Qatar’s Belgrade service in doubt

Turkey blocking Qatar Airways’ Belgrade flights
Qatar Airways is reconsidering launching flights to the Serbian capital since Turkey has refused to grant rights for services between Doha and Belgrade to operate via Ankara, a source close to the airline tells EX-YU aviation news. The flights were originally planned to launch in late September, however, they are now in doubt as Turkey does not want to grant fifth freedom rights to the Qatari carrier, which would allow it to sell tickets on the Ankara - Belgrade - Ankara sector. Qatar Airways plans to operate the service four times per week with an Airbus A320. Similarly, the airline operates flights to Zagreb via Budapest but has been given full rights to sell tickets between the two European capitals.

A recent IATA report states that despite the trend towards liberalisation, there remain considerable government restrictions on airline operations to and from Turkey. “Most of the air service agreements to which Turkey is a signatory remain restrictive in nature, with many having limits on capacity, designated airports and, in some cases, approved airlines and pricing”, the report states. Both Croatia and Serbia have had problems with Turkey prior to this year’s summer season when it came to agreeing on frequencies and granting licenses to charter airlines. Last month, Qatar and Serbia signed a Free Skies Agreement, allowing airlines from Qatar to operate as many flights as they wish to Serbia.

Meanwhile, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways, has opened its sales office in the Serbian capital. The Etihad office will cover not only Serbia but also Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro. Jat Airways has a Special Prorate Agreement with the Gulf carrier, selling tickets to Australia in cooperation with Etihad.


  1. frequentflyer09:07

    Easy solution if QR had enough 320 planes in their fleet: decouple ZAG from BUD and make the tag flight through to BEG. Win-win for everyone, direct flights for ZAG (the demand is starting to appear for such flights), and BEG can start daily rather than 4-weekly service!

    Now when will we see Mr Al-Baker announce that QR is getting more 320s to fuel an expansion right throughout the exYU?

  2. But that Ankara-BEG market is completely irrelevant anyways!

    And concerning deliberalised Turkish market - well that is completely reasonable from them, that is what responsible countries tend to do...

  3. Anonymous09:46

    It was more logic to find an EU capital/big city to couple it with BEG. The only chance left maybe is SKG if they ever launch services.

  4. Anonymous09:51

    EY opened office in BEG? As I know they have GSA in Slovakia covering our region. If somebody have a contact please let me know

    1. Anonymous09:55

      Kancelarija predstavništva Etihada za Zapadni Balkan:

      Beograd, ul. Svetog Save 12/I
      Telefon: +381-11-243-50-64

    2. Anonymous09:58

      Knez Mihajlova 30
      3rd Floor
      Telephone +381 11 303 4488 / 4489

  5. Anonymous10:05

    the adress at Knez Mihajlova is Emirates office, Etihad is at Svetog Save 12

  6. JU520 BEGLAX11:51

    do they have own office or a GSA?

  7. Anonymous12:42

    Does this mean that Etihad will begin flights to Belgrade? After all, there was much speculation that Emirates would launch flights to the Balkans and to USA/Canada via Belgrade but nothing materialized due to the global economic crisis. Does this mean that flights from UAE to Belgrade (and possibly continuing to N.America) will begin?

  8. Anonymous12:57

    Hi everyone! I hope that this problem will be solved...:) Anyway here ise the frist Qatar Airways A320 whit sharklets greetings..;)

  9. Anonymous13:14

    Pitty for the most adorable and "ruling" airport in the ex-yu!' If this had been a news from Macedonia, Croatia or Montenegro there would have been thousands of negative and stupid comments..but as it is about BEG we prefer to skip the subject!

    1. Anonymous14:45

      Well the fact that it has the least negative comments on here just goes to prove that Belgrade is indeed the most loved airport in the ex-Yugoslav region.
      Worry not, Qatar will come to Belgrade sooner than later.

    2. Anonymous15:22

      Why would it be negative? Don’t see how BEG is at fault here.

  10. Anonymous14:17

    There is much more potential in ZAG/BUD rather than BEG/ESB. ZAG is much more developed economically than BEG.

    1. Anonymous17:34

      Well said. That is why ZAG has at least twice more airlines serving it than BEG, not talking about infrastructure superiority.

    2. Anonymous18:00

      Or passenger numbers ;)

    3. Anonymous06:12

      I don't know if you people are drunk or high but Zagreb is not more economically developed than Belgrade. Quite the opposite, Belgrade is now competing with Budapest for continental conferences and FDI. Belgrade is not in the same league as other Ex-Yu cities so I don't know what you are talking about

    4. Anonymous10:11

      Budapest????!? I suddenly forgot to laugh. How come you possibly compare Belgrade with Budapest? Not sure who's high or drunk here.

