Chicago flights cancelled!

Air Plus cancels inaugural flight

Despite previous denials that Swift Air wouldn’t cancel its inaugural flight from Chicago to Belgrade via Zagreb, it indeed did so last night, leaving 221 passengers stranded at Rockford Airport. According to one EX-YU aviation news visitor who was at the scene, the operator told passengers the flight was cancelled as the Federal Aviation Administartion (FAA) did not allow the aircraft to depart. Passengers were informed of this after 21.00 local time when the flight was scheduled to leave. Air Plus, the tour operator behind the service, said all planned flights, which were to run until mid September, have been cancelled. "We are all shocked with these circumstances, and will do our best to refund all funds to passengers as soon as possible to allow them to still book their flights on other airlines", Air Plus said on its website.

The Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate said it had not been notified as to why the flight was cancelled. It was supposed to be welcomed at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport by the authority of the City of Belgrade, the Ministry for Infrastructure and the Ambassador of the United States in Serbia. Amongst the passengers on the cancelled Swift Air flight was the Consulate General of Serbia in Chicago as well as the local authorities from the City of Chicago.

Only 2 days ago Zagreb Airport CEO, Tonči Peović, said the inaugural would be cancelled and moved by a week which led to vehement denials by Air Plus, the tour operator organising the service. Today, after 19 years, flights from Chicago to Belgrade and Zagreb were to resume. It seems that potential passengers will now have to wait a while longer until flights to the United States resume.

This post will be updated when more news comes to light.


  1. This feels like being in a Big Brother show with him screwing with my head....what can seriously go so wrong on the night of the flight, wtf ?

  2. Anonymous09:04

    ??? what kind of freaking company are they. and they are surprised that nobody wants to fly with them. cancel a flight right in front of people's noses, and not giving any info about when it might take off. excuse is "not having a valid licence".right! shame on you both air swift and air plus.

  3. Hi Alex.

    Hope it was worth it to take the train 7 hour to get stranded to save $70


  4. FlyingJack09:36

    It's a shame that this has happened and apparently information from the other day was not a hoax by ZAG's aiprort GM.

    Most of the things on this topic I have said in my post two days ago and have nothing to add, except to underline following:

    Due to so much ignorance invested into this business and lack of professionalism in its execution, any similar project in future is discouraged. Very sad. I'm more convinced that behind this amateurism is standing LH in an attepmet to remove any potential player on the market.

  5. @FlyingJack

    The Balkans is such a tiny market as far as LH is concerned that it's more than laughable to even suggest that it stands behind this venture. Really?

  6. Prvo, upravo smo zakljucili da je Doot najveci imbecil od svih ljudi.
    Drugo, predlazem da mu se ukine mogucnost pristupa blogu sa IP adrese sa koje je najcesce posecivao blog.
    Trece, Aleks verovatno prezivljava opsti haos, obzirom da nije putovao sam, vec sa celom svojom porodicom. Cekamo da vidimo sta je bilo i znaju li oni odande vise.

    Doot, opet, treba da te bude sramota.

    I da, naravno, ne mogu da verujem da su otkazali let samo nekoliko sati pred samo poletanje. No comment.

  7. Anonymous10:12

    Shame. I didn't look very professional to begin with, but still, leaving passengers stranded just before the departure is too much.


  8. Anonymous10:13

    as I said before, i will never use this air swift or air one, i dont even know the name of this airliner. To repeat once again: no, i will not leave alitalia to my US flights, except JAT starts to fly there...

  9. Anonymous10:23


    Lmao! No I got driven, there were a lot of people from Cleveland, Indianapolis, And more places I will explain eventually. You need to shut it.

    Ok so they told us the flights could not leave without FAA license. I talked to the pilot, and he said they would not let him board passengers, and he was sitting on the airplane. We were waiting, all 200+ passengers, Now we are at hotel waiting for free rooms and should be sent on other flights shortly! I will post more when can.

    Ok well now I am in hotel, I can say people were LIVID. everyone was pissed, nobody can sleep. I have video I will post on youtube, all of this is unbelievable. The plane was there, we were about to board, 3 hours we were waiting to go and they said at the end ( a lot of reps came up and some ppl) that it cannot happen. It has been a chaotic night, I cannot explain in words. The horror on everyones faces when we found out we couldnt go, the crying and whaling and yelling. At the end, we went downstairs where the luggage machine was getting Beograd ppls luggage out there and Zagreb luggage was somewhere else. Everyone went to reps to give them their infomation (names and phone numbers) , and should contact us today or tomorrow to see about getting us on new flights. Anyways it is alright as i had grandma, brother, gpa who drove us, and 2 friends from cleveland and their familY! There was a lot of people from Cleveland as well, I cannot believe this.

