Friday, February 9, 2018

Foreign carriers build up Belgrade presence


Foreign carriers plan to boost their operations to Belgrade this summer by adding flights and increasing capacity, ahead of VINCI's takeover of Nikola Tesla Airport. easyJet, Iran Air, and Qeshm Air will launch new routes to the Serbian capital in the coming months, while a number of carriers will increase their presence by adding frequencies on existing services, including Belavia, LOT Polish Airlines, Flydubai, Vueling, Transavia, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Swiss International Air Lines, Wizz Air and TAROM. Others, such as Qatar Airways and Aegean will increase their capacity. Overall, foreign carriers are expected to boost their passenger share in Belgrade, which stood at 50% in 2017.

Low cost airline easyJet will operate services to Belgrade from three different cities this year - Geneva, Berlin and Basel - the latter two being introduced over the summer. Despite uncertainly over its Geneva route, the airline has now scheduled and put on sale flights from the Swiss city, which were initially scheduled to run only until the end of March. On the other hand, following several delays, Iran Air has entered its new service from Tehran to Belgrade into Global Distribution Systems with the launch date set for March 27, although slight changes to the initial schedule have been made. Overall, the airline will maintain two flights per week with ticket sales to commence soon.

Belarus' national carrier Belavia, which runs two weekly flights between Minsk and Belgrade via Budapest, will commence nonstop operations between the Belorussian and Serbian capitals by adding a third weekly service, the remaining two will continue to be maintained via Budapest. The airline holds fifth freedom rights on the sector between Belgrade and the Hungarian capital, allowing it to sell tickets for the city pair. Furthermore, Transavia will double its operations to six per week during the height of the summer season, while Swiss International Air Lines will introduce an extra two weekly flights to Belgrade, for a total of sixteen. LOT will increase its frequencies from Warsaw from nine to eleven weekly services starting July 6, while Spanish carrier Vueling will bring forward its flights from Barcelona to the Serbian capital and maintain operations during the entire 2018 summer season.

Other notable additions to Belgrade Airport's summer line-up will include the deployment of Qatar Airways' 182-seat Airbus A321 aircraft on its daily flights from Doha, while Flydubai will run daily services with its new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, featuring its new business and economy class product. The airline is also mulling potential additional frequencies over the height of the summer season. The future operator of Belgrade Airport is expected to sign the concession agreement with the government later next month. The Serbian government has said that the planned revenue from VINCI's concession and investment over the next 25 years will amount to 1.5 billion euros, while the annual concession fee will range between 4.3 million and sixteen million euros.

145 comments:

  1. I wonder if this growth is anyway related to Vinci or is just market demand.

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    1. Obviously market demand.

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    2. I think once Vinci takes over they may bring back Air France or Hop may start flights.

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    3. I think there is more of a chance for Joon from the Air France group than those two, but we will see.

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    4. It is a market demand. Tourism is booming in Belgrade plus we have a lot of people moving out of the country but still keeping close ties and returning several times a year.

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  2. Everyone growing while JU is shrinking.

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    1. Actually most of the growth is coming on routes where the airlines don't have competition from Air Serbia.

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    2. Well the usual story is that when the national carrier has problems the competition smells blood.

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    3. There is also Turkish with A321 and would be A330 if not for Serbian directorate.

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    4. Shame. Instead of increasing connectivity AS is constantly cutting its frequencies. Maybe hub model was too ambitious in the first place.

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  3. Great news. BEG should have nice growth this year. The only risk is Air Serbia.

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  4. It's impressive that Easy jet will fly 3 routes. I do hope that they look at some other potential destinations.

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    1. I must say I don't really understand the points of them starting Basel. It's a route already served by Wizz Air.

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    2. easy will probably suspend that route after summer. I don't think they will be able to compete against Wizz here.

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    3. Not necessarily. easyJet is quite strong in Basel, they have a following there which is good as I suppose most bookings for this flight will come from Switzerland. Don't forget that they managed to defeat LX in GVA.

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    4. True but Swiss is a full service airline. Let's wait an see. I hope the market is big enough to sustain both.

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    5. I still wonder why Easy has not yet started London and Paris from Belgrade?
      There is a demand and room to grow.

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  5. And so many people were saying that easyJet is suspending Geneva and that Iran Air's flights are charters... so much for that.

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    1. well that certainly won't stop them just look at the comment under yours :D

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    2. And easyJet did not suspend Geneva?

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    3. No. Why don't you read the article?

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  6. I still don't see Iran Air nor Qeshm offering the tickets via their websites. Don't this makes the flights charters?

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    1. Read the article.

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    2. Iran Air flight is in GDS so it certainly isn't a charter.

