Monday, September 18, 2017

VLM Slovenia plans Belgrade service


VLM Airlines plans to introduce services between Maribor and Belgrade this October, linking the two cities for the first time in over two decades. According to Belgrade Airport, flights are scheduled to commence in October and run five times per week, Monday through Friday. Although the Slovenian carrier itself is yet to confirm the new route launch, it has indicated its intention of starting operations to the Serbian capital on several occasions. VLM has noted that, "New routes for our winter schedule are coming soon". Belgrade Airport has listed slot requests for the new service as operating with a midday arrival, and a departure at 13.00 local time.

VLM Airlines has previously said that, in addition to Belgrade, it will eventually serve Berlin, Hamburg, London, Podgorica, Zurich, Xi'an, Chongqing and Nanchang. The carrier operated its first two seasonal routes out of its base in Maribor to Split and Dubrovnik during August and has been engaged in a number of charter flights from Italy to Croatia, Greece and Montenegro this summer. "We are already negotiating with some tour operators for the 2018 summer season, when you can expect a broader program with more frequencies. We are also trying to define our winter flight schedule which will begin on October 29. We will be revealing more shortly. With the Fokker 50 aircraft, we will continue operating ad hoc charters. Because of the aircraft's size, there is a lot of interest for such flights", the airline said. In addition to its three Fokker 50 turboptops, VLM intends on adding a jet-engine aircraft to its fleet during the fourth quarter. Fokker 70s, Airbus A320s and A330s are all expected to join the airline in the coming period.

Scheduled flights between Maribor and Belgrade have not operated since the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in 1992. Previously, JAT Yugoslav Airlines maintained services between the two cities, launching operations on May 26, 1976. At the time, flights to Maribor were primarily targeted at Yugoslav nationals living in southern Austria. Services between Slovenia and Serbia resumed in the early 2000s. The bilateral air agreement between the two countries at the time limited the national carriers of each nation to operating only one destination the other had not covered, with JAT introducing operations to Ljubljana and Adria commencing services to Pristina. Today, Air Serbia runs twelve weekly flights between the Serbian and Slovenian capitals. Last year, start-up airline AWEX Croatia secured a Swiss charter contract to operate services from Zurich to Belgrade via Portorož. Flights were maintained once per week with a 34-seat Saab 340B turboprop, however, the route was not resumed this year.

126 comments:

  1. Nice to see BEG-MXB resuming after so many years.

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  2. The Chinese are keeping to their word.

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  3. Will they really be able to fill this plane 5x per week?

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    1. Who cares? It's their money and they get to do whatever they want with it. No taxpayers money is being wasted here, which is what's important.

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    2. I'm also skeptical the market is big enough.

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    3. 250 seats per week each way

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    4. If VLM manages to sustain this route year round then it should put Air Serbia to shame for not sustaining Split or Dubrovnik year round.

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    5. Dubrovnik has Tivat which is right next door. Split should work.
      Maribor will rely on Austrian passengers.

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  4. Air Serbia should have started this route a few years ago.

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    1. With what aircraft exactly?

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    2. Duh. I meant in the sense where they would find it when they had to cut ZAG and LJU in order to launch VCE.

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    3. They could have for example reduced 2 flights from Ljubljana (the same way they did to fly to Venice) and gone to MXB instead. I'm sure they could have got quite a bit transfer traffic as well.

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    4. LJU is performing extremely well so there is no point in reducing it any further. Actually, LJU performs ten times better than ZAG does for example.

      ASL can't launch any new routes until it gets a new CEO and fixes its finances.

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    5. I agree, LJU is way more important to be reducing frequencies further, especially since you get a good mix of point to point and transfer passengers. Also this route is important for Etihad as well since they get a lot of passengers for their flight to Abu Dhabi from this route.

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    6. I wonder how many passengers on Air Serbia's two daily flights to Ljubljana would actually fly to Maribor if they had a choice?

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    7. I think VCE affected LJU more than MBX would.

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    8. @9.36 I doubt more than 1 or 2 at most per day.

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    9. There are a few underserved regional cities Air Serbia should have started. In my opinion Maribor, Mostar, Zadar, Nis and Pristina would work well. I also think Budapest would have worked if they had some proper planning around it.

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  5. I assume a lot of Serbs from Austria may use this route.

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    1. Yes, lots of Serbs live in Graz which is less than 70 km away. If they can capture this market then they will crush the bus and minibus operators.