    The airport, Air Plus , and passengers especially wanted this to happen. But the FAA would not let them leave! Any questions people, I will answer..? (soon )

  10. Peter from Sydney10:23

    According to the photos on their Facebook page and Flightaware, everything was a go go for the flight. What happened!? DODGY!

  11. Peter from Sydney10:26

    People with some knowledge of US aviation, what concerns would the FAA have had to not let them leave?

  12. JU500,

    Why should I be ashamed, exactly?

    For stating the obvious?

    I don't know about you, but I'm not ashamed to state the obvious.

    I'd say sorry that my stating the obvious bothers you, but it doesn't.

  13. Anonymous10:32

    Exactly! We are trying to get sleep, and tomorrow a lot of us passengers will be talking. We cannot believe this. We went through security, everything was PERFECT to the notch, Rockford airport is seriously amazing. And the plane is there, we were getting ready to bored, sitting in seat... 9 oclock passed... they said on announcments a 15 minute delay.. they said it a few times till they stopped, and then said it was cancelled!

    They said FAA decided to cancel the flight and will not let them fly to Zagreb or Beograd. WTF!? How can they do that. 200 + passengers, one is visiting her dad who is dying , many just wanna go to their homeland (like me ) ! SO many elders , kids, and everyone who cried when we found out. COME ON ! AMERICA REALLY!?

  14. Anonymous10:33


    it is not obvious. i did not take a train, ok stop making up shit. opusti se bre i odjebi mi se.. tnx:) plus my ticket cost 99 $ since i won, and now i will be flying prbbly with Lufthansa, which is like 1400 ... so i profited ;P :D

  15. Anonymous10:37

    And the flight got CANCELLED like forever, all flights!

    Man it was nice, Serbs Croats and Bosnians socializing, chilling .. talking, about to fly but.. bla :PP

  16. Anonymous10:39

    here's some conspiracy theory for all ...

    what do you think about the LDZA-Croatian government-US embassy-Houston Airport System lobby and their plans to invest into LDZA's airport + open the US-Balkan direct routes ?
    Swift air was in the way, but used them to promote the idea of direc flights that are "soon to come..." is this too crazy ? Am I crazy ? :)

  17. Aleks.

    I mean in general. Obviously JU500's pissed because of other posts I've made and all I really do around here or anywhere is state the obvious.

    In sincerity, I do empathize for your troubles. I'm not indulging in any kind of schadenfreude, just joking around. I hope you make it safely.

  18. Anonymous10:43

    Thanks doot, I just do not like what you type sometimes lol it seems to be mean but whatev.

    A close person from the airline told me they spent 8 million dollars getting ready for the flight and refurbishing the plane, and alone from todays cancellation will loose around 30 million dollars

  19. Macedon10:50

    Only in Serbia...

  20. @Macedon - based on the publicly available information, how can you relate this to Serbia ?

  21. FlyingJack11:04

    @ VIsit Kosovo

    I wouldn't say that we are a tiny and insignificant market for LH. Each dwarfish ex-yu country is a tiny market, but the whole territory isn't. Don't forget that JU at its peak had daily NYC flights, 5 times p/w to ORD, plus LAX plus charters to several other US destinations. And that was over 20 years ago. Today, even larger ethnic diaspora lives there, due to migrations that occured meanwhile. That is to say larger customer base for any carrier.

    From the marketing aspect it was important for these flights to finally commence, both to BEG and ZAG even if the airports were asked to subsidize them.

    Marketing is a miracle. 250 satisfied customers today makes much more tomorrow. 1 weekly flight this season could turn into 3 to 4 weekly the next season plus flights from other points of the North American territory. And that is the serious threat to any competition. In this case LH as the largest carrier in the area.
    Imagine 1000+ passengers on their airplines less each week?
    Insignificant? hugh?

    This unprofessional attempet will seal any future similar attempts, while we're unable to attract other serious carriers LH as the dominant carrier would be in position to do whatever they want in future.
    And believe me they do fight over every passenger, after all they've layed their hands over each ex yu market and either directly or indirectly instruct national carriers who have been turned into LH feeders.
    Speaking of it should I remind you on what happened to JU's flights to Hamburg couple of years ago and interline agreement with Emirates for NYC flights? Who ordered them to be cancelled despite amazing loads and benefits? Correct LH

    These were just some of my points why do I suspect that obstructions have been instructed by someone and in this particular case LH as the major operator on the market

  22. maybe the poor Swift forgot to obtain certain paperwork without even realizing it :)

    Sounds possible as they had never flown over to Europe and perhaps the regulations/rules are different in a sense that instead of 20 different licences you need 15 that are identical, but 10 others that are relevant to where you're going..

