Monday, October 16, 2017

Air Serbia registers passenger milestone


Air Serbia has handled its ten millionth passenger since relaunching under its new brand name in partnership with Etihad Airways on October 26, 2013. The milestone comes as the airline continues to roll out new measures aimed at cutting costs and improving profitability. The ten millionth traveller was carried yesterday on a flight from Belgrade to Tirana. The route itself was relaunched in 2014, six years after predecessor Jat Airways suspended the service. Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, said, “We’re thrilled to have carried ten million guests in a short timeframe of just under four years. It’s a remarkable achievement for a young airline the size of Air Serbia and means that, on average, we have flown just under 7.000 people to and from Belgrade every day, making an enormous contribution to the wider economy. We’re grateful for the continued support of our guests and look forward to providing more choice, convenience and flexibility". The traveller received two return tickets to any destination within Air Serbia's network.

The Serbian carrier handled roughly the same number of passengers during the first three quarters of 2017 as during the same period last year, despite a notable reduction in the number of aircraft movements. The result was achieved in part due to an increase in capacity on its narrow-body Airbus fleet following the retrofit of the aircraft with slimline seats, as well as a bumper charter flight season which has been significantly extended this year. In 2013 Jat Airways (ten months) and Air Serbia (two months) handled 1.38 million passengers. The following year the figure increased 66% to 2.3 million, while in 2015 the carrier welcomed 2.55 million travellers on board its aircraft. Last year, the airline carried 2.62 million passengers.


Air Serbia has continued to step-up its internal consolidation measures. After closing all of its retail offices within Serbia, with exception to Belgrade, the airline recently put on sale 115 square metres of office space in Budva in Montenegro for 265.100 euros. The carrier has also halved the size of its flagship retail office in downtown Belgrade. The airline is now expected to outsource its ground handling services. Air Serbia's Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Siniša Mali, previously said, "This is part of a business plan which will boost profitability. All of these measures are standard and part of a process where you try to reduce your losses on one hand, and increase profits on the other. Air Serbia is a stable company. We have improved in all metrics compared to last year, both in profitability and passengers carried". The measures come as part-owner Etihad Airways disposes of its unprofitable European investments.

141 comments:

  1. Congrats Air Serbia.

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  2. Pretty good considering Jat in its last years was handling below a million passengers and was surpassed by Adria.

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    1. I think it's time to stop comparing them to Jat, it's been four years for the love of God.

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    2. Most of their critics still compare them to Jat so I don't see why not.

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  3. The way they are cutting costs I would not be surprised if they start selling slots at Heathrow next.

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    1. Me neither. And below the market price to Etihad.

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    2. There are no plans to sell LHR slots. In summer they need more. That's why JU in its last year even introduced 2 weekly Gatwick flights because of the demand.

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    3. I didn't said they have plans at the moment. But I'm sure they didn't have plans for many things they have done in just a few months.

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  4. Is that Air Serbia's A330 cabin on the photo?

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    1. Yes, business class.

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    2. Looks good :)

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    3. They have an extremely good soft and hard product on their A330 business class. Well above the European average,

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    4. I agree. The only thing they could work on is the selection of movies on their in flight entertainment system. There are 10 yo 15 movies tops and half of them are old Serbian ones.

      Service wise they are the same as Etihad, which is very good.

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  5. Is that a new PR at JU? I remember a different guy, no?

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  6. It's good that their passenger numbers have held up this year but I'm wondering if they will stay that way this winter.

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    1. They had a strong 16/17 winter and charters really helped them out during the summer. This winter they have the same number of flights like last year more or less. Numbers will probably stay the same.

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    2. Should stay the same as last year.

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  7. Any ‘hand luggage only’ fares?

    None on the main web site...

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    1. I don't think they sell those on the website. Only in their sales office for a few destinations.

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    2. They have once/twice per year sale promo for this kind of tickets (hand luggage only included). Last sale was in September, so I don't think they would have it again this year.

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    3. I think it is only a matter of time before they introduce hand baggage only fares to buy on the net for the entire year. It would be logical if they want to further cut costs and improve revenue.

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    4. Couldn't agree more.

