Saturday, November 4, 2017

EX-YU airports seek better interconnectivity


Airports across the former Yugoslavia are looking to improve connectivity with neighbouring countries and are taking the initiative for the launch of such flights. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Mostar Airport anticipates the introduction of services to both Zagreb and Belgrade next year, after securing flights to Germany through budget carrier Eurowings. “In addition to the success we have had in establishing flights with Eurowings, we have also approached other carriers. It is highly likely that Croatia Airlines will add flights from Zagreb next year, and we also hope to reach an agreement with Air Serbia in order to link Mostar with Belgrade”, the city’s Mayor, Ljubo Bešlić, said. Flights between Zagreb and Mostar were last operated in the summer of 2006, while services from Belgrade were run prior to the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

Earlier this week, Flydubai commenced operations from Dubai to Podgorica via Sarajevo. The airline has become the first foreign carrier to operate revenue flights between two cities in the former Yugoslavia, maintaining the service twice per week. “With the launch of this new route, we are not only providing a direct flight to Podgorica from Dubai, but creating a regular service between Podgorica and Sarajevo. We look forward to the new opportunities that these flights will provide creating new flows of trade and tourism”, Jeyhun Efendi, Flydubai’s Commercial Senior Vice President, said. However, the route is expected to be maintained only during the winter season. As a result, local authorities are looking to secure year-round flights between the Bosnian and Montenegrin capitals.

JAT's domestic network in 1987

The governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia have launched a joint initiative for the introduction of a Sarajevo - Podgorica - Skopje service. The three sides believe such a route would boost trade and tourism, as well as people to people exchange. Bosnia and Herzegovina's former flag carrier, B&H Airlines, maintained flights between Sarajevo and Skopje on an off-and-on basis for several years. At one point services operated via Podgorica as well, although the airline had no fifth freedom rights between the Montenegrin capital and Skopje. Last week, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denis Zvizdić, said an airline had expressed interest for the introduction of flights between Sofia and Sarajevo via Skopje. He did not specify which carrier was considering the route.

Slovenia's VLM Airlines was to introduce services between Maribor and Belgrade this October, linking the two cities for the first time in over two decades. However, the carrier has put such plans on hold until further notice due to a lack of aircraft. Furthermore, Air Serbia has considered introducing services between Belgrade and Zadar but this is unlikely to occur in the near future due to an ongoing regulatory dispute between Air Serbia and the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency.

70 comments:

  1. I'm waiting for the day Wizz Air is allowed to start flights between exYu cities.

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    1. Even if they could, I doubt they would. I don't see which two city pairs in ex-Yu would have enough demand to fill an A320.

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    2. BEG-TGD and ZAG-SPU/DBV.

      Remember Wizz flies most of its route in ex-Yu only two times per week so these could work with such frequencies.

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    3. ZAG-SPU is just 40 minutes flight, 3 hours driving by car. There is market for 4 flights per day with Q400, nothing else.

      ZAG-DBV, on the other hand, has potentials for 5 to 6 A320 flights per day

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    4. They won't fly BEG-TDG... airport taxes are too prohibitive - almost EUR50 !! - and distance is too short... it goes against their business model

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    5. SKP-LJU (two weekly)
      June-Sept: LJU-SPU, BEG-OHD

      problem is demand in winter i agree with that.

      summer on BEG-OHD

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    6. The market between BEG and TIV/TGD is large enough for them to launch flights. Don't forget that Wizz Air already flies into PRG and FRA while they have also announced ATH.

      I can see them flying:

      1. BEG-TIV
      2. BEG-TGD
      3. ZAG-DBV

      However, they might struggle against OU and JU/YM which would have a competitive advantage by having more daily flights so more flexibility.

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    7. Nemjee - the taxes b/w BEG and MNE airports are higher than anywhere else they currently fly to, not to mention that there are bigger city pairs they could serve but dont, for exactly the same reason - extortionately high airport taxes

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    8. Well, the market between Serbia and Montenegro is large enough for them to accept the reality of high charges.
      After all, they are flying to both Frankfurt and Athens, two airports that are far more expensive than BEG.

