Monday, July 3, 2017

Serbia and Canada seek air service


Serbia and Canada have expressed joint interest in re-establishing flights between their two countries after almost a decade, with the two finalising an Air Service Agreement which will regulate future operations. The Serbian Foreign Minister, Ivica Dačić, said, "The agreement will pave way for negotiations to start between Air Serbia and Air Canada. Their representatives have to determine how many flights there should be and what would be the most profitable solution. However, there is no doubt that the introduction of nonstop flights to Canada would be extremely important for our citizens and country". The Foreign Minister added that he is pushing for Canada to lift visa requirements for Serbian nationals.

On the other hand, the Canadian Ambassador to Serbia, Philip Pinnington, said that while there is a common interest for flights to be resumed between the two countries, it is ultimately up to the respective carriers from each nation to determine whether such a service would be commercially viable. "We have been negotiating a new Air Service Agreement with Serbia for some time and we are very close to signing it. Of course, it will be up to Air Serbia, Air Canada and some other carriers who may or may not be interested in operating this route. With the signing of the agreement, which will hopefully occur very soon, there is potential for this service and the interest is already there". He noted, "We would really like for flights to commence and I am certain Canadian Serbs would want it too as they have fond memories of JAT's nonstop service".

Flights between Belgrade and Canada operated during the 1970s and 1980s with JAT Yugoslav Airlines maintaining operations to Toronto and Montreal. Its numbers on the route peaked in 1988 when it carried 56.043 travellers between Yugoslavia and Canada. Air Serbia’s predecessor, Jat Airways, conducted a study in late 2005 based on which it estimated it could carry up to 83.000 passengers to Toronto on an annual basis. The airline anticipated an average cabin load factor of 74% on a Boeing 767 and believed the flights would appeal primarily to diaspora travellers, as well as transfer passengers from the former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, western Romania, southern Hungary and the Middle East. Last year, Air Serbia's former Vice Chairman, James Hogan, said, "We have already considered flights to Chicago and Toronto and these services could be introduced in two to three years".

In 2007, leisure carrier Skyservice commenced operations from Canada's largest city to the Serbian capital, but the airline suspended all operations and declared bankruptcy later on. Currently, travellers from Canada to Serbia are transferring through a number of European cities to reach Belgrade. Last year, Krystian Rolla, LOT's Sales Manager for Europe & Middle East, told EX-YU Aviation News that the largest number of passengers on its service from Belgrade to Warsaw are headed to Canada. "Of those transferring through Warsaw, the majority of passengers connect onto flights to Toronto and several points in western Europe", Mr Rola said. Presently, Zagreb is the only city in the former Yugoslavia linked with Canada through Air Transat's seasonal two weekly service from Toronto, while Macedonia has also expressed interest in flights to Canada.

146 comments:

  1. I think something similar to the flights in Zagreb could be sustained. One or twice per week, seasonally with a leisure airline

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    1. No, ZAG has Air Transat which caters to leasure and diaspora market in summer.
      Serbia would be better served by year round flights serving, leasure, diaspora, business, and transfer passengers.

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    2. Year round? Yeah, right!

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    3. Da BEG može i treba redovnu liniju cele godine. Broj putnika iz YYZ i YVR je dovoljno velik i preko zime za 1-2 leta nedeljno

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    4. Istina to.

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    5. I'll add...mainly business!

      (Pfffhahhahaah!!! Are you insane?)

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    6. Let me inform you that Canada just bought a massive mine in Serbia and they are the main ones when it comes to the extraction of gold and some other precious metals. ;)

      So maybe before hatin' on Serbia you do your research.

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    7. Business travellers are not only big time executives but also ethnic entrepreneurs and importers. So cool it Jackie.

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    8. I was referring to anon @ 9:48.

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  2. I thought there was already an agreement between Canada and Serbia. Odd.

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    1. Yeah, about 4-5 years ago some sort of agreement was signed.

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    2. So why are they talking about signing it again?

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    3. It wasn't 4-5 years ago it was 11 years ago. In 2006 Serbia and Canada signed a Bilateral air agreement which needs to be revised. The current agreement still lists Skyservice along with Air Canada as Canada's designated airlines.