    Babbling but you get the point... big airlines have know-how, these guys might have missed something.

    But if you are FAA, woudn't you tell an airline that at least days PRIOR to the flight ?


  23. Doot

    i dalje se pravis lud? Blesav? Ne razumem te, zaista.
    Dakle, citiram - "Hope it was worth it to take the train 7 hour to get stranded to save $70". Je l' ti stvarno nije jasno sta mi smeta u tvom zajedljivom komentaru?!
    Ne, sopstvene frustracije nikad ne bih lecio na nacin na koji ti to radis. Nemam nista od toga. Sve na tebi ostaje. Ne daj Boze da se potresam zbog tvojih komentara koji su vezani direktno za avijaciju. Ali, kada je pitanje ljudskosti, e tad mi to i te kako zasmeta. Bas kao i tvoj citirani komentar.
    U ostalom, nije ni vazno. ;)

  24. well.

    I think it's crazy to buy a flight from some shifty charter and it turns out that I'm right.

    How does this have nothing to do with aviation?

    If you have any other 'obvious' that requires explaining, I'm happy to help.

    Love, Doot

  25. Anonymous11:46

    Why all of the sudden it's Doot's fault that an airline LIED to its passengers 12 hours prior to departure , made them come to the airport and left them waiting for more than 10 hours there?

  26. unbelievable. This morning I posted on their FB page asking what happened and the admin DELETED my post !!!

    Unbelievable. they are either retarded or someone is sabotaging them beyond what we can imagine.

    Interesting - the just published that "croats are disinerested in a flight" so it got cancelled.

  27. if sabotaged, they are probably too crazy to handle the situation now...

  28. @FlyingJack

    Assume for a moment that you are correct – although I simply don’t buy it - with regards to the number of passengers LH would lose if these flights were successful: 1,000 passengers per week. That's approx. 52,000 passengers per year. Let's be super generous and say 60,000 passengers a year.

    LH, excluding Germanwings and Brussels Airlines, flew 90 million passengers last year. Not that you're stupid, but that's 90,000,000 passengers. Please do not tell me that 60,000 is not an insignificant number next to 90,000,000. I have eyes, I can see the figures: 0.06% of their annual passenger numbers. In the real world, that’s insignificant.

    Looking at cold figures, facts, there is no argument here.

    Prishtina (and Tirana) had direct flights to JFK for two consecutive years and all the scheduled flights materialised. However, the companies behind these flights realised that there is no money to be made selling 1,000 USD for a return flight for 3-4 months a year. This venture is trying to do the same thing. Sell 1,000 USD (even 99 USD if some people in this forum are to be believed) with 1-2 weekly flights for 3 months (until September).

    As if LH has nothing else to worry about. If ex-YU was a significant global market for them they would have taken over JAT, Croatia and Adria by now and flown the Chicago/New York/Toronto/whatever route directly themselves. Why haven't they? Now, that does not mean that they don't want to pick as many passengers as they can from their 'courtyard' but to say that they would go as far as to stand behind a seemingly unprofessional venture in the US is delusional. It is. Sure, they will send their airplanes to BEG, ZAG and other airports in the Balkans because there is money to be made, but that doesn't imply that any airline flying to these airports is a serious enough threat for them to start conspiring against BEG and ZAG air passengers (to scare them off).

    You are wrong in so many ways; I could write a Ph.D. thesis detailing all logical counter-arguments. But I will say this: the 'real' money is made out of business travellers. This airline and this venture offers/ed nothing, a big nothing: no air lounge, no loyalty program, no on-board product that would attract a single semi-self-respecting business traveller.

    If you have any hard evidence, real proof, to the contrary please get in touch. Otherwise, I could start arguing that Aeroflot really stands behind this 'plot' because they don't want Serbs and Croats to be connected to the States because Balkans is a strategic region of air travel to them. Bllah-bllah-bllah... need I say more?

    @ Doot

    You have some very good points. Your philosophy is that you’d rather pay 100 USD more and know what you're getting. I can relate to that and it's the strongest point one could make. But it needs to be done with a bit of finesse, not be seen to celebrate others' misfortune/stupidity/misery. Otherwise, you'll be attacked left, right and centre.

    I don't know what it is, but the 'I told you so' argument is just simply not acceptable in these modern times. Having set that, you're on the money.