    5. Anonymous22:37

      What's so special about Budapest that there is not in Belgrade? Actually Belgrade is better than Budapest on many levels, starting with the night-life and people in general. Budapest is a sleepy typical central-European city. Belgrade is a different experience and by every mean no worse than Budapest.

    6. Anonymous22:39

      Would like to see where Budapest would be after a decade of wars and isolations.
      Taking everything into account Belgrade is doing great as a city, as a phoenix.

    7. Anonymous13:16

      This is the most lame comment I have EVER read lately. How come you possibly compare Budapest with Belgrade?! Simply cross the Serbo-Hungarian border and it seems you were in Kandahar entering into New York! Budapest is very very well ahead of Belgrade. Period.

    8. Aэrologic02:41

      I think that it is your stupid mind that is lame. For example, you couldn't have read something "ever" and "lately" at the same time, right? That already proves you're stupid. Secondly, i guess you have never been neither to Kandahar or to New York to be able to give that sort of a comparative argument. So better talk about things you know, such as Lajkovac, or Zagreb, maybe Slavonski brod, since you like talking about the borders. Third, which proves your mental disability even further is that (for your information), Belgrade is NOT just across the border to Budapest. Across the border are Subotica and Szeged and i really don't see any stark contrast between the two. So i don't know which cities you had in mind.
      Now for serious people. I have been to Budapest many times and never found it that special. Those who are the most enthralled by Budapest are mostly (1)Serbs that have never been abroad previously, (2)citizens of countries who used to be Austro-Hungarian colonies and who return to their ancient capital (where their master used to be alongside Vienna), and (3)those who traditionally look down and spit on everything that is linked with their national background and who like to overestimate everything foreign.
      I think that Budapest is by far an overrated city and not only by the ignorant provincial Serbs. A friend came from there yesterday and said "that in two days he had enough of the plastic tourism and emptiness" while he is enjoying Belgrade so much better. Among diplomatic circles in Europe, Belgrade is considered as on of the places TO BE at the moment to go on mission. Even if subjective, the comment of the previous person wasn't totally senseless: we would have been able to make a much more accurate comparison if Budapest would have gone through the same hardship as Belgrade did in the past 20 years. Yet, Belgrade still ranks in the top-lists of world-travel magazines where it is featured as one of the best places in the world to visit. Budapest doesn't and so doesn't any other city in the region. Besides, i don't know why it should be self-evident to us that "going to New York" is much better than going to Kandahar. Cause New York is definitely not a place i look forward to visit again, i've nothing special there, it's just the biggest city of a rottening culture/country.
      I guess now you know where to put yourself your "period".

  11. Anonymous17:13

    If it is more developed, why don't you have any wide body action on regular basis? Money talks BS walks..

    It's getting dumb BEG vs ZAG. BEG is heading to double up traffic numbers. They still have to wotk on UK visas because once that is abolished, count on more traffic from UK to BEG.

    1. Anonymous06:22

      Not to mention that so far there were rumors of American Airlines, Etihad, Emirates, Uzbekistan Airlines, Air Canada, and AZAL attempting to launch flights to the N.America via Belgrade. The only thing Zagreb got was a direct flight to the Chicago with a shitty airlines whose ultimate destination was BELGRADE.

      Also don't forget that with Belgrade becoming more well known, more traffic will increase to the city and if the rates don't change, you can bet more flights will occur. Especially if AZAL decides to go to the US via Belgrade. I think that will have more impact than UK visas.

      As for Zagreb, it's not an attractive city/location and I'm sure that in 20 years, Dubrovnik will have more pax and flights than Zagreb.

    2. Anonymous10:13

      You forgot to mention Air Asia launching flights to BEG starting March 2027

  12. Anonymous17:17

    First go to your german brothers and ask them to give you some cash so you can remove that pile of hunk from 1960s. Than invest some cash in a new terminal. YOu are just painting over loftover hunk from the Yugoslav era, but the same time spitting on that time period. What about maksimir stadium? Is that pile of hunk being repainted over and over just like Pleso?

  13. Anonymous18:17

    Nobody should be surprised...
    QR never intended to fly to Belgrade!

    That interview in which Mr Al Baker mentioned
    Belgrade as a future destination was a whole mis-
    understanding/marketing failure of Qatars department of marketing.