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    9. BEG-BNX could work 5x

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    10. Nemjee - they could fly to ZAG and be the only ULCC there and yet they can't accept the reality of their high fees/taxes and fly there - they have said that themselves. Why are they flying to FRA and ATH ?? Many more passengers with the propensity to pay far more than are those in either Serbia or MNE able to. You are comparing apples and oranges

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    11. The market is large enough for them to take the risk. There are more than 500.000 passengers every year flying on two struggling airlines. Are you telling me that Wizz Air is afraid of YM or JU?

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    12. There's almost 3M people flying into and out of ZAG with a struggling carrier based there and they are not flying there when they could.

      Why do you suppose that is ?

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    13. Eurowings complained ZAG is expensive so maybe there's your clue and the market is probably not that big or high yielding

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  2. Wonder if FZ has managed to sell some tickets between tickets between Sarajevo and Podgorica.

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    1. They are expensive. Around 150 euros.

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    2. It's not that expensive. As someone mentioned, Podgorica has some of the highest taxes together with Sarajevo in the region. A regular tickets between Belgrade and Podgorica hovers around 150 euros as well.

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  3. Looking at JATs domestic network from '87 surprised to see that INI was ONLY connected to BEG. Thought there would have been flights to ZAG and a few seasonal to the coast.

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    1. The map is from 1987 when Nis Airport just opened. As far as I can remember JAT started seasonal flights to Tivat later while Inex Adria flew Zagreb and Ljubljana.

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    2. Thanks man.
      And Banja Luka and Tuzla no flights at all.

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    3. Tuzla was only a military airport during Yugoslav times. I think it became commercial airport in 1998. Certainly after the break up of Yugoslavia.

      JAT added a lot of smaller ex-Yu airports to its network when it started getting ATR42s. That's when they started Mostar, Portoroz...

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    4. Good, thanks again.

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    5. As someone already said before-this was just the beginning for INI. Later on, JAT had from INI 5 weekly flights to ZAG (combination of ATR42 and DC9, morning departure from INI and evening arrival to INI, with all range of european connections from ZAG), 4 weekly SPU and 2 weekly PUY/RJK on ATR42 (in summer season), and for Adria flying INI-LJU, frankly speaking I don't remember it, but it's possible

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  4. Mostar-Belgrade would be great. Hope it materializes.

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    1. Likely ZAG would be more successful.

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    2. yea obviously ZAG would be more successful then BEG. but dont under estimate BEG flights to work just fine. Mostar region will enjoy connecting via BEG and fly to JFK and hopefully soon to YYZ.

      and before you start they dont wanna go on via ZAG in a crammed low cost company.

      So good luck Mostar.

      off topic... OMO is one of the more hardest airports for landing.. its amazing really

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    3. "and before you start they dont wanna go on via ZAG in a crammed low cost company."
      What you talk'in 'bout man?

      And I would gladly sit in a crammed low cost flight for 35 minutes if the price was right.

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    4. I think he meant transfer to YYZ

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    5. and I think Air Canada brand, even Rouge, is much much stronger than ex-boutique "Air Serbia", and majority of pax would choose AC if the other option is JU, especially with at least double more weekly flights, and maybe even lower, or similar prices

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    6. Yeah, flying on a 25 year old B763 is a charm

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    7. "majority of pax would choose AC if the other option is JU"

      Absolutely wrong. Diaspora would first and foremost pick the airline where they can speak their mother tongue.

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    8. Not croatian canadians. Even in 1980s they avoided JAT. That's why Air Canada was able to sustain 4 weekly non stop flights on top of JATs flights...JAT was mostly used by Yugoslav passangers originating in Ex Yu, including croatians living in Croatia.

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  5. It's high time Adria introduces flights from Ljubljana to Split and Dubrovnik during the summer.

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    1. It's odd that there are no flights considering how well Ljubljana was connected to the Croatian coast in the 80s thanks to Adria and JAT.

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    2. Didn't JP fly to Brač and Dubrovnik back in the late 90's?

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  6. Maribor had more flights in 1987 then today :(

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    1. everything was better then

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    2. From the map I can see Maribor had domestic flights to Split, Ohrid, Skopje and Belgrade :)

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  7. Flydubai's flight to TGD via SJJ is the latest among many clear examples how ASL was missing opportunities to expand in the region, over the past four years. Due to lack of leadership vision and firm understanding of the regional market potential.