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  7. Where is the demand coming from for the Minsk flights. 3x per week isn't bad when you consider most of Wizz Air's flights are twice per week.

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    1. Gospodin Bogoljub Karic sa zenom Marom i ekstendiranom familijom ima poslovno carstvo (imperiju) u Belorusiji a nema privatni avion.

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    2. I highly doubt that this year round route depends purely on Bogoljub Karic and his extended family.

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    3. They have quite a smart schedule. They fly via BUD with a small aircraft and they also sell tickets BUD-BEG-BUD. So they can make it work.

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    4. That was obviously a joke.

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    5. It's nice that they are starting a nonstop flight as well.

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    6. I remember people on here saying how most capacity increases were due to BUD and not BEG. I guess they were wrong.

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    7. Does JU codeshare with Belavia? Not sure how the times fit JU's schedule, in particula JFK flights.

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    8. They don't codeshare. In summer Belavia will have two flights arrive in BEG at 10.30am and one a 3.30pm.

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    9. There are Serbian people working in Belarus and that creates the demand.

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    10. Belavia is not part of the IATA profit sharing scheme so no airline can risk code-sharing with them.

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    11. Would this apply to interline agreement as well?

      Judging solely by times, it could work, although transfer time would be long on the way back. It really depends if the days are aligned.

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    12. From what I know it also includes the interline. Belavia is one of the few airlines in the world to not be in it. I think even Air Koryo is there.

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    13. So how do you explane that Air France, air Baltic, Austrian, ČSA, Etihad, Finnair, KLM, LOT, and 3 more airlines have code-share on Balavia.

      Those companies are in EU last time i checked.

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  8. Nice to see. I think summer will be very strong.

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  9. Hopefully these new arrivals to BEG will make up for the reduced JU ops.

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    1. They have already done that in December and January.

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  10. I hope Wizz Air will diversify its offer from BEG soon and finally introduces Spain and perhaps Athens.

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    1. Two weekly to Athens could work especially in summer. Maybe they could also return to Rhodes and Corfu which they used to fly?

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    2. Doubt it. The only thing they are interested in is connecting every German town with BEG.

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    3. It would be nice if Wizz Air considered more holiday destinations from Belgrade instead of just adding excessive diaspora routes.

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    4. They fly where there is demand and a an average load factor of 90%.

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    5. Their revised schedule to LCA is ideal for holidaymakers. Flights arrive and depart at perfect times for check-in and check-out and they are scheduled so that people can stay there a week or ten days.

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    6. What are the revised departure times at BEG?

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    7. We really need low cost alternative to both Athens and Thessaloniki. AS tickets for direct flights in summer have crazy prices!

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    8. The revised schedule that starts next months is like this:

      -2---6-

      BEG-LCA 12.20-15.50
      LCA-BEG 16.25-18.10

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  11. Etihad to me is the biggest disappointment. No increase in capacity or frequencies. No wonder QR and FZ have jumped at the opportunity of JU's AUH suspension and are increasing frequencies and capacity to BEG.

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    1. The worst thing is that they have spare capacity.

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    2. Not only that. They're behind directorate's decision to suspend TK A330 permit.

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    3. I am sad about that too. First they make AS suspend flights (instead of giving that route to the partner), now they not boost their operations and capacity. What is their comparative advantage to QR and FZ?

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    4. Nothing really. They operate by default in Belgrade. Sooner or later they when others add more flights they will fade away.

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    5. Sadly true. They will probably stop flying once the agreement for ASL expires.

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    6. Absolutely not true. They are flying with full loads to and from BEG in business and economy. It's without doubt one of their more profitable routes, especially since they can serve it with an A320.

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  12. My guesses for next (3-4) years developments...

    - Joon (or Air France)
    - Vueling (year round)
    - Eurowings
    - KLM (once Transavia concretes the market)
    - Air Canada Rouge (seasonal)
    - RAM
    - Libyan Airlines
    - Egypt Air
    - Kuwait Airways
    - Emirates

    Long shot on links from India, more from China, South Korea and call me crazy but I see Ethiopian linking BEG with another European city as well. As 321neoLR finds its true range in ops, perhaps a BEG service may be viable to more North American routes.

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    1. Libyan Airlines, Kuwait Airways?

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    2. Many Libyans in Serbia, lots of eventual construction opportunities in Libya will come up, makes sense.

      Kuwaitis escape their summers, love spa and medical treatment in Europe, Kuwait even flies to Tbilisi.

      I would add Azerbaijan and Air Malta as possibles.

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    3. I think there is more of a chance of Kuwait adding Sarajevo rather than BEG. As for Air Malta I highly doubt there is enough demand for three airlines on this route.

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    4. The market between Serbia and Malta is there. KM might hope to steal some passengers from other airlines especially in summer when they can bring in tourists.