  29. So we had Zagreb and Belgrade approval but never FAA approval for these flights. This could most probably also explain the first delay. I wonder if Air Plus was hoping that the FAA would have a last minute change of heart and kept this from its passengers.

    So the question is why world the FAA not approve of this charter?

  30. Anonymous13:04

    LOL, bilo je i za ocekivat ovako nesto nakon toliko promjena i zavrzlama oko ovoga...

  31. @ VisitKosovo

    I basically agree with you, but your figures are odd. Where did you get 1000 passengers a week? LH group has 66 weekly flights from BEG alone (17 to VIE, 14 to ZRH, 21 to MUC and 14 to FRA) not including code share flights. If 1000 passengers is what is expected to be flown every week to the USA on those charter flights (which doesn't add up considering the frequency and a/c type), then it should have been compared to the number of passengers LH group flies annually to the USA.

  32. Anonymous13:18

    What kind of airline requests AOC license hours before the actual revenue flight?!

  33. Anonymous13:44

    From the web site:

    "15 minutes before departure with all passengers already checked and all of the luggage stored into aircraft, we received information that Swift Air will not be able to operate our flight due to FAA decision beyond our control. We are still trying to find out details for abrupt stop of our operation. As of current, all flights are canceled, and all passenger funds will be refunded starting Monday 10 AM. We are currently waiting for official announcement by Swift Air in order to understand the actual reasons of this abrupt stop of our operations. We will inform public with official statement when we receive more details from our Direct Operating Carrier. Until then Air Plus will work with 221 stranded passengers and protect their rights. We are all shocked with these circumstances, and will do our best to refund all funds to passengers as soon as possible to allow them to still book their flights on other airlines. "

  34. Anonymous14:42

    I wonder if the lack of air space agreement between Serbia and U.S has anything to do with this. I thought it had something to do with the national carrier being able or not able to establish flights to U.S. Croatia received category I this winter/spring.
    So FAA decided that this route was "illegal" ... ?

    Even if so, this is crazy.

  35. Purger14:53

    Let me repeat my post from at least one month.

    That was dilettantism in first place:

    1. Too late with sale and promotion of line. Most potential passenger already bought ticket with some other carrier. For sure if you travel so far you don't wait till one month in advance.

    2. The promote line and no one even know where to buy ticket (Kompas in Zagreb, for instance, told me that they don't have any information about it, and they for sure would have to know first).

    3. Internet page was still unfinished on day of starting booking, very simple, with no information, e-booking did not work... Even today you can not find this web page if you don't know precise address.

    4. They did not know precise dates and time of flying, even today they change it. They change dates and starting flights for several times.

    Now will anybody in this blog buy ticket for his family and spend some 3.500 EUR for company acting like this? I would not for sure!

    I really travel a lot. Nex week I go with my troop to Taiwan. For sure I will not risk something like that, and I really don't have any understand for the people which did not see that those "businessman" try to steal money...

    FAA did not give promision. For sure it was for reason! They will not do it for nothing. And charter get promision much easier... so that has to be some diletantisam of this suspision company!

  36. Dreamliner15:16

    Alex bro , too funny :)
    did u end up getting some seat on another airline , or not possible at all , i dont think so they will give u $$$$$$$$ back , ..... now someone is laughing all the way to the bank.

  37. FlyingJack15:52

    @ Visit Kosovo

    Well, even though we disagree in many points, I consider the conversation constructive.

    Let's start with the figures: Comparing share of potential passengers to overall LH figures is ridiculous. Makes more sense if compared to overall number of passengers flown out of BEG by LH, what Lento has mentioned. However, the best traffic data to compare, we would have if BEG/ZAG apts had published passenger figures per their final destination.

    Secondly, several times I've mentioned that market potential do exist and ORD is a strong customer base. One weekly flight full of leisure travelers can hardly make a profit (if any), but as the passenger demand rises, number of frequencies would rise too. With increased frequencies more passengers are attracted including transit ones. And if a regular carrier take over the route in the meantime business travelers are just the addition to the customer base.
    Secondly If someone wanted to start flying BEG/ZAG to Miami or Memphis or whatever destination with lower demand, no one would objected or even try to obstruct, but touching ORD or NYC or YYZ, destinations where most of passengers fly to, that's a threat.
    LH is aware of how things go in business and is removing any attempt of competition on the market. If they were not affected at all with these charters not aiming to see biz passengers why did they slash their fares? Also, why did LH force JU to cancel BEG HAM route couple of years ago?
    Speaking of your statement on buying local airlines, why on earth they would waste money doing that, when it's cheaper to take them all from within and smoothly take over the market by turning them into local feeders only. What happened to OU lately? Was their former CEO an open LH guy within, receiving instructions how to lead the airline directly from LH? JU also has a very strong LH current inside.
    After all I think there is a silent division of the market, first between air alliances and secondly within alliances themselves. Sky team members have no interest to strengthen their position here, focusing on OD traffic and some of the transit passengers, leaving Star alliance led by LH to take major presence here. Within Star Alliance this market is further divided between LH/OS/LX who are taking passengers flying to USA and Canada and TK taking passengers flying to Asia Africa and Australia