    When ASL was created four years ago, the goal was to create a dominant airline serving Ex-Yu, Balkans and the rest of the South-East Europe. Never happened. ASL leaders, brought in from the overseas countries, never understood the nature of regional market and its growth capacity.

    To illustrate: 2017 will end with the total growth of Ex-Yu market by 12-15% in terms of pax. ASL growth won't be higher than 4%, three times slower than the regional average. Poor performance and a very sad perspective for ASL.

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    1. Do you really think Bosnia and Montenegro would give Air Serbia fifth freedom rights? Flydubai has those fights because Bosnia and Montenegro have an open sky agreement with the UAE allowing their airlines to fly fifth freedom. As far as I am aware all ex-Yu countries have open sky agreements with the UAE.

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    2. You do understand that ASL could fly only to BEG and that it is highly unlikely ASL would have 5th freedom for, for example TGD-SJJ, flight.

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    3. Nothing is highly unlikely if you work on that.

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    4. JU is unable to avail itself of the traffic rights to fly intra ex-yu. OU on the other hand, as an EU carrier, OU is able to do so.

      Why havent they ?

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  8. Good. I agree that links within ex-Yu could be improved. Lots of potential.

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    1. I'm not so sure. It's a very low yielding market.

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  9. Market realities and dynamics have changed since the 1970s and the 1980s.

    I can't speak for other cities but as far as BEG goes, having flights to the ex-YU is as important as being linked to other Balkan destinations such as TIA, SKG, ATH, SOF, OTP...
    Belgrade is the only ex-YU city that has decent, year-round coverage of the Balkan peninsula.

    Aegean tried to link some cities and so far they recorded mixed results. I am genuinely curious to see how they perform in Zagreb especially since OU kept on flying into Athens via Dubrovnik. I do believe that there is at least seasonal demand to make this route work. I am still surprised LJU didn't perform well for them. Then again, the A320 might be too big while the Q400 is too slow to make economic sense.


    Overall, weak intra-ex-YU coverage is just part of a much larger problem, weak intra-Balkan connectivity.

    Look at Montenegro Airlines. It seems like they can only make BEG and LJU work. They flew to INI and there weren't enough passengers, even in summer, to keep the flights once subsidies ended.
    They had plans for Zagreb but those were dropped as well.
    JA used to fly to SKP via TGD and those flights didn't perform as well.

    I feel that without subsidies this is as good as it gets.

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    1. Večeras deliš whatevere kao da su candy

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  10. There's no valuable yield attainable in connecting ex-yu cities by air. Times move on and these places rely much less on each other since the break up, from an economic standpoint.

    If anything, road and rail infrastructure improvements are the way to go to provide better connections, and far greener too.

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    1. Sure there is value in connecting ex-yu cities by air. What about sending time sensitive documents, products, food, etc. What about business travellers, visiting family, and other tourist trips/packages.
      True that these 'new' countries rely on each other less than when in Yugoslavia, but now there is more and more economic, social, tourist, and other ties.

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  11. Kids.... This is good.

    I want to use my Balkan ID Card when going to Montenegro from Skopje in a plane. I really hate my Balkan passport !

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  12. Sofia-Skopje-Sarajevo could work. Especially the Sofia-Skopje sector.

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    1. Sofia Skopje is questionable as the drive is some 3.5 hours or so. Granted the highway is not the greatest.
      Hard for a flight to compare with that.

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    2. There were flights until a few years ago. I think it was Bulgaria Air.

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    3. But they didn't last long.

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  13. TZL-TGD
    TZL-TIV
    TZL-ZAG
    TZL-INI

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    1. Are you sure there is demand for such flights?

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    2. I'm a bit sceptic about those routes

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    3. Its better TZL-INI Or TZL-TIV

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  14. Well it would be very smart if Mostar will be connected with Zagreb and Belgrade.

    I also think a link between Scandinavia and Mostar would work well. Also connecting with other German cities would work well.

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  15. Planes such as Sukhoi Superjet and Mitsubishi regional jet, would be perfect for these flights.

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