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    4. Rivising should be quite straightforward.

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    5. Well it took a year to revise the US bilateral. But they have been working on the Canada one for some time now. It should be signed during the third quarter.

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    6. Revising is pretty straightforward. The magic is to turn it into a PR success, to make it look like something's big :)

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    7. The fact that they are suddenly revising it indicates to me that someone has shown interest to fly this route.

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    8. There are only three possible airlines that could fly this route. We all know who they are.

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    9. @10.22 I agree. The last time the signed the agreement in 2006 was because they were being pushed by Skyservice to do it.

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  3. AS should launch 3 weekly in summer season, and 2 weekly in winter.

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    1. And what about JFK in that case?

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    2. 4-5 weekly in summer, and 2-3 weekly in winter.

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    3. To add yet another loss-making long haul route?

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    4. No, to corner the market.

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    5. Why bother "cornering" a loss making market?
      No one else is interested in it because it is loss making market.

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    6. As you can see interest is exploding. This time next year there will be direct flights between BEG and YYZ. Mark my words. This anonymous stands behind his words.

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  4. "Air Serbia’s predecessor, Jat Airways, conducted a study in late 2005 based on which it estimated it could carry up to 83.000 passengers to Toronto"

    I think they overestimated their figures considering Air Serbia handled around 72,000 passengers during their first year to New York.

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    1. Toronto has huge ex-yu and Albanian and Bulgarian, not to mention Greek diaspora.

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    2. Also you can find there 70.000-80.000 Macedonians

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    3. True dat. Plus growing Romanian diaspora.

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    4. Are there flights from anywhere else in the region other than Zagreb to Canada at the moment? Bucharest, Sofia?

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    5. Also people are forgetting that there are a lot of Albanians in Canada. They proved to be the most loyal customers on BEG-JFK route.

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    6. No direct flights to SOF or OTP.

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    7. SOF was supposed to get it but then it got axed. In the region there are flights from BUD, IST and ATH.

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    8. Yes didn't BH Air even lease an A330 to fly from Sofia to Toronto?

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    9. BH Air leased the A330 for JFK and ORD, but they have reconsidered their options and got rid of the plane. It was only losing money for them.

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    10. I think they got that plane to start New York but in the end gave up. But while the A330 was with BH they wet leased it to Sky Greece as far as I remember.

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    11. Yes and at one point they even wanted to launch SOF-JFK-ORD-SOF.

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  5. The major issue with YYZ from BEG is seasonality, which is much greater than on US routes.

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    1. I don't see that. Business links between Canada to South East Europe are constantly growing. Just like in USA.

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    2. Business links between Canada and Serbia are very small. The trade exchange last year between Canada and Serbia was very small.

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    3. Confectionery products from Balkans is exported to Canada in thy eyes tonnes on monthly basis. And growing.

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    4. * in the tonnes...

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  6. "The Foreign Minister added that he is pushing for Canada to lift visa requirements for Serbian nationals."

    Good luck with that. It's the same as if asking UK or Australia to lift visas. No chance.

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    1. Maybe in 2-3 years.

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    2. Would be great but I'm still doubtful. They are very rigid when it come to visas.

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    3. Serbia claims to have good relations with UAE and Qatar, yet even Macedonia has more simplefied visa procedure than Serbia (visa on arrival vs electronic visa).

      Mind you, those two countries need only good will of their rulers to bring that decision forward, unlike in Canada.

      Another words, as someone said - no chance.

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  7. So JAT carried 56.043 passengers to Canada in 1988. That's impressive considering that Yugoslavia was a communist country, the diaspora in Canada was then much much much smaller, that Yugoslavs didn't travel that much to far away destinations and that they were competing against Air Canada.

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    1. I think AC only flew to Zagreb in ex-yu.

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    2. Yes only to Zagreb but it was still competition since JAT used to fly from Zagreb to Toronto and Montreal as well.

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    3. JAT used to have an office in Vancouver as well but if I remember correctly they didn't fly there.