    Speaking of the benefits (miles, lounges etc) a passenger can get when travelling with regular carriers, I have to say that things have changed a lot in the recent times. Benefits are not what they used to be.
    Let’s start with the mileage programs many airlines offer. In most of them you get free tickets after certain miles were flown, but still you have to pay all the taxes and surcharges when applying for a prize ticket. These include not airport taxes only but fuel surcharges, various government taxes, or departing taxes just like it is in Germany. If you want to use your miles to get yourself free ticket from BEG to LON for instance on Star alliance, you would have to pay roughly 180 € per ticket. An amount that is higher than the average return ticket on a l/c. It's similar with Sky Team on BEG FCO route for instance. Taxes and surcharges are roughly 130 € which is again more expensive than an average return ticket of a l/c carrier. If you use your miles to get an upgrade to a business class you have to purchase full economy fare which is again bit pricy. And tell me what's the benefit you get that way? Loyalty programs will have to see significant changes in future in order to keep passengers.
    Speaking of business travelers I agree that they are key customers but in terms of regularity, not as passengers who fly in business class inevitably.

  38. FlyingJack16:03

    @ex yu aviation

    My last comment to the topic and reply to Visit Kosovo was deleted. May I know the reason?

  39. Ivan16:08

    so all summer flight are cancelled or? thnx

  40. Anonymous16:38

    @ Dreamliner,

    no bro. they are giving us our money back 100%, nobody is laughing dumbass did you hear? EVERYONE wanted this to happen, AirPlus, Rockford, Zagreb, Beograd , and all the passengers. the FAA did not allow them to leave, i talked to many airport officials, pax, and the pilot and captain of the flight.

    they are saying they will also optionally i believe find us routes somewhere to make a stop.

  41. Anonymous16:39

    @ Ivan, yes they are.......... cancelled for all summer from now.

  42. @Flyingjack: Blogspot thought your comment was spam for some reason and automatically deleted it. I have retrieved it. Thanks for the heads up.

  43. Ivan16:54

    @ Mr. Nikolic Thank you for your reply. ok i guess my girlfriend will have to find 2500$ + flight to croatia this summer. i wonder who is responsible for this!

  44. FlyingJack17:05

    @ Ex yu aviation

    Thank you for the prompt response. Maybe the text length was the cause, I'll try my posts to keep shorter in future.

    But maybe you should also consider upgrading this blog to a forum or similar as it is receving more and more posts lately.

    Also congrats on really easy to navigate mobile application realised couple of days ago

  45. Anonymous17:14

    I don't believe that the airline didn't receive a reason of why the FAA revoked the flight plan or it was not issued in the first place? FAA is not the InformBiro to give an order and not to say why. The airline is hiding something.

  46. Anonymous18:10

    i'm sry for all passenger. But as i said like a month before, and all of you people makes me an "Asshole", i said: What is something goes wrong with this charter?

    poeple from Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis etc. spent some aditional money to get to Chicago, and maybe Air Plus (swift air or somebody else) will return the money for the flight, but who will return those aditional money? and one more question: if this pepole realy what to travel to ZAG-BEG for the same money they cant find tickets now, maybe for sept. but not Jun/Jul.
    2 years ago i was flying JFK-DTW, with NWA (now Delta), Because of bad Waether My flight was canceld. NWA offers me a night in a hotel at JFK, and First class seat for the next morning. so they didn't return my money, and also they spent like a 1000$ more for me. So if Air plus give other tickets to the pax, or return the money plus add.1000$ then everything will be OK. But not now.
    One advice to all of you: Never take anything new. not even a new model of iPhone:) just try to wait some time to see if everything with that "NEW" thing is ok.

    Again i'm rely sry for all passengers, ecpetialy for those who live in other places tha Chicago.

  47. Anonymous18:23

    I am reading all of your comments and still cant believe!!
    It is not such a tragedy if there arent direct flights this summer.

    @Aleks Nikolic
    I have read your scary description of the stranded passengers at the airport.For a while I thought it is the beginnenig of the 3rd World War!!