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    5. You have to be 100% sure you want to travel without checked baggage.
      Because, if you buy these hand-luggage only tickets, but later change your mind and want to fly with luggage, you have to pay 120 euros extra (60+60). No discount available.
      It's not like with Luftansa group, where this change of mind would cost you 30 euros for the first piece of luggage, or with KLM-AF group, 20-40 euros, let alone low cost airlines.
      My impression is that this policy was not really thought through.

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    6. Rip-off like everything else with AirSerbia !!

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    7. Don't forget that when they rolled out their 'hand luggage only' fares, they were only bookable through their call center which charged you a €20 booking fee. lol

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  8. Fantastic news! It is such a wonderful achievment.
    Very proud!

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  9. Mala flota, kratko vreme a Deset Miliona putnika. Ko to ne zeli da ne vidi, taj i ne vidi.
    Svaka vam cast Er Srbijo. Transfomisite se sto prije za vreme koje dolazi...
    Iskrene zelje i postovanje timu Air Serbia.
    Rodney, Kraljevo.
    😀🇷🇸🌐🇭🇲🌏🌍🌎😀

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  10. Браво Србиja

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  11. They added 1.3 million passengers in less than 4 years. Pretty good.

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  12. Do they plan to introduce any new routes next year.

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  13. There are quite a lot of questions when discussing JU:
    1. What will happen with the EY partnership
    2. What will happen with the neo order
    3. What will happen with Aviolet
    4. What will happen with the regional fleet
    5. What will happen with long haul network

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    1. good questions but I'm not sure they know either.

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    2. very good questions! many unknowns

      currently, there is maybe an answer for 2nd and that is "no way", but then there is a question what in the world happens with advance payment made by JAT of some 20+mil $

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    3. That's a very good summary indeed. Simple yet fundamental questions. If they are serious about their plans for the future they should work towards very clear answers to these, and then work even harder for thorough implementation of whatever strategy comes out from those answers.
      Yet, their current communication with the outside world is quite ambiguous and doesn't reveal any clear vision.

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    4. 6. What happens with the old Boeings?
      7. What happens with CEO?
      8. What is the mid- and long-term plan destination- and network developmentwise?

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  14. Absolutely great beginning for Air Serbia, congrats, but just make sure to consolidate, before Etihad pulls out.

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  15. Wow. So if they already carried the same number of passengers as last year, they could hit the 3 million mark by the end of this year? That's fantastic! Well done Air Serbia!

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    1. I think you misunderstood. They had the same number of passengers as they did during the same period last year. They will have the same number of passengers this year as they did last year.

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    2. Ah, you are right! My bad. Still, impressive to maintain the numbers, with all the flight cuts. It will be interesting to see the final tally at the end of the year.

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  16. So 60 years JU will no longer have its own handling division. Sad.

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    1. What's the difference if BEG airport does the handling for you? They will also reduce their over bloated workforce in the process.

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    2. Groudn handling is not over bloated, HQ is and they will not reduce HQ administration...This will cost more...

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  17. Anyone know how their load factor is doing?

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    1. Probably around 75%, which is the highest of all ex-YU airlines.

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    2. It is the highest because of the JFK Ops!

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    3. It was the highest before JFK was launched as well. Over 70%.

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    4. LF during the first half of the year was 70.5%. That's +3% on 2016.

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    5. If the load factor is the best of all ex YU Airlines why is their overall loss last financial year circa EUR40m?

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    6. Because their costs are [were] higher then the other airlines. Remember they offered a bloody menu with a selection of hot food in economy for 2 hour flights.
      They sold tickets at dumping prices for almost a year.
      They launched a transatlantic service last year which includes extra costs like training staff, leasing plane, buying slots, initial loss of route upon launch etc.

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    7. LF has been improving nicely over the last couple of years

      2016:72%
      2015 71%
      2014: 67%
      2013: 64%

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    8. LF is not the most important stuff

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    9. Exactly. It is yields that are most important.

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    10. What about OU lf in %? Anyone has the numbers?

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    11. ^69,7% in first half of the year.

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    12. Adria? Montenegro?