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    5. Are you serious? Do you know the condition in which Libya is and its airlines?

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    6. KM is in huge mess coming out of unsuccessful restructuring. They loose over €1 million per month (€13.1 loss MAR16-MAR17), barely avoided pilot strike in December, they have acting CEO, and government calls all the shots (transport minister).
      They will expand this summer, but to destinations with huge tourist potential and no competition (LIS, AGP, LED, CMN, KBP, VCE). They won't start destination that is already well served any time soon.
      Regards from Malta.

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    7. Would really be good if people actually read the time frame in his original post... 3-4 years!

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    8. I also think Emirates will eventually replace FZ at least during the summer.

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    9. Could be. We see that daily on a narrowbody is no longer enough.

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    10. A321LR does not have range to fly USA from Belgrade

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    11. I am not an expert but look what Airbus says about a321lr: https://airbus-h.assetsadobe2.com/is/image/content/dam/corporate-topics/publications/backgrounders/A321LR-Infographics.jpg?wid=3626&fit=constrain

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  13. Great news for Serbian travelers and our tourism industrie.
    Shame that ASL is shrinking at a time that travel demand is greatly growing.

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  14. Norwegian will add one more weekly flight from Oslo.

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    1. TAROM too Fromm Bucharest. Total 9 weekly!

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    2. Actually it had three weekly last year but now it will operate it the whole summer season.

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    3. And how many flights will JU have to Bucharest?

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    4. JU will operate 8 weekly flights to OTP. Six night flights and two day flights, all operated on the Atr.

      BEG-OTP 17 weekly which is impressive.

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    5. WOW!!! That's a lot of flights from Belgrade to Bucharest. I wonder if Tarom also flyes transfers.

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  15. JU had a major sale yesterday for flights up to 15.06. I am sure it will boost their numbers as well.

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  16. The extra flights from Wizz Air are referred to the second A320 or..?

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    1. They will increase frequencies this summer from Belgrade to Malta, Gothenburg, Basel and Paris.

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    2. Yes but they are adding those after reducing some other destinations so there isn't really any new growth there/

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  17. For me the most impressive will be easyJet with 10 weekly flights! It seems like BEG and LJU will be their key ex-YU targets for organic, year-round growth.

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    1. Glad to see them increase their presence. There have been way to passive during the last few years.

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  18. I just noticed JU started flying triangular flights BEG-LJU-ZAG.
    https://uk.flightaware.com/live/flight/ASL1190/history

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    1. They have a fleet shortage and have to combine them. for a few weeks. ATRs on maintenance checks.

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    2. Thanks, that explains the a319 deployment.

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  19. It seems that foreign carriers will be doing extremely well at BEG passenger wise this year.

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  20. Another disappointing news from JU is that their daily flights to LCA have been pushed to July in stead of June as was the case the previous years. In June they will increase it from 3 to 4.

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  21. It would be good to see some more competition at BEG, London in particular.

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    1. Yes, They really need to attract some more European airlines to diversity offer on existing routes.

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    2. Not gonna happen until visas are lifted which I don't think will happen anytime soon.

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    3. BA to London and AF to Paris would be nice.

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    4. BA failed in BEG because of Wizz+JU. AF has a very good codeshare with JU.

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    5. Norwegian from LGW could work, they can capture both p2p and some transfers.

      With JU's prices on the route, BA could make it work. Products are the same essentially, except that BA offers connections and (used to have) better schedule.

      Ryanair could eventualy step in, perhaps not so soon from Belgrade, but definitely from INI.

      my2cents

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    6. Visas are huge problem still. However, the growth could also come from UK tourists visiting Belgrade. Tickets are just so expensive that you avoid visiting even if you have/do not need visa.

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    7. Wizz is also stupidly expensive. They are ripping people off big time. At least JU flies to LHR.

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    8. Indeed. Gatwick flights would be fantastic and daily connection would put such a pressure on ASL and Wizz to lower prices.

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    9. How come visa is not an issue for JU and Wizz. I'm sure there would be room for 2 more flights per week , if reasonably priced. If you lower the price there will be demand. Loads are great for both JU and Wizz.

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    10. Well, some years ago W6 reduced LTN from 4 to 3 weekly. I doubt they are doing that well. BEG-LON in summer is not even double daily but 12 weekly.

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    11. London was always very expensive from Belgrade. Regarding visas, both JU and Wizz would have more people if there were no visas.

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  22. In my opinion they should try to get a Canadian airline to fly seasonal to BEG like Skyservice did a few years ago. Either Air Canada Rouge or Air Transat. But with this management nothing will change. They are not focused at attracting more airlines. The ones that do start do so at their own initiative. Can't wait for VInci to take over.