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    4. True, only YYZ and YUL.

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    5. AC and JAT had interline agreement on YVR YYZ flights

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    6. An.9:34
      It was not YUL. Athe that time YMX was major Montreal's airport and JAT flew there, like all other international carriers, and Air Canada as well,

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    7. Correct, thanks.

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  8. With D. Kondic in seat as CEO nothing will happen other than downsizing network (of course it will be explained as a measure taken to reduce CO2 emission).

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    1. Maybe they should get Hogan to be CEO of Air Serbia now that he has left Etihad :D Under his plan Toronto and Chicago would launch next year :D

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    2. You should step in since you know better

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    3. His start as CEO was not bad at all but it seems that he ran out of air.

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    4. while we're at it - the rumor is that hogan is under house arrest in UAE

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    5. I think he ran out of money the airline received from the government. In the meantime he didn't know how to run a profitable business so we are stuck with this mess today.

      We should ask him why several pilots refused to fly on YU-ALT. ;)

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    6. Might be better to focus on the news at hand then petty gossip.

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    7. Is it gossip? Three Atrs broke down this morning. ;)

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    8. Yes it is. Because there are a total of 6 ATRs and 4 are in the air at the moment. Putting a wink at the end of your comments doesn't make your comment factual.

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    9. So where are the other two? Why was OTP cancelled last night? Why did the pilots refuse to fly on ALT? Do you really want me to write the reason on here? ;)

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    10. Tebra, možda ima 4 trenutno u vazduhu ali naš omiljeni ALT je kasnio za sve pare za LJU. Svi ga posebno volimo ovde na aerodromu tako da je kolega bio u pravu, pola flote je bilo van servisa.

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  9. Isn't YYZ extremely expensive to fly to?

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    1. To clarify I mean the airport in Toronto is expensive.

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    2. Yes YYZ is the most expensive airport in North America (all Canadian airports are expensive). Also international flights from Canada are one of the most expensive in the world.

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    3. So no chance of Air Serbia starting these flights.

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    4. There is chance, but for now it is marginal. If AS does not act soon someone else will. There is a demand.

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    5. I doubt it. Not because of fees but because of the fact that they are not looking to add any destinations, especially not long haul ones and have no plans to lease more wide bodies.

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    6. Air Serbia should introduce a one weekly flight that will appeal exclusively to the diaspora. Forget connecting passengers, they don't have the network for that.

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    7. Must be more than one weekly.

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    8. @Anon 9.23 Why are they so expensive?

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    9. *Anon 9.28 I mean

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    10. Airports in Canada are PPP enterprises. Lots of bureaucracy, red tape, etc.

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    11. Because Canada is a socialist state with a gazzilion airport taxes and fees. Also the federal government has not been shy in protecting Air Canada from international competition on many occasions.

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    12. AC is under bankruptcy protection for over 20 years. Terminal 1 and 3 in YYZ are in such a bad shape, CEO and management of person airport are super corrupted and keep giving them selfs millions of dollars of bonuses while terminals are having abnormal amount of technical issues. YVR is the only nice and well maintained airport in Canada

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    13. Major reason why YYZ is so expensive is because of the cost associated with building T1 several years ago. As far as I know they hace special charge inplace to recoup the cost over time. Stuff mentioned about the CEO etc. is maybe truth but not the reason for sure.

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  10. Does Air Canada have a codeshare into BEG on another airline?

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    1. With * alliance airlines.

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    2. On Lufthansa from Munich and Frankfurt.

      AC 9166/9167
      AC 9334/9335

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    3. Thanks guys

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  11. Great first step and nice present for 150th birthday, eh? Win-win would be 2018 seasonal flights from Toronto to Belgrade twice per week to start on Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300 with Air Serbia codeshare. That would be sweet (as sweet as a double double)!

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    1. AirCEO, do you live in Toronto?

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    2. Unlikely. It is 4 in the morning in Toronto.

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    3. I am in Toronto right now, can't sleep.

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  12. Two weekly AC Rouge onboard the B763 could work especially when you factor in the feed, not only to Canada but to the U.S. as well.