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    13. Adria 65,5% in 2016. I don't know for this year. For Montenegro I have no idea.

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  18. We will see how Air Serbia's new business model will impact on their passenger numbers over the next couple of months.

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    1. the increased number of seats per aircraft will compensate for the fewer flights.

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    2. Only if they manage to sell those extra seats.

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  19. What was the prize for the 10 milionth passenger? Return ticket, something like that?

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    1. It says "The traveller received two return tickets to any destination within Air Serbia's network."

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    2. Good that should include New York too

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  20. How much has Air Serbia paid for JFK slots?

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    1. Nothing, JAT paid.(Yugoslav Airlines)

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    2. JAT's slots at JFK were long gone. An airline can't keep its slots inactive for 25 years. They were taken over by JFK long long ago.

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    3. JAT lost all its slots at JFK in 1992 when US treasury took over all of JAT's property in the country including sales office at Rockefeller center. Staff were all ordered to leave the country in 24 hours.

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  21. Good work. Hope they achieve the next 10 million even quicker.

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  22. does anyone know what are the next turnaround/saving measures?

    i heard all kind of things,
    - bring back revenue management from abu dhabi
    - try to stomp on sales agents' commissions
    - outsource ground handling unit
    - outsource catering (apparently they already started making sandwiches for supermarkets)
    - relocate corporate HQ to cheaper ANT offices
    ...

    i understand some of these, but outsourcing i don't, since these traditionally sure money making business in aviation

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    1. In the text it says next measure is outsourcing ASGS (ground handling). From what I've heard it happens in November.

      As for catering, they have been making sandwiches and packaged food for Idea stores for almost a year now.

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    2. ^If they outsource catering that's another 60 year business they will be sending to the grave. Well done Air Serbia and Etihad appointed management!

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    3. Like someone said, after they leave, only a shell be left.

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    4. JU should really be careful.
      I bet HG really regrets outsourcing 90% of their business including booking systems, IBE to AB! Now they will face a business threatening challenge without AB very soon, they may not be able to receive or handle any bookings. This is just an example but often it is better to stay independent and not to save on a little bit of a licensing fee for the booking engine. The risk at the end of the day can be huge!

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  23. Passenger numbers are holding up well.

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    1. Unlike last year charter flights this summer did extremely well and really helped them boost numbers and help substitute the suspended flights.

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    2. Capacity increase on Airbus fleet will also help.

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    3. But remember that Air Berlin is folding. I think that could actually have quite an impact on JU, especially on their German routes.

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  24. Would be interesting to see what are their best performing routes in terms of LF.

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  25. And this fall they have at least one charter every week when Crvena Zvezda and Partizan play games in Europa League which they wasn't have last year. This is not much but will compensate some cuts they made. Also this games will generate some extra passengers on their scheduled routes.

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    1. Talking about sports charters, next May Belgrade hosts the Euro League Final Four. I think we will see a big increase in passenger numbers at Air Serbia and Belgrade Airport too.

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  26. I think with a better fleet which would include 100-seaters they could actually cut their losses significantly.

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    1. And also urgent is renewal of regional fleet.

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    2. Noviji ATRovi nisu toliko skupi da ih ne mogu kupiti. I poceti leteti Krakov (nema sta da traze u Varsavi), Lion (pokriva i Zenevu), Napulj ili Bari, Bratislavu (kao lcc), Odesu, Cisnau.

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    3. +1

      You can cut on product but should never cut on destinations.

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    4. The attack on Silver Etihad guests by denying them access to lounge is catastrophic.

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    5. I think they just harmonized the lounge policy with Etihad since EY has recently started denying silver members access to the lounge in Abu Dhabi.

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    6. Did they really have to close it at night?

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    7. They probably made some savings by cutting one shift.

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    8. Don't forget that Etihad lets you keep your status for only a year.