      Unfortunately, besides Vienna, Serbs in Austria have no other option to fly to Serbia.

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  6. Since market is price sensitive success of this route would be mostly dependent on that. There are two airports served in Montenegro and Macedonia from Belgrade, so this is also possible. Good luck.

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    1. +1
      Ticket prices will be key.

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    2. We need a regional LCC.

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    3. ^We already have Wizz Air.

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    4. I meant an airline that would fly inter-ex-yu flights.

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  7. What equipment will they use?

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    1. It says they are getting a jet engine plane, that is why I ask.

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    2. Jet plane will only have greater capacity. The F50 is perfect for this route.

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  8. I doubt they will end up flying 5 per week. They probably asked for 5 weekly slots but will end up flying twice or three times per week.

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  9. Till now they promise they will fly Berlin, Belgrade, Hamburg, London, Split, Podgorica, Zurich, Xi'an, Chongqing and Nanchang with fleet of many F50, A320 and A330.

    Instead they have one F50 and had just 200 passengers all summer to Split and Dubrovnik.

    No need for conclusion.

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    1. I think they actually have three F50s. Or at least 3 have been approved to fly by Slovenian Directorate.

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    2. Rome wasn't built in a day. Give them time. Any business needs time to consolidate and find its place in the market it wants to serve.

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    3. They have already exceeded most of by expectations to be honest.

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    4. They can do a lot with three planes already.

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  10. With flights from Monday to Friday who are they going to market these flights for? Business people?

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  11. This will hurt Air Serbia's Ljubljana route.

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    1. I highly doubt that.

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    2. Doubt it. Air Serbia's fares in/out of LJU are generally ok. VLM would have to undercut them big time in order to force people to drive 130 km.

      Plus, VLM's F50s are 28 years old, older than JU's Atrs. They are noisier and VLM's brand is still weaker.

      The only downside for JU is that they don't serve anything besides water on this flight. I think it's a shame they completely suspended catering on regional Atr flights.

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    3. Somehow I doubt VLM offers something other than water on their flights either. At least on the JU flight you can earn Etihad miles.

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    4. I doubt that matters to most Slovenes given that Air Serbia is the only Etihad Partner to fly there.
      If they were in one of the real alliances then maybe it would be different.

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    5. The way things are going I wouldn't be surprised Etihad joins Star Alliance and Air Serbia with it as well. Now that would be a major benefit.

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    6. Yes! It would be great especially since Air Serbia's morning flight to Vienna would offer great connections to and from the United States. Right now connections to Belgrade are not ideal and they require around 4 hours of waiting at VIE.

      Naturally from a strategic point of view, SkyTeam or oneworld would make more sense but I fear ASL has little to offer.

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    7. I agree with you. Not sure Sky team has the need for JU especially considering TAROM is part of it.

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    8. SkyTeam would make the most sense given JU's tight relationship with Air France, KLM and Aeroflot. Unfortunately JU's regional network is not getting any stronger which could have been one of its greatest advantages. They could have become for SkyTeam what Malev used to be for oneworld.

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    9. A wise move for Air Serbia would be to offer luggage free tickets to Ljubljana since there are a lot of business people flying this route who don't need luggage. Many of them fly in the morning and return in the evening.

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    10. Same with Vienna which is crazy expensive if you plan on going in the morning and returning in the evening. I understand they want to rip businessmen off but charging €450 (JU) and €630 (OS) is crazy.

      If you are staying longer than three days then fares are ok, around €120.

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    11. Austrian is always stupidly expensive. You should see their fares out of ZAG.

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    12. Omg...those OS prices out of BEG are insane! What are they like in ZAG? Considering that ZAG is closer to Vienna, but more expensive, they might be about the same?

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    13. They are quite expensive in ZAG, every time I look for flights to Europe they are never under €400. I don't know how they fill flights. If you are staying in Vienna for more than three days then the fares are around €140 which is ok.

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    14. Alen Šćuric PurgerSeptember 18, 2017 at 11:21 PM

      Etihad already negotiate with Star Alliance for membership. Virgin Australia also.

      oneworld negotiate with Air Tahiti Nui, Interjet, Meridiana and Royal Air Maroc (last two sponsored by Qatar, first Qatar is owner and 2nd one will be in near future).

      SkyTeam negotiate with Jet, GOL and Virgin Atlantic.