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  13. I know people who often fly from PIT & CLE via YYZ, then FRA or CDG or other European hubs to reach BEG.

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    1. Wouldn't it be cheaper to fly out of ORD? Then again IL is slowly becoming a People's Republic, just like Canada and California.

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    2. They find good prices because of code shares and partner airlines.

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  14. Air Canada rouge has a good system. They have a lot of winter seasonal routes to the Caribbean and a lot of summer seasonal routes to Europe.

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  15. If Air Canada Rouge can fly to Algiers and make it work I don't see why they couldn't to BEG.

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    1. Considering that the Serbian diaspora in Canada is double the size of the Algerian one, it would make sense that they consider the Balkans as well.

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    2. Where are the majority of Canadian Serbs concentrated?

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    3. Toronto. It's the third most Serbian populated city outside of Serbia after Chicago and Vienna. Officially there are around 82,000 Serbs living in Canada (according to the census) but unofficially there are much more because many Serbs with Canadian citizenship only declare themselves as Canadians and many also declare themselves as Yugoslavs.

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    4. Vise ljudi zivi u Milvokiju i Pitsburgu nego u Cikagu. U Kanadi ne zivi ni 30000 Srba prema popisu i to ne u Torontu vec Misuagi i okolini. Ponavlja se prica sa Maltom

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    5. A ti bas sve znas! Verovatno Kanadjani lazu koliko srba zivi u Kanadi ali ces nam ti otkriti istinu.

      Prema kanadskom zavodu za statiku u toj zemlji zivi 80,320 srba, a 48,320 se izjasnjavaju kao jugosloveni.

      http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/dp-pd/dt-td/Rp-eng.cfm?LANG=E&APATH=3&DETAIL=0&DIM=0&FL=A&FREE=0&GC=0&GID=0&GK=0&GRP=1&PID=105396&PRID=0&PTYPE=105277&S=0&SHOWALL=0&SUB=0&Temporal=2013&THEME=95&VID=0&VNAMEE=&VNAMEF=

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    6. I thought Malta was the second most populous city with Serbs after Belgrade. :D

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    7. It seems that Canada has the largest number of people still declaring themselves as Yugoslavs :D

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    8. Croatia A. treba da ima sirokotrupnu flotu koja doseze do najdaljih kutaka ove planete, a ASL da leti sa svakog malo veceg aerodroma u SA. To sto su propali i Malev i Cesi i Bugari i sto CA i ASL disu na kasikicu nikom nista.

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    9. Procjene nasih crkveno školskih opstina je da u tzv Golden Horshoue regionu ima oko 200K Srba prve i druge generacije. Ovaj region obuhvara sve od krajnje istocnih predgradja Toronta sve do Niagar Falls kao i gradove Hamilton, Kitchener, London, Windsor etc. Podaci koji se dobijijaju preko Census Canada su vrlo nedoreceni po pitanju nacionalne strukture stanovništva. Da ste prosli kroz Kanadski popis lako bi shvatili da u njegovom kracem upitniku, koji dovije velika vecina gradjanstva prakticno nema pitanja na osnovu kojeg iko moze sa sigurnošću ustanoviti tacan broj stanovnika jedne nacije.
      Prije nego što iko pocne razmisljati o bilo kakvoj zavjeri moliobih vas da shvatite da popis o dje sluzi za vrlo prakticne potrebe a to su plabiranje razvoja infrastrukture, skolstva, zdravstva itd., a ne za nekw dnsvno politicke potrebe kao kod nas.

      Nebih da pretjerano dosadjujem ali u ovu temu sam poprilično upucen i iako nemogu biti 100% siguran mislim da je broj koji pominjem puno veci od nskih 80K za čitavu Kanadu. Isti princip se moze primjeniti za ostale exYu nacije.

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  16. A Canadian airline could always fly like Sky Greece did to Zagreb, as a stop over YYZ-ZAG-ATH.

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    1. Since the only two Canadian airlines that could operate this service now are Air Transat and Air Canada Rouge, this is highly unlikely. They only fly nonstop.