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    9. There's a load of comments on Skytrax dealing with lost luggage but this one tops it:

      "Düsseldorf to Belgrade. Air Serbia has to learn about dealing with customers. The policy of cheap flight with hand baggage only is alright. But if you control it too hursh you'll end up punishing your passengers. You do this in order to reduce the overall weight of large luggage, not to traumatize passengers by fining them. This happened to me: for 1.5kg extra they charged me with 60eur. Some other passengers were, however, able to come in without a problem. Formally, the company had right. Morally and according to any other criteria concerning the passenger comfort and reputation — they are wrong. My advice to avoid Air Serbia, they are not the only company."

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    10. "The attack on Silver Etihad guests by denying them access to lounge is catastrophic."

      I've already booked my entire Q4 travel on other airlines (mostly OS and TK). I literally have fewer benefits as an Air Serbia Silver than I had as a M&M Silver, which seemed hard to imagine a few years ago.

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  27. Nice to see some good news coming from JU.

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  28. Congratulations Air Serbia.

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  29. Hopefully in 1 or 2 years they will start expanding again.

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  30. I don't see that Air Serbia has any bigger issues then any other airline in Europe at the moment. They are being squeezed by low cost airlines just like everyone else. I don't know a single European legacy carrier that isn't consolidating and looking to cut costs at the moment, so I don't understand the drama by some on here.

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    1. People are reacting that way because they were promised the best airline in the world. Expectations were way too high and at the start they truly were among the best European short haul airlines. Had they started off with the product they have now and built it up over time, no one would have had an issue and I'm sure their finances would have been in much better shape too.

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    2. Prosto receno na sendvicu mozes malo da ustedis, a gnjecavi kakvi su sada samo doprinose da im se gubi ugled. Stedi se na vrlo bitnom delu, utisku koji se ostavlja na putnika. Dobar sendvic mnogo znaci kao i redovan saobracaj. Razlika u ceni jedan juro. Pusti me ovih bednika koji bi da lete za par jura pa im jos onda sve smeta.

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    3. Nikad neću razumeti ljude kojima je sendvič (hrana) najbitnija stvar u avijaciji....

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    4. Па теби ако комфор и ниво услуге није најбитнија ставка онда изволи па лети са Визер и пуст нас на миру. Или још боље, изволи па лети са Рајанером из Ниша.

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    5. zapravo komfor i nivo usluge se pokazuju sve nebitnijim, zato i procvat lcc-ova, a pad tradicionalnih kerijera. realno, na evropskim letovima od po par sati je sve to nebitno.
      ako pogledaš LH i BA, sve se svodi na to da izbacuju opcije iz ekonomija, a sve više stvari dodaju u biznis, pa ko hoće da plati nek izvoli.

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    6. Kad ne letis. Kad krenes ujutru za Frankfurt ili Pariz ustanes oko 4 tako da ti dobro dodje nesto oko 7 da pregrizes. Nemoj misliti da su Hleb i kifla na aerodromu ista specijalno. Slicno smece sad sluze u avionu.

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    7. a zavisi i od osobe i od tipa mušterije. što se tiče tipa mušterije, turisti i VFR obično mogu da jedu na početnoj ili krajnjoj destinaciji, a poslovnjaci ređe.

      recimo, za ovo što si konkretno naveo, meni treba 5min da pripremim žitarice za doručak, pa to jedem uz oblačenje/pakovanje, a kada dođem na destinaciju ako ne mogu da izdržim tu su burger king ili McD na aerodromu najčešće, a ako mogu da izdržim onda je neka lokalna birtija sa dobrom klopom...

      a obrok u avionu, na SH koji su veliki udeo JU saobraćaja, zapravo nije ni obrok, to je snack skromne kalorijske vrednosti.

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    8. Mislim zitarice za dorucak, McD, zasto uopste pricas o hrani?

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    9. a meni bitno da mi ukusno to što jede

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  31. Does anyone know for certain the status of those A320neos. Would be nice if we knew their faith.

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    1. No one knows. Since JU is silent and not mentioning it I think it is safe to say tgey won't come next year.

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    2. Well if they don't get them , maybe some other airlines get theirs sooner than expected , I hope OU will be amongst them , no offense .

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  32. Is it just me that can't understand the math of handling 10 million pax in 4 years?