      More on link:
      https://tangosix.rs/2017/12/09/kolumna-alena-scurica-da-li-je-moguca-cetvrta-alijansa-pod-patronatom-emiratesa/

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  12. Do we know what type of aircraft will be their first jet engined plane. The F70 or A320? Not sure the A330 can still lift off from Maribor.

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  13. Congratulations to Maribor :) finally getting some flights

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    1. Seems that way but since SHS took the airport there have been no other flights. So passenger numbers are actually down compared to last year.

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    2. Quiet before the storm. :)

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    3. @ Anonymous September 18, 2017 at 9:47 AM

      Do you know how many passengers Maribor had so far this year?

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    4. 2,500 January to August.

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  14. How long is this flight?

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  15. Ok so Belgrade will be one of their new routes during the early afternoon. What other routes can we expect for them to start this winter?

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    1. Like it says in the article they have already mentioned Berlin, Hamburg, London, Podgorica, Zurich in the past

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    2. All can be flown with the F50. Just not sure about London.

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    3. If they plan on offering connections then their European flights must depart at around 6 am. That means they are most likely not going to rely on overnight flights.

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    4. Their goal is to ultimately become a connecting carrier between Europe and Asia.

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    5. Europe and China I should say.

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  16. Question: Is Maribor and the area around it considered to be one of the wealthier parts of Slovenia?

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    1. No, Ljubljana is the wealthiest. Maribor isn't doing as great in terms of economy.

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    2. Of course not. Poverty and alcoholism is rampant there. Unemployment too (many not registered). If you find a work in Austria its ok. Maribor and east Slovenia are way lower than of course Czech Republic and Slovakia. Worse than larger areas of Romania too. Purchasing power parity there is nearly 50% lower than in richer west part of Slovenia. You can read the Eu statistics data. For the Eu Slovenia is divided statistically in 2 regions. Huge difference west versus east. Even the procapita number of pet dogs in Maribor is way lower than in Ljubljana. The atmosphere in Maribor is extremely depressive. The only exception is football. As I'm familiar with the area: houses, real income in the Maribor region is worse than Zakarpaty region (many working abroad! or supported by Hungary) in Ukraine. If you have a government job you are well in Maribor but as soon as you have an opportunity you move to Ljubljana or the coastal area.

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    3. Interesting. Thanks. Then I got some info mixed up as for some reason I thought Maribor area was one of the richest ones in Slo.

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    4. You can have a look at some hard data: http://www.stat.si/StatWeb/sl/News/Index/6031 -
      and Google them for Romania, if you wish :)

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    5. "Of course not. Poverty and alcoholism is rampant there. Unemployment too (many not registered). If you find a work in Austria its ok. Maribor and east Slovenia are way lower than of course Czech Republic and Slovakia. Worse than larger areas of Romania too. Purchasing power parity there is nearly 50% lower than in richer west part of Slovenia. You can read the Eu statistics data. For the Eu Slovenia is divided statistically in 2 regions. Huge difference west versus east. Even the procapita number of pet dogs in Maribor is way lower than in Ljubljana. The atmosphere in Maribor is extremely depressive. The only exception is football. As I'm familiar with the area: houses, real income in the Maribor region is worse than Zakarpaty region (many working abroad! or supported by Hungary) in Ukraine. If you have a government job you are well in Maribor but as soon as you have an opportunity you move to Ljubljana or the coastal area. "

      This is complete nonsense, yeah is not all flowers, but your writing is way exaggerating and mostly not true. Romania and Ukraine, really??.

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    6. +1 last comment

      It is true that Slovenian Styria region is economically not as strong as Ljubljana. But still it is way stronger than most Ex-Yu regions.

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    7. According to Statisicni urad RS, the average salary in LJ is 1828€ and in MB 1525€. But that Anonymous presented MB as Mordor. It's incredible how many BS can one hide behind anonymity. This should be changed (hint to mods).

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    8. Could you please give me the link for the monthly avarage salary in Ljubljana? I found numbers only for the whole country.

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    9. The average NET salary in the Ljubljana region (Osrednjeslovesnak) is EUR 1,132.64 http://www.stat.si/StatWeb/en/News/Index/6929

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    10. Live in Bucharest is way way better then in Maribor. Working in the private sector or international companies in Bucharest (public sector sadly not soo) is heaven compared to Maribor. Purchasing power in Bucharest is way higher than Maribor. Look at Eu data. Average salary data for Maribor are misleading: many people are not included in the statistics. Of course public sector (salary) in Maribor is excellent because most prices are way lower than e.g. Ljubljana, Gorenjska and Primorska region but for the rest poverty is rampant. Have you been and lived in these places? Just Slovenians trying to hide to outsiders (even the neighbors) their struggle. Comparing the quality of nearly all new houses (people somehow obsessed with them in both countries) in the Ukrainian border area with Hungary with the Maribor and Stajerska region. Zakarpatia region in Ukraine wins hands down. Most people there working abroad and working a lot so this is possible. It's like in the West where people not knowing Slovenia are assuming we are living in poverty then they are surprised when they visit here. Same for us compared to e.g. Bucharest or Czech, Slovak Republic (!) etc.