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    1. I think Air Serbia will start those flights next year.

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    2. @Anonymous February 9, 2018 at 11:00 AM
      If Air Serbia will be still around next year.

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    3. @AnonymousFebruary 9, 2018 at 12:53

      AS will be around. We just need to see with how much subsidies.

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  23. Austrian has some new evening flight which arrives at 21:30 and no early morning from VIE the next day? Why is this so?

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    1. It's only temporary, flights will be suspended in a few weeks. Current morning departure from VIE barely makes it back in time for connections.

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  24. Is there any chance that flights to Kiev will ever resume?

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  25. Will Etihad respond to the increases by Qatar Airways and Fly Dubai? Seems crazy that they won't.

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    1. No, they won't.

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    2. Etihad is allowing competition to take over without a fight. Ironically they are doing extremely well on this route, especially in the premium class.

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  26. Transavia must be doing well if they are doubling flights. Has JU been affected on this route?

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    1. Air Serbia hasn't been affected much because they handle a lot of transfer passengers on this route with good connections onto KLM and they have a codeshare with KLM. Transavia also has a CS but it is mainly used by P2P passengers.

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    2. Transavia, unlike JU, is getting a lot of feed from Delta.
      DL flights are around €80 cheaper with Transavia than with JU.

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  27. QR have added 4 extra flights to SOF, will they do the same for BEG?

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    1. No, like it says in the article they will have daily flights with A321. Unlike in Sofia they also have to compete against Etihad's daily flights.

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    2. Thanks. Also with FZ too...

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    3. Yes but FZ flies to Sofia too so they face the same competition in that respect :) that's why I didn't mention them.

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    4. FZ have more flights to BEG than to SOF. BEG is daily while SOF is 4 or 5 per week.

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    5. Plus, according to the article FZ might be adding more flights to BEG. I have a feeling we might see a nighttime departure.

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  28. I think BEG could get around 5.7 or 5.8 million passengers this year.

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  29. Good news for Belgrade airport and Vinci.

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  30. So basically every airline flying to BEG will increase its presence except members of the Etihad family (JU, EY, AZ).

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    1. Air Serbia announces changes later than others. They might be holding back announcements until Sinisa Mali takes over.

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    2. I doubt Sinisa will be taking over before Belgrade elections... and I doubt he will become the new CEO.

      Also, JU doesn't have any aircraft to add more flights. They can/will only cut them.

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    3. Sinisa Little is a true aviation expert, there is no doubt that under his patronage JU will be revamped and very successful.

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    4. JU needs more aircrafts, instead they retire them without substituting them (737s) and then cancel regular flights (GVA) in order to fly charters....

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    5. Remember when Dane wanted to lease out two A319? What a disaster that would have been.

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    6. JU definately needs more aircraft, however they need smaller, regional jets. The A319 is simply overkill on some routes.

      But I doubt much will be done regarding the fleet. Everything seems to be going down the toilet, and their so called 5 year plans are a joke.

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    7. An. 3:02
      I agree, but he is not an expert only in aviation, it goes for various forms of ground transportation as well - couple of days ago, for example, he said, and it was published, that metro (subway/underground) needs to be constructed outside of the city center, and that everywhere metro runs in non-populated suburban aereas, rather than city centers, and he suggested first line of BEG metro in Makis :):):)

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    8. Anon @9:24
      He is actually right about that. Metro will be terminating in Makis, but it will go through city center. Where would you put depot in an already overcrowded Belgrade center?

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  31. Lufthansa will also have a lot of capacity this summer:

    FRA double daily, A320 and A319
    MUC double daily, A319 and E95

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  32. If Air Serbia dont drop the price of tickets it will bankrupt

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    1. No way Sinsisa Mali is coming to it's rescue.

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    2. No way Sinsisa Mali is coming to it's rescue

      or

      No way, Sinsisa Mali is coming to it's rescue.

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  33. Ex-yu, you forgot to mention that LH would fly two times daily from MUC instead of 13 weekly. Moreover, Air Cairo is planning to operate five times weekly instead of four during the peak summer season.

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    1. Seems like Egypt is getting back in the game. I wonder if we might see more flights to the Red Sea resorts.

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    2. Turkey as well. This January Antalya and Izmir recorded 16% and 22% passenger growth. A lot of Europeans are returning to Turkish resorts.

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  34. I expect JU to launch 1pw BKK charters for the next winter season. They are already set with a widebody sitting for two consecutive days from September through May.

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  35. Oh dear! This could spell trouble for Air Serbia...
    http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/leaked-twelve-air-serbia-pilots-flew-unvetted-in-2017-02-09-2018

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    1. You can only hope.

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    2. the article is such bull crap that I don't even know where to begin. and ps I'm no air serbia fan.

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