British Airways dumps Belgrade

Bye bye Belgrade
After a decade of continual service, British Airways will cancel its daily flights from London Heathrow to Belgrade on November 30. In a press release issued by the airline yesterday, it says that British Airways can no longer operate the service because it is unprofitable. “We thank all passengers that have flown with us and have shown their support”, the press release reads. All passengers that have bought tickets for travel after November 30 will be given alternative arrangements.

So what went wrong? In the past several months British Airways has been struggling against its direct competitor on the route – Jat Airways. Jat operates daily flights to Heathrow and has managed to lure away British Airways’ main customer base on the route – transit passengers. Thanks to a new agreement with the Dutch KLM, Jat has managed to pinch away transit passengers to the United States and Canada from other airlines (primarily British Airways) and re-route them via Amsterdam. This August, Jat carried over 7.000 passengers on the Belgrade – London – Belgrade route. Its average cabin load factor stood at an impressive 82%, with an average of 110 passengers per flight. The route was made more successful by the fact that there were a significant number of business class passengers. Furthermore, the national carrier of the United Kingdom was hit by low cost competition from Wizz Air, which operates flights from London Luton.

British Airways is not the only airline bidding farewell to Belgrade this winter. It joins Greece’s Aegean Airlines which will end services soon. For the first time in almost a decade Jat will have no competition on the London Heathrow or Athens route. Latvia’s airBaltic will terminate its services from Riga to Belgrade this winter as well.

Meanwhile, without much fuss and advertising, Turkish airline Borajet launched two weekly flights between Turkey’s fourth largest city, Bursa, and Skopje on Thursday. The airline operates exclusively within Turkey with Skopje being its first international destination. All flight details can be found here.


  1. Anonymous09:49

    Jesus Christ... This was unexpected. I always thought that Jat would lose on this route.
    Even if it will be hard to believe that there will be no British Airways in Belgrade I am happy that Jat will step in and take over the LHR passengers.

  2. Anonymous10:10

    This is bad news for reputation of BEG :/

  3. Peter from Sydney10:59

    Will be now see a price rise from Jat on the route, ofcourse!

  4. This LF for Jat Airways is impresive, I hope that they will continue in that direction :)

  5. Anonymous11:31

    I do not think that Jat will raise its prices on the route as Wizzair will surely add more flights.
    In addition to that Jat is turning their transatlantic passengers to Amsterdam these days so most of their passengers are actually O&D.
    At least now they will keep their 9 times a week flights year round.

    I thought that AirBaltic will resume their flights in January after the holidays?

  6. Duchess of Shangay11:39

    Waiting to board BA899 for the last time...

    I will miss them, a lot!

    So long Speedbird!

  7. Just for the sake of clarification, it's the deals JU made with UA and VS that took away BA transit passengers to US/CA on the London route. Those few passengers travelling to the UK other than LON also shifted to JU because of its deal with BD. This way or the other, it's sad to see BA leave BEG (again!). Maybe it'll be back once visas are not required for travel to the UK.

  8. Anonymous12:29

    if EZY is starting to fly to/from BEG, one of destinations will be LON(LGW, LTN or STN) so a good competition for JAT and I am sure that Wizzair will increase their flight, maybe daily, load factor on WZZ flights is very good.

  9. not surprised. they were really expensive, comparing to Jat on that route. it's not unexpected, they've been cutting their routes lately

  10. Jimmy Wang17:38

    I think Easyjet and Ryanair also would connect the major ex-Yu and adriatic towns after Croatia joining to EU by 2011 or earlier 2012.
    The most important europeans LCC always will keep on finding new routes in order to strengthen their own network
    In Europe and in the ex-Yu much more could be done.

  11. Anonymous18:07

    This leaves Belgrade with only 1 oneworld carrier: Malev.

    This makes Belgrade one of the least (if not the least) served oneworld airports in Europe.

  12. JU520 BEGLAX21:55

    I doubt that this is a smart move to pull out of BEG. Belgrade is a future destination with potential and oneworld is left with one single carrier who has no intercontinental routes out of its hub.
    To build up again business traffic once they would return wont be easy, especially having Star Alliance and Skyteam being established quite well.

  13. Anonymous22:17

    Katastrofa za Srbiju, AB Nikola Tesla, a i nas same putnike. Najbolja Veza sa USA je bila upravo ta linija. Nadam se da ce na prolece uvideti gresku i uspostaviti dnevni let ponovo.

  14. Anonymous23:11

    Off topic - I'm surprised that there is still no news published here about the main management 'star' of the region:

  15. Anonymous03:34

    BA should return to SJJ but from Heathrow this time.. As far as I know they had good loadfactors

  16. frequentflyer05:31

    The problem was in fact that the fuel costs for a 734 made the route unprofitable to SJJ.

    Loads aren't everything in the airline industry: you have to make a profit on your service to survive!

    And wasn't JA talking about starting some LON services next year?

  17. JATBEGMEL09:31

    Sad to see BA go. airBatlic is back in a few months time btw. I hope JAT takes the oportunity to increase their flights to LHR, 10 p/w if they have the slots to do so.

    @ Peter from Sydney

    Doesnt mean because BA is gone we will see a price rise. JAT still have competition on O&D pax with Wizz, then there is the possibility of U2 coming to BEG from one of its LON hubs. And it also depends on how JAT fills its flights. All comes down to supply and demand :)

    @ Anonymous

    Како је то катастрофа за Србију? Железница Србија и те пратеће скандале је катастрофа за Србију, а не то што ће Бритиш да обуставља својих летова према Београду. Чујем да Бритиш није била баш и нешто што се трансфера путника према САД тиће, јер је Аеродром Хитроу катастрофа за транзит итд. А овако Бритиш лете до Приштине. Мислим да је ово супер за Србију, с обзиром да ЈАТ имају могућност да повећавају летове према Лондона, што је добро за нашу привреду, с обзиром да ЈАТ запошљава људе из наше земље и да се авионе сервисирају у Србији...

  18. Hmm...interesting. British Airways dumped first LJU, then SJJ and now BEG as well. I guess the only ex YU destination left is DBV or that's seasonal only?

  19. JATBEGMEL12:23

    @ Sam

    no, BA serves PRN:

    Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat:
    BA2682 LGW 1210 PRN 1615 B734 03h05m
    BA2683 PRN 1700 LGW 1905 B734 03h05m

    BA2682 LGW 1320 PRN 1725 B734 03h05m
    BA2683 PRN 1805 LGW 2010 B734 03h05m


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