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    11. When numbers talk, bullshit walks. But i totaly believe you that you're having an awesome time in Bucharest.

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  17. Nice to see another new airline at BEG too. Regional connectivity will now be quite good: Podgorica, Tivat, Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Pula, Ljubljana, Maribor, Tirana, Skopje, Ohrid, Bucharest, Sofia.

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    1. And the frequencies to all of them are quite decent.

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    2. This is a good example to show to people who advocate for the demise of legacy airlines in ex-Yu and the dominance of Ryan and Wizz. Neither of those would ever fly these routes from BEG.

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    3. @10.35, you forgot Sarajevo and Banja Luka ;)

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    4. Oops yes my bad

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  18. I still think it was a missed opportunity for Adria not have based a plane in Maribor when they had the chance to. I think the city has potential.

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  19. Just a note that VLM plans to register 6 A320-200s and 15 A330-200s in Slovenia.

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    1. lol yeah right. Where exactly will they park the A330s in Maribor? On the runway?

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    2. I said they plan register them in Slovenia, not base them there.

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    3. SHS also promised 300,000 passengers at MXB during the first year

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    4. they are hiring A320 and A330 pilots. So they will get these planes after all.

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    5. According to some info I have 2 A320s will come soon.

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    6. Those might come from Thomas Cook Belgium right?

      Haplek

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  20. Good luck. I hope this works out.

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  21. People had a very negative attitude towards it and calling it a scam but things are moving forward and they are delivering on their plans.

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  22. Maybe when they expand their network they will offer some good transfer options.

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  23. When will we be able to book flights?

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    1. When they finalise their winter scheduled.

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  24. Very interested to see what the pricing will be like.

    What kind of onboard service does VLM offer?

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    1. There only scheduled flights so far have been to DBV and SPU. These are really short, I don't know what sort of service you would need.

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    2. But their cabin looks ok
      https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-19YPpTg8e4s/WYrK0z85KtI/AAAAAAAAfQ8/OZ1SOxeM-TwriNCBMqrno0sYYo7vzDG3gCLcBGAs/s1600/1.jpg

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    3. Looks fresher than OU's Q400s that's for sure.

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    4. And Air Serbia ATR72.

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    5. Dzedaji voze te ATRove.

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    6. I don't know about Air Serbia's Atrs but OU's Q400s are starting to look quite worn out. It's nothing surprising given how much they are used during the summers.

      I am a Croat and I don't see a point in immediately mentioning Air Serbia.

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  25. I'm surprised. Wasn't expecting that anything would come of this.

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  26. Hopefully all their new flights will operate for the entire season and not just a month like this summer.

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  27. This is total BS. Pure publicity.

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    1. Thank you for that high quality answer, you have uncovered their entire ploy to fool us.

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  28. These are the routes they announced in March
    https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-h8CPEIGHzKU/WLkwe6RvVVI/AAAAAAAAccA/pgQG1TjRc3sqdaSz3kb4BA2YdKL2cKs4wCLcB/s1600/Untitled.png

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    1. They plan Barcelona too?

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  29. OT: 3 widebodies from 3 different carriers today in BEG (scheduled flights)

    JU500
    HU7938
    TK1984

    Connecting BEG with 3 different continents. Nice :)

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  30. 2 different continents

    On Friday there were also 3 widebodies with TK A330F from Vnukovo.

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    1. 3 different continents. Istanbul Atatürk airport is in European part of Istanbul.

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    2. 2 different continents - you don't connect a single continent with itself.

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    3. So you are saying that BEG is not connected to Europe by air because you can't connect 'a single continent with itself'?

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  31. Some flights to BWK in s 18?

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  32. It is weird that Air Serbia is not interested in Graz - Belgrade route.

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    1. It is weird Air Serbia is not interested in many routes.

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    2. ...other than to the hangar or to the lessor.

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    3. did someone say 'hangar queen' ?

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