    C'mon we will survive this shock:-)

  48. Anonymous18:51

    it's not the end of the world, but it's almost as bad. this will look bad and I doubt any airline anytime soon will even consider starting flights.

    We may be looking at 2014 or even later, or who knows...
    Damn Lufthansa, damn FAA, damn Swift, damn with it all... :(

  49. I am so disappointed too and feel bad for those poor people who took vacation from work and are now stranded with no option to continue. There are no other flights from Rockford to put them on to continue their journey and probably not that much money to buy an alternative ticket either. Not sure whose fault it is, but I can say it's not professional at all. I guess people won't really have trust into any similar future charter flights and it might take some time before we see similar attempts.

  50. @Lento

    Where did I get 1,000 passengers a week? It was not my figure, it was FlyingJack's figure.

    I thought that was me being generous because you have a weekly flight on an aircraft that seats 235 pax. So, instead of a maximum of 470 pax per week (I do not recall an airline with 100% PLF, do you?) for approx. 17 weeks -- that's 7,990 pax to be precise -- I was super generous and I presumed that the 1,000 pax per week for a whole year was correct. I even went further (you see where this is going) and topped up the figure to 60,000 pax per year. I increased the number of pax this venture could fly by over 7 fold and I was still able to show that these figures are "a tiny market as far as LH is concerned" (see my original post).

    In summary, if this venture was over 100% sold out it would have had 8,000 pax in a high season, i.e. summer. To think that LH would be seriously worried by this 'threat' as to intentionally sabotage it (within US) it's, in my opinion, delusional.

    Looking at anything further than the 8,000 pax for the summer season enters the fictional department as far as I am concerned. The competition would have had to get everything right, not just in terms of happy pax but also in terms of making a profit. I am not even touching on the winter season challenges.

    LH has 221 destinations. ZAG and BEG are only 2 out of 221 destinations (less than 1%). To even begin to think that LH would go to the length of setting up a failed venture to scare the competition off less than 1% of their destinations would mean that LH would have over 100 such ongoing 'operations' every single year.

    But since we live in the Balkans, we are so self-centred and, yes, delusional that we can think such fantasies are real. I am surprised we have not won more Nobel Prices for literature.

  51. @FlyingJack

    I do have to commend you for the constructive discussion so far. I am genuinely trying to have a constructive discussion and I apologise in advance if I push things too far at times. However, my intentions are to simply argue the opposite view.

    Now, I was hoping you would see my point and I would not have to spell out everything for you. I said that the Balkans is a tiny market as far as LH is concerned. Can you not agree to this point?
    I compared the (made up) figures that you provided with the real figures of LH for 2010. What I am trying to open your mind to is the fact that if you’re a LH executive you will look at LH figures. I am sorry to say, but I don’t think LH executives look at and make decisions based on the Balkans figures. There is a bigger picture. Certainly, they will not make decisions to set up failed ventures in the US solely to discourage pax from using different airlines to fly to 2 out of their 221 global destinations. It’s absurd. If they did that for every 1% of their destinations they would do nothing else but coordinate failed ventures all over the globe to prevent potential competition. Can you really not see this?

    This does not mean that they will not fight competition (reduce prices etc.), but suggesting that they would go as far as to set up failed ventures is silly.

    I see no point in discussing the potential of a market that has not existed for over 20 years now and when it comes to loyalty programs I’d rather pay just taxes and fees on a flight than the full fare which is always by definition higher than just the fees.

    If you have any proof about LH standing behind this then please get in touch, otherwise I see no point in discussing further theories with no solid grounds.

  52. Anonymous21:44

    I would not fly them anyway..ever!
    FAA have had to not let them leave?
    Is something really wrong with them then..

  53. Anonymous21:53

    Where is official info that Swift Air planes are grounded by FAA? Couldnt find one, so am not sure, could anyone point me where to find it?

  54. Anonymous21:59

    Lol, now we can expect the theory that even the FAA is against the flights and is doing all they can to prevent them from happening! :) first the agencies did, then the carriers and now FAA? Who is next to be blamed?????

  55. Anonymous00:12

    Got an info on what happened from FO from Swift Air.

    The morning before the flight Swift gave the fuel bill for the flight after the wet lease was payed. Air Plus refused to pay as they thought the fuel was included in the wet lease. As this is never the case, the did the math to discover if they pay the fuel they will loose money on the flight.

    The canceled the following flights as none seemed to be profitable even at 100% load factor at that price.

  56. Anonymous00:12

    UPDATE: many people are being put on Lufthansa flights to Belgrade from Chicago. Including me.