    But when it was published it was already too late
    to deny it!
    Qatar would never admit that they did a fault so we got served that lame excuse of Turkey blocking that flights.

    They easily could go nonstop if they "really " wanted to!

    1. Anonymous18:23

      They published Belgrade as a future destination at that major travel expo in Germany months after the CEO made the announcement.

    2. Anonymous12:20

      They did it again just a week ago in Farnborough, and actually, every single press announcement on future destinations had BEG - sometimes specifying Sep 2012, sometimes "unspecified date".

  14. JU520 BEGLAX20:21

    there is rumours inside QR that BEG will get direct flight to DOH and ZAG would be linked via ESB

    1. Anonymous22:15

      But, why would Turkey allow ZAG-ESB, but not BEG-ESB? Both countries have issues with charters to Turkey, both have two airlines serving IST and their capitals, so what's the big difference?

      I'd say de-couple both ZAG and BEG from BUD and ESB and share the plane between the two - three and four weeklies should be more than enough.

    2. Anonymous22:53

      Well Croatia will become a member of the EU so I guess there is greater pressure on Turkey to grant this.

  15. Anonymous20:40

    Today was a terrorist attack on the airport of Burgas in tourists were killed and a lot more are seriously injured!

    Of course this can happen also at Ex Yu airports...

    How are our airports prepared for such a case and do they even bother?!

    1. Roncalli18:29

      They do not even bother!

      People in Balkans are stupid as hell
      and give a s..t about themselves so why should they care about some strangers...

  16. JU520 BEGLAX23:24

    Tourist attack was outside the terminal on a bus... this could happen anywhere and I would say almost impossible to avoid it....

  17. Anonymous01:01

    Poor victims!

    I am disgusted by the people who do something
    like this.

  18. Anonymous06:17

    Please stop comparing Belgrade to Zagreb. Belgrade is becoming the hub of not just Ex-Yu but all of the Balkans. Any social or economic magazine/newspaper will tell you so. Zagreb can be compared to Novi Sad but not Belgrade.

    And for the people that claim Zagreb is more economically developed...please look at the companies based in Belgrade and Zagreb and see the FDI figures for both cities. When you realize you are completely wrong, I advise you to shut up :)

    And for those that claim Zagreb has more pax numbers and flights than Belgrade, the only explanation i can come up with is that you are mentally challenged

  19. Anonymous06:27

    I would like to know why is there even a debate about Zagreb vs Belgrade. Belgrade was always superior and will continue to be superior because of its location and significance. Why are Croats so jealous of Belgrade? It's funny because if Croatia and Serbia were together, they would have so much more FDI, tourism, money, everything!!! It's sad to see investors choosing Bulgaria and Romania ahead of Serbia and Croatia when if they were still together they would be one of the best places to be in Europe. This is just Croatia and Serbia, not to mention the rest of the former Yugoslavia as well.

    The best possible thing that could happen to both is for them to be together and they're not because of some stupid belief that they are soooo different from one another. You're both joining the EU anyway which is essentially like re-creating a Yugoslavia only this one encompasses most of Europe.

    1. Anonymous06:30

      clearly you are not from the region but you are right. united both are stronger and better but that is not going to happen any time soon.

      however the EU-Yugoslavia comparison is truly amazing. both the EU and Yugoslavia are extremely similar. if anything, serbia should be the only country from ex-yu to join the eu since croatia joining it is going against every principle it had for leaving yug. same goes for slovenia, bosnia, and macedonia.

    2. Anonymous09:03

      It is pathetic how Serbs would like "druziti se" with others and nobody wants to.

      Be proud and live of your own work and achievements.

    3. Anonymous09:08

      Please... Belgrade is a bigger city, by 30-40% than Zagreb and hence the reason its figures are dominant. I wouldn't say superior by any means, more dominant yes. Zagreb was the most economically and industrially advanced city in ex-yu, and even today I'd say its GDP per capita is better than Belgrade's. Cumulative, off course not. Even more foreign tourists visit Zagreb than Belgrade.

      So, let's stay reasonable in giving comparisons.

    4. frequentflyer09:25

      If people were actually here to discuss aviation, and not use it as an ethnic-bashing nostalgic forum, there'd actually be some interesting discussion - but a third of the members and a quarter of the posts.

      Admin, time to make people register to comment!

    5. Anonymous11:29

      what difference will it make to make people register to comment? ethnic- bashing nostalgic type people as u say have a right to register haha.

    6. Anonymous22:35

      The fact this blog is registration-free is one of the main reasons why i keep visiting it and posting here. That's maybe what i appreciate the most about it cause those "registrations" have ