Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Serbia and Israel see air travel boom


The number of passengers flying between Tel Aviv and Belgrade has doubled over the last two years with three carriers now operating scheduled flights between the two cities. Air Serbia, Israir Airlines and Arkia Israeli Airlines maintain year-round services between the two countries, with a total of eleven weekly flights on sale this summer. Israel's Minister for Transport, Yisrael Katz, said Israir’s and Arkia’s entry into the Serbian market was made possible with the revision of an Air Service Agreement between the two countries in 2015. "By revising the agreement we have encouraged competition and increased the number of seats between Israel and Serbia, which has resulted in lower fares. In 2016, approximately 55.000 passengers flew between the two countries, and the number of passengers is expected to increase significantly this year, with capacity also rising", Mr Katz said. In addition, Israel’s flag carrier, El Al, codeshares on Air Serbia’s flights between Belgrade and Tel Aviv. Both Israair and Arkia launched services to the Serbian capital during the 2016/17 winter season. Israel's Ambassador to Serbia, Alona Fisher-Kamm, said, "There is an upward trend in Israeli tourists visiting Serbia. Things changed dramatically after Israir and Arkia launched flights in October last year. The number of Israeli tourists visiting Serbia, mainly Belgrade, increased by 70% in 2016. These figures will continue to grow in line with the announced increase in the number of flights by both airlines". She added, "However, the number of Serbian tourists visiting Israel doesn’t follow this trend. As the Israeli Ambassador to Serbia, I would like to see these figures increase significantly, especially for Serbs to discover Israeli cities and landscapes, as it’s only three hours away. We hope Serbian agencies will be able to create packages that would meet the purchasing power of the population".

21 comments:

  1. Will they keep on flying this winter?

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    1. Nothing in the system after the IATA summer season so let's wait and see what they offer in winter.

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    2. They launched the flights during the winter season last year,

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    3. So? What has that got to do with anything?

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    4. They will keep flying, but hey, you can hope otherwise if it makes your day.

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    5. Dude chill... I am a Serb and I want them to be back. All I was asking is if they will return and if someone has some more info. No need to get all aggressive.

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  2. And what about Serbian tourists in Israel?

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    1. It says in the text. I think the admin updated the article ;)

      She added, "However, the number of Serbian tourists visiting Israel doesn’t follow this trend. As the Israeli Ambassador to Serbia, I would like to see these figures increase significantly, especially for Serbs to discover Israeli cities and landscapes, as it’s only three hours away. We hope Serbian agencies will be able to create packages that would meet the purchasing power of the population".

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  3. I'm wondering why the 'sudden' interest in Beograd and Serbia? Are these advertised as city breaks, or week long package tours?

    -- Charlie

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    1. City Breaks. Israeli tour agents were looking for an alternative to Turkey after the failed coup and all the terrorist attacks. This was the best alternative they could find, especially because its cheap. They target mainly younger people and one of the biggest things they advertise is that its cheap and most important for them safe.

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    2. Actually, it's (I think) two local tour agencies that are bringing these tourists here to Serbia. In one of the articles one of the reps said that it took them four years of hard work to make it happen.

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    3. I was on a Beograd river boat cruise two weeks ago, and there was a group of older Israelis on board. They brought there own food and had a great time.

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    4. Generally the feedback from the Israelis has been more than positive. I mean it had to otherwise there wouldn't be such a jump in capacity, especially as far as Arkia goes which went from an Embraer to a B753 in about six months.

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  4. If I look at the fares between Zagreb and Tel Aviv that´s crazy. Often the fares are around 750€. Croatia needs to open its market soon!

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    1. Not surprising. Fares out of Belgrade on both Arkia and Israir have been rather high. I think it's because most seats are sold to tour operators so the remaining free ones are sold to those who don't mind paying the 'premium' to fly directly.

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  5. Having walked downtown Belgrade this past weekend, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of Israeli but also other tourists in the city, you could literally hardly hear Serbian.

    Also, there was an article - interview with the Head of Network Planning at El Al a few months ago, maybe even last year, and he said that Belgrade is one of their potential destinations in the coming 12-18 months... will try to find it and post a link...

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  6. May stats for TLV-BEG route :
    6H 4826 pax
    JU 3609 pax
    IZ 2756 pax.

    Overall growth on the route 210%.

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  7. As a side note Israelis are literally "invading" the Western Part of Ukraine and even Belarus. They are old cultural ties but mostly is because 1. is not expensive (nothing is cheap according for my friend from Tel Aviv) 2. is not expensive :) 3. it's safe and green.

    PS Apart Ukraine airlines and others even Wizzair starting flights to Israel in the following weeks
    from Kosice, Lublin, Kaunas etc. already flying to Debrecen (!).. all well and easily connected to Ukraine.
    You find loads of Israelis in every city in W Ukraine not only Lviv but also kosher food and hotel in Ivano Frankivsk, new kosher hostel in Odessa and so on so on

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    1. Israelis can travel visa free to Belarus for 90 days too.

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