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    2. @AnonymousJuly 3, 2017 at 11:45 AM

      Air Canada too,

      Air Canada Rouge is more of a hybrid leisure airline, like Air Transat.

      Air Canada or AC Rouge won't fly to Belgrade any time soon, first they need to have market for such flights. AC and ACR are very very careful which routes they fly to.

      Sadly we don't have Canadian Airlines any longer, would have been cool to have few more such larger airlines to offer connection with Canada.

      Air Canada flew only to Zagreb in ex-YU, just before the war they halted their flights. We'll see if Air Canada expand beyond major European destinations. I somehow doubt it they will.

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  17. Did Sky service used to fly from Toronto to Belgrade via Dublin or was it nonstop?

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    1. Skyservice was a terrible airline.

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    2. it was a old 757 that had to stop for fuel in Dublin. everybody stayed on the plane as they re-fueled and continued on. it wasnt ideal but i would take take that now over no filghts at all.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. Sky service flew to Zagreb and Belgrade and it was more of seasonal charters, terrible service. Sky Greece took over Sky Service on route to Zagreb, but they went bust quite publicly.

      Air Transat is now flying to Zagreb and are also considering in adding Montreal from next year. Not 100% yet, however they're looking at possibilities of adding Montreal too, once per week. We'll know closer to next summer season.

      No idea if Air Transat has any plans for Belgrade or Dubrovnik.

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    5. Sky Greece took over Sky Service on route to Zagreb

      No they didn't. Those two are not connected. Fake news, just like your estimates of ZAG airport traffic growth.

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  18. I could very much see Rouge starting these flights. They also serve the major destinations in the region like Athens and Budapest and are adding more and more B767s.

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  19. Ma nema nista od direktne linije za Kanadu samo masu da nam zamazu necim oci.

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    1. Ali ovo nigde nije objavljeno osim ovde, nije sad kao da pokusavaju da dobiju neke politicke poene na ovome, ovo generalno nikoga ne zanima osim par stotina ljudi koji dolaze na ovaj forum i koji su Aviation fanatici. Mislim da generalno rade ovo jer postoji interes sa nase ili njihove strane. AKo bude nesto, bice za godinu dve, ali ocigledno da neki interes postoji ...

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  20. I hope this materializes. It would be fantastic to be linked with Canada in addition to USA and China.

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  21. Serbia is supporting Canada for its bid to win a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council in 2020. It is the only European country that has endorsed Canada's bid so far. Hopefully this will result in better diplomatic and business ties.

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  22. Do Serbs need a visa to Canada and if yes, are they soon lifting them? I am asking because Romanians and Bulgarians will no longer need a visa starting 1st December 2017, so Serbia and all western Balkans can be included in the list or hopefully next spring?

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    1. Yes they do and since the Canadian Embassy in Serbia moved its consular office to Vienna, when you are granted a visa you have to send your passport to Vienna then wait several days before they send it back. It's a long process. In the article it says "The Foreign Minister added that he is pushing for Canada to lift visa requirements for Serbian nationals." but I doubt that will happen this year together with Bulgarian and Romanian citizens.

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    2. Thank you for the detailed info. I still cannot understand politics. Having such a considerable diaspora in the country and then not granting visa-free travel for the mother of origin. I am still optimistic this will happen within an year or two ;)

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    3. Romania and Bulgaria will get a visa-free regime with Canada because of their EU membership. Serbia is far from that status and will wait very long until her citizens can travel to Canada or UK without visas.

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    4. No need to send anything to Vienna, there is CVAC center (Canada Visa Application Centre) in Belgrade, it's not managed by the embassy itself though.

      http://www.vfsglobal.ca/Canada/serbia/english/contact_us.html#1

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    5. An.12:51
      -No, it has nothing to do with EU. Croatian passport holders had visa free enter to Canada several years before Croatia became full EU member.

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    6. @AnonymousJuly 3, 2017 at 12:09 PM

      Visa regime still in place, only Slovenian and Croatian passport holders (from ex-YU) can travel to Canada visa free. Also I doubt Canada will lift visa requirement any soon. perhaps in 15-20 years, at the earliest.

