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  24. Considering that 9W has a very small presence in Europe, and with JU and 9W partner airlines, I think JU opening DEL or BOM a good way to use the under utilized A330.

    - JU could offer a wide variety of one stop options all over Europe, including destinations not available in the EY network (PRG, HAM, VIE, LJU, ZAG, ).
    - Support from a strong tourist agency is a great way to boost loads.
    - Serbia and India seem to be growing their economic ties. Direct flights would help improve trade between the 2 countries.
    - Indians do visit the Balkans in growing numbers, especially Croatia. All ex-YU destinations are easily reached from BEG.

    However, JU isn't strong on the marketing side of things while soft product has gone down. Indian pax are accustomed to a generous offering from their airlines and the JU service would be a disappointment to them. JU simply isn't known in touching up the small things which will be needed. As much as this could be a great route, it could also go down as another financial disaster.

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    1. You can also do all the above cities nonstop from DXB on the worlds finest, Emirates including ZAG

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    2. You can do many combinations with the ME3 yet Euro carriers seem to be increasing their presence in India. Your point being?

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  25. Let's say this flights come to fruition, would Etihad be happy with this sort of arrangement?

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    1. If it's a charter deal then they would have no reason to object it.

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    2. I would see why EY would be against it. AZ will resume DEL later this year.

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    3. I don't think EY cares too much these days. They're working on an exit strategy as we speak. AZ first cab off the rank. Finitto!

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  26. It is a serious company

    InterGlobe Enterprises Limited, through its subsidiaries, provides aviation and travel related services. It also operates an airline and hotels. In addition, the company provides business process outsourcing and IT services to travel, transportation, and hospitality industries. Further, it offers travel technology solutions. Furthermore, the company provides airline management services, such as duty-free operations, ground handling, and cabin crew management, as well as provides various products ranging from executive jets to luxury yachts, and sports cars to mini submarines. InterGlobe Enterprises Limited was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Gurgaon, India with additional offices internationally.

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    1. Only a large company such as this one can make these flights work.

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  27. Ask the Bulgarians about the approvals for flights to India. Last year BH had plans to start Kolkata and Chandigarh and they were denied and gently told where can fly... They even took the case to the supreme court in India...

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    1. Forgot to mention that this is despite their close relations with SpiceJet.

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    2. Interesting. Had no idea they wanted to start flights. Were they mainly targeting Bulgarian tourists going to India or the other way around?

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    3. As mentioned in the article, the agreement allows JU to serve DEL and BOM, with another 2 destinations to be determined. The agreement will need to be further adjusted and I don't see why it wouldn't if both sides would benefit from it.

      BH doesn't have anything to offer other than SOF, unlike what JU has in BEG. BH has also had intentions to serve the US which still hasn't happened despite the fact their A330 arrived before JU's.

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    4. Does BH still have that A330 in its fleet or did they return it?

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    5. BH have returned the A330 this March. The aim for these flights were to feed their JFK route. When they got the denial from the Indians they decided to quit the whole project.

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    6. Aha thanks. Sounded like an interesting idea but they should have secured all the permits before they got the aircraft.

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    7. Here is some info about BH Air and their problems with the Indian Authorities:
      http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/Dubai-Sofia-Eye-City/articleshow/51114237.cms

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  28. Vucic said a few days ago that the government is working on establishing visa free travel with India but he said that it might take some time.

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  29. This is great news for Belgrade Airport and Serbia.

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    1. Yeah but it probably won't happen

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  30. Alen Šćuric PurgerJune 7, 2017 at 11:53 AM

    Today for the first time 2 long-haul in same time on air bridges. Air Transat A330 is on the bridge now, and air bridge position is waiting for Emirates 777-300ER.

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    1. Alen Šćuric PurgerJune 7, 2017 at 2:10 PM

      Emirates 777-300ER for Dubai is on gate 8

      Air Transat A330 for Toronto is on gate 5

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    2. I hope someone took a photo of that

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    3. Welcome to 2017. I don't have the picture, but I have this nice picture of two long haul planes at the same time on air bridges in 1984:

      https://goo.gl/228rzv

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  31. I really hope this materialises :)

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  32. Obožavam ovakve tekstove, taman za ispeći kokice i čitati .

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  33. and how many Indian tourists did Serbia have last year?

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  34. This will never happen.

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  35. If president Vucic says that it has to happen then for sure it will materialize no matter what is the cost.

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    1. Like Astana, Tehran and 2nd A330 for Air Serbia?

      Well for now there was less than 50% success in announcement (JFK and Beijing).

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    2. The ones that matter the most :)

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    3. true, but now we speak about Indian announcement and how serious it is. Beijing was real, India is not. Just like 2nd A330, Astana and Tehran.

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  36. Can someone tell me what will hapen with Asl A320 Neo's on order?Will they cancel it?

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    1. it's a mystery. i heard they were cancelled, but i guess there was no official announcement since it is embarrassment and they would need to give answer on uncomfortable €20+mil pre-delivery payment question

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    2. On site of Airbus, there are still 10 orders of a320neo, but for Etihad, as of april 30.

      However, I also noticed 2 orders of a319ceo for B&H airlines, so their list is clearly outdated.

      Ex-yu airlines with Airbuses (orders/delivered/operating):

      Adria Airways: 5/5/3
      Air Serbia: 0/0/11
      B&H Airlines?: 2/0/0
      Croatia Airlines: 10/6/6

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    3. @4.31
      No it is not cancelled. So if you do not have the information refrain from making false guesses.

      @2.39
      No, they are not cancelled. The management will decide whather the order will be deffered but no decision has been made.

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    4. Anon @4:56
      Air Serbia has 10 Airbuses ordered.

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    5. Anon @5:31

      Yes, but they're actually ordeed by Etihad (read the 1st part of the comment)

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    6. So who exactly paid those 20 million?
      JU to Airbus? GoS to Airbus? JU or GoS to EY group and what is going to become of them?

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    7. guys you are really fun to read! most likely the 20M are already pocketed by Mali / AV and family.

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  37. Meanwhile Alitalia has announced it will resume service to India for the first time in nine years during winter 2017/18. Daily flights between Rome and Delhi will operate over the period October 31, 2017, to March 24, 2018.

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  38. Much more opportunities are about to open for travel via BEG than it's publicly visible. Obviously, JU should lead every expansion: India, China, or any other flights negotiated with the involvement of the state, airline's majority owner. If not, as the Indian rep indicates in the report, someone else will, but in such an outcome, the new flights would stay out of BEG.

    However, JU is straggling due to lack of a consistent strategy, directed by the shareholders. Unfortunately, nowadays the company was left without a decision-able Supervisory board (three out of four EY members left months ago, and the state appointed president is leaving his position very soon). Company was left abandoned in the hands of a confused executive whose contract expires in a month or so.

    In such circumstances JU product rapidly decreased, the number of passngers stagnated, and the financial results for 2016 were not disclosed yet.

    It's hard to believe that JU will grab any opportunity in the near future, because there is nobody in charge to deal with the issue on a needed level. If InterGlobe's story is realistic, we'll witnesses two new weekly flight to India from ZAG or ATH, maybe.

    ***

    My understanding of this blog and the comments we post is to point out issues that should be solved in order to improve the Ex-Yu aviation environment. If anybody takes my comment above as an act of hatred, he is missing the whole world out there.


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    1. Your comment is appreciated and you make some valid points. However I do not think our comments should be to point out issues that should be solved here, as you say. We are mostly enthusiasts who care about aviation in our region. Don't take yourself so seriously.
      Cheers bro.

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    2. He should not be taken seriously. When he said we'll witness two new weekly flights to India from ZAG or ATH I knew for sure we are dealing with a kid. A320 that OU or A3 have can't make it to India from ZAG or ATH. Keep on dreaming, kid!

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    3. They can from ATH. You really need to check A320s and A319s range.

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    4. They can't do ATH-BOM in real world. Syria and Iraq airspace is closed. Longest current A320 route is shorter by a few hundred km, Gulf Air GF19 with only 110 seats, that's less than A318 standard config. You can fly bizjet type of special config A320 but not fully loaded OU/A3 A320 from either ZAG or ATH to BOM.

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    5. A3 is rumoured to be in the market for A321neos specifically to open the Indian market(along with hopefully some more markets in Africa). In the next few months they are expected to make the announcement for the fleet renewal and along with what new routes they will be launching.

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  39. A very clever move would be to launch 9W DEL-BEG with B787 and combine it with JU to Balkans and even NYC.
    There are currently 3 daily flights from DEL-NYC so why not have a technical stop in BEG say 3 times per week and this way BEG-JFK will be operated daily together with JU

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  40. Ssta se desava sa letom ju 174 za podgoricu? Leti prema kosovu i onda se okrece i leti nazad za bg?

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    1. Storm
      Live here: http://en.blitzortung.org/live_lightning_maps.php?map=10

      Delete
  41. What is happening with FZ flights DXB-SJJ, only 2pw??

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