    @ Ivan 4:54 pm,

    No, everyone is being contacted and getting places on flights. I am leaving tomorrow from Chicago to Frankfurt and then to Beograd. Everyone will soon be placed. Many people just left the hotel, and also many payed money for a flight!! They will give all of us free hotels and flights for now.

    @ Anonymous,

    haha! You cannot compare a scheduled airline (NWA or Delta) with a charter airline!

    @ Anonymous at 6:51,

    you are so right! THey put me and MANY other passengers on flights through Frankfurt and Munich with Lufthansa! Also one person I believe is flying through Paris to Zagreb.

  57. Anonymous00:14

    Last anonymous, where did you hear this?

  58. Anonymous01:14

    @ Aleks

    i not coparing Delta with Swift, in just talking about professionalism. And if they realy take care for the passengers as you're saing, that is good. Thats professionalism.

    and one more thing aleks. im notsure for USA, but in some EU contries, if you whan to get a license for a Airline company (scheduled or charter is the same) you must have enough money to cover all cost for at least 3 monts flying with no one on board. so with enough money for 3 monts you can take care of everything, no mather what's going wrong. That's bussines.

    but as i said if they take care for all pass. that's good.

    have a nice trip to BEG aleks, and next time when you whant to take something New just for a moment think on my advice.

  59. Anonymous03:44

    dam on those politicians who destroyed Yugoslavia we had everything,

  60. Anonymous09:46

    ...we had everything that was paid just by Slovenia and Croatia...

  61. Anonymous09:55


    As reported by CNN, "FAA license was revoked due to security threat of Croats and Serbs traveling in the same plane over the Atlantic. These speculations have been initiated by intolerance expressed at discussion forum.
    This is just one of the conspiracy theories that seems more likely than LH obstruction."

  62. @ Anonymous above,

    Very clever and a very funny comment! (you had me shaking my head before I realised it was a joke)

    Re' the Anonymous -

    'The morning before the flight Swift gave the fuel bill for the flight after the wet lease was payed. Air Plus refused to pay as they thought the fuel was included in the wet lease. As this is never the case, the did the math to discover if they pay the fuel they will loose money on the flight.'

    How reliable is you source? If this is true then this is just hopeless, very shameful and stupid by AirPlus canceling the remainder of the flights. It would have been better for them to continue with increased ticket prices for the remainder of the season then to open the selves up to possible legal action from swift air and others.

  63. Purger11:07

    Alex Nikolic 4:38 PM
    they are giving us our money back 100%,

    Aleks Nikolic 12:12 AM next day

    everyone is being contacted and getting places on flights. I am leaving tomorrow from Chicago to Frankfurt and then to Beograd. Everyone will soon be placed.

    So is it money back or new plane tickets?

  64. @ VisitKosovo

    Thanks for the clarification. As I said, I do agree with you, it's just that the initial comparison was strange, as it wasn't clear what 1000 pax was.

    As for LH, in spite of the fact that the passenger numbers from the Balkans make just a tiny portion of their total numbers, LH is "chasing" every penny it can get, even to the point of bending the rules. had this unfortunate project succeeded, I guess we would have seen LH's reaction pretty soon.

  65. Anonymous16:51

    @ Anonymous

    You are right, in that case AirPlus is professional, and according to them the FAA is to blame, grrrr.

    Thank you, but I like taking new stuff haha. I am very flexible, and relaxed. All in all, we are all safe. It was just like a miracle, all of us from Yugoslavia flying together almost, at the gate- Serbs, Croats, Bosnians.

    @ Purger,

    either... when everyone was screaming at them at the gate, i told everyone to settle down and asked the people at the desk we have a right to get all of our money back if we choose, BUT each and every passenger is to be put on another flight to their destination with a connecting city. the main person for the airport agreed.... so they called/ are calling each and every passenger, and most are taking the connecting flights as Air Plus is letting us choose when and adjust most of our schedule. I believe you can get a full refund if asked for. Everyone just wants to go!

  66. Anonymous17:41

    @ Anonymous 9:55 am,

    No, this is not possible as at the airport, Serbs Croats and Muslims we were all getting together, talking, our kids playing together. it was a miracle, I was so glad to see, I could not express my emotion, I was smiling a lot then ahahah. jebiga bre. shit happens :/

  67. Anonymous18:12

    Why in the 21st century it is considered a miracle when Serbs, Bosnians and Croats talk to each other?

  68. Nick Name19:17

    Lets all wait until Monday and call the FAA or check the enforcement actions section on their web site when it is updated, then you will know who is telling the truth. On Friday night they just fined United for a few hundred thousand dollars.

    If there was an enforcement action it will be posted.

    If it is not posted then someone is trying to blame the FAA.

    A few years ago I was part of a team that was looking in to getting into the long haul charter business in the region. After crunching the number we came to the conclusion that you have to build up your market for a few years and take losses until you can start to make a profit. Our investors who just wanted to make a quick buck decided to pull out.

    I would have liked to see it succeed but I can't lie and tell them they would make money when I knew they would lose. I suspect someone figured out too late that they will be losing money and decided to pull the plug and blame the FAA.
    If it really was the FAA and paperwork, it makes you wonder if they were over their heads in this project by not having everything in place before starting to sell the tickets.

    After 25 years in the aviation industry I am not surprised to see this type of fiasco Hamelin over and over again.

    The whole truth will come out in a few weeks or in the courts.

  69. Anonymous19:38

    @ Nick

    i agree with you, we dont know yet if it's FAA fault so we cant blame them for now.

    i also agree with you in the money part, and as i said in my previous post for EU. for a license companies need to have money for flying 3 months with 0 pass (except govmerment owned) and then if they earn money they'll continue flying, otherwise they will lose or the other invested money. So people need to understand that aviation bussines is not selling popcorn:) big players know that but small players think that with 1-2 m$ can lease a plane make couple charters and earn 10 m$.

  70. Nick Name01:50

    The answer from Swift:

    June 18, 2011
    Swift Air was presented information by the FAA concerning training requirements that we are currently reviewing. During this process, Swift Air management decided that voluntary suspension was in the best interest of our customers and Swift. Even though the FAA had previously approved the training manuals, Swift Air will continue to answer, address and satisfy by internal review, the questions that have been raised by the FAA and fully comply with the inquiry.

    Contrary to any other reports, this measure was initiated by Swift Air Management. Swift Air will be delivering updated manuals to the FAA on Monday June 20, 2011. While we are confident this situation will be resolved soon, a timetable is not currently available. We sincerely regret any inconvenience to our clients affected by this action.

    For AirPlus passengers affected during this review, please contact AirPlus directly at or 877.849.5002

  71. Anonymous04:56

    Swift Air Operations
    June 18, 2011

    Swift Air was presented information by the FAA concerning training requirements that we are currently reviewing. During this process, Swift Air management decided that voluntary suspension was in the best interest of our customers and Swift. Even though the FAA had previously approved the training manuals, Swift Air will continue to answer, address and satisfy by internal review, the questions that have been raised by the FAA and fully comply with the inquiry.

    Contrary to any other reports, this measure was initiated by Swift Air Management. Swift Air will be delivering updated manuals to the FAA on Monday June 20, 2011. While we are confident this situation will be resolved soon, a timetable is not currently available. We sincerely regret any inconvenience to our clients affected by this action.

  72. This is what I found online just now:

    "In October 2009, Swift Aviation was reported to be under investigation by the FAA and OSHA for safety and maintenance issues. Employees claimed they were told to lie to NTSB investigators over an incident of a nose-gear collapsing in 2008. OSHA had asked Swift Aviation to take care of a ground equipment issue involving a broken truck latch, which they did. The investigation was re-opened a week later with OSHA declining to comment as to why. The FAA declined to comment while the investigation was under way. Swift Aviation's Vice President denied that employees were directed to lie to investigators.
    On June 17, 2011, Swift Air voluntarily suspended their Part 121 operations pending an inquiry by the FAA."

  73. Hey, let's look it the bright side: Rockford (i.e Chicago) "International" Airport still belives the flight happened...this is on their front page today (no joke!)
    AirPlus's first flight from Chicago Rockford to Zagreb and Belgrade is on schedule to depart RFD at 9 p.m. Friday, June 17! First return flight arrives at RFD Sunday at 3:30 p.m

  74. hey guys, has anyone read this yet ?

    I thought that category II means that a national carrier of a country that is being classified II isn't allowed to fly. Didn't think it involves a U.S. based airline/charter etc.

    Also, the comment about security on board, wtf ? really ? would you agree ?and are we really so rotten to the point of needing security ?
    if so, shameful.
    Maybe it's just Nacional. tabloidish newspaper in Croatia, sometimes they overexaggerate.
    Hey Alex, you had mentioned the atmosphere being good among passengers ... right?

  75. Anonymous19:14

    hahahahah Nothing But Bullshit....
    love it.......

  76. The article from the Nacional looks ridiculous. They obviously have no knowledge about the aviation industry. What's even more sad, many people will believe the story.

  77. News about the actual reason the flight did not go ahead will be published tomorrow on the blog.


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