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    1. It's you. It says in the article

      -- In 2013 Jat Airways (ten months) and Air Serbia (two months) handled 1.38 million passengers. The following year the figure increased 66% to 2.3 million, while in 2015 the carrier welcomed 2.55 million travellers on board its aircraft. Last year, the airline carried 2.62 million passengers. ---

      That means 8,850,000 and in 2017 so far they handed surely handled over 1,2 million

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    2. @Anonymous October 16, 2017 at 11:10 AM
      I don't think so...
      "Air Serbia has handled its ten millionth passenger since relaunching under its new brand name in partnership with Etihad Airways on October 26, 2013"
      It does not onclude Jat results but solely results as of 26OCT13

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    3. Again it makes perfect sense. They handled around 300,000 passengers in last 2 months of 2013 plus 2,1 million this year. There you go.

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  33. It will be interesting to see how Etihad's strategy will develop in terms of their equity investments in Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Jet Airways.

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    1. Same way as it developed with Air Berlin and Alitalia.

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    2. Jet Airways seems to be doing quite well. They just ordered 75 new 737 MAX aircraft.

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    3. Air Berlin had orders for A330-900 also ;)

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    4. Pa i Air Serbia je imala cuvenih 10 a320neo, pa od toga nista...

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    5. Па и Етихад је имао снове и амбиције па ништа од тога.

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  34. Quite unusual Kondic is not quoted in the official statement, mentioned above. It's for some time the pattern repeats. Is he still on top of the company?

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    1. His statement is in the text now and I tend to agree with what he said on this ocassion.

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  35. 12.10. 2017 JU655 about half full while Aeroflot flight which left SVO 1 1/2 hr earlier was full in economy. Service not bad but nothing special worth remembering. Interesting that boarding was completed about 20 min earlier than departure but we remained at the gate and started push back 1-2 min after schedule, arrived Beg on time. Interesting that on the songs menu there i not a single choice of domestic folk music actors to chose from.

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    1. Of course, that's how much Air Serbia is "Serbian".

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    2. Hahahha they were doing you a favour.

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  36. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-alitalia-sale-lufthansa/lufthansa-offers-500-million-euros-for-alitalias-planes-and-staff-paper-idUSKBN1CL191?il=0

    Lufthansa cherry picking offers Alitalia 500 million Euro for its sweetest fruit.

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    1. This is becoming ridiculous. Air Serbia is next probably.

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    2. Alitalia's fleet is worth much more than that.

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    3. interesting offer. they aim for asset deal to avoid any kind of dealing with current unions of AZ

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  37. I think Lufthansa will in the end take over Etihad lol. Quite sad really and what's worse no one cares. When Etihad was buying up airlines they were called monopolists, it was said they would distort the market. But now that Lufthansa has bought every other airline in Europe and has a domestic market share of over 90% it's cool and cute.

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    1. Not only that but look how ruthless they were to their competitors in Austria and Switzerland.

      Let's hope Niki returns to the airline business. Austria is becoming extremely uncompetitive.

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  38. To me the funniest and saddest thing is that Air Serbia crossed over to Sabre. Air Serbia actually owns Amadeus Serbia. JAT was one of the founding members of Amadeus. And then you decide to go to Sabre because Etihad probably has some hidden shareholding in that company and has ordered all of its partners to migrate there.

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    1. This has turned into an unseen mess.

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    2. Why is it a mess? Booking works well.

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  39. I am not a Air Serbia hater, rather a realist...there is no way Air Serbia will celebrate another 10mil passengers in the next 4 years since the golden years of Etihad are behind. It will have to fight like all the other regional airlines in SEE, the airlines growth was unsustainable and we are seeing that now...

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  40. I was away all day, and now very late to this party but at least one comment. Unlike some opinions, Air Serbia/Etihad order for A320NEO will not go away. It may get postponed or converted, but Airbus will not allow it to go away. One possible partial conversion might be to C series, now that Airbus officially owns most of the program, and from 2023 Airbus might be 100% owner. With best in class jets for years to come, mix of 320NEO and C series could be a real winning solution for Air Serbia.

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    1. Of course it will not go away, if JU can't take it then EY will.

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    2. If Etihad takes them, Air Serbia will then be free to choose Boeing or anything else? Not really.

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