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    7. ^ you seem to know everything. That no Canadian airline will fly to BEG, that visas won't be lifted for 20 years and that every Canadian airline wants to expand flights to Zagreb. You must have high up sources in the Canadian government.

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    8. ^^
      @AnonymousJuly 3, 2017 at 3:37 PM

      Yes, i am Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada.

      As to no air Canada flights to Belgrade, not before they've got flights to Dublin, Stockholm, Warsaw, Vienna, Prague and Oslo.

      As to other Canadian airlines, no idea where you got the idea. I've never said anything about Canadian airlines not flying to Belgrade. Air Canada, however, is entirely different matter. They fly only to major European destinations, normally airports with 25 million + pax.

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    9. ^ No one mentioned Air Canada as a possibility. People were talking about Air Transat or AC Rouge.

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    10. Justin? Not funny.

      Stop spreading your ignorance. AC Rouge does fly to places like Dublin, Warsaw or Prague. As the photo shows, no one is talking AC mainline to BEG, but RV. Stop trolling.

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    11. People also said JU was not going to fly to JFK and that BEG won't receive a direct flight to PEK.

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    12. According to Wiki: Officially there were 80,320 persons who identified themselves as wholly or partly "Serbian", living in Canada in 2011.[8] However, this number may be much higher as there are some 65,505 people who identify as Yugoslavs living in Canada, many of whom may be Serbs.
      That´s a LOT!!!! I am 100% confident that this route will work out well, initially summer and then year-round.

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    13. ^ I'm not sure if this is done by polls or what, but I know for my friends in America that the country you are born in is automatically what "nationality" you are. I am born in America, and have never in my life been asked to identify as Serbian, although it was my first language. Thus, I have a friend born in Kosovo, and although she is100% Serbian, they identify her as "Kosovar". Biggest example of this must be the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of Serbian refugees from Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo who fled the war, such as many of my friends, who are called "Croatian, Bosnian, etc." on their passports. So, I believe unbiasedly these statistics definitely undervalue the true amount of actual Serbians in North America.

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    14. CVAC is separate company that has local offices is Belgrade, Sarajevo etc. GoC outsourced handling of visa applications. However, actual determination if one is given visa or not is still handled by the Canadian embassy in Vienna. This was dine to reduce the cost to taxpayers that's why the aplicants noe pay two fees. On the other hand, lately it seems that foreign citizens are by default given multiple ebtry visa that lasts 10years or as long as the passport is valid.

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  23. OT: SPU
    6-2016 / 6-2017
    321.545 / 403.585
    +25,51%
    +82.040

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    1. With such spectacular growth they will easily reach 2.8 this year

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    2. The civil aviation in Croatia is boosting dramatically this year. Possible forecast 9.100.000 pax

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    3. Wow, Split! Can't wait for Zagreb and Dubrovnik figures!

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    4. Zagreb was really busy in June, I bet it's surpassed 300,000 pax.

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  24. Good news. I hope some serious discussions start after the agreement is signed. It will benefit the Serbian diaspora.

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  25. Apparently Air Canada Rouge has been interested since last year.

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  26. BEG airport wide body next year: Air Serbia A330 to JFK, Hainan A330 or Dreamliner to PEK and Air Canada Rouge 767 to YYZ. Any other surprises?

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  27. OT - Decent fire near Split Airport.

    https://youtu.be/Grm5C2xGBsk

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  28. From the standpoint of a first generation Canadian of a Serbian origin I would say that directBEG service would be more than welcome. There is a lot of Serbs here that would use the service. Also, recent history proved that JU flight would be used by other exYu nations if the price is right. Overall, I think there is easily half a million people that gravitate towarda YYZ and still have ver strong connections to the Balkans. Is this enough, for year long service, probably no. But for someone like AC or JU with WestJet for additional feed it might work year round.
    Regardless, I still think that Croatia much safer bet even with Air Transat fkr multiple reasons:large nimber of diaspora, very connected diaspora, tourism, no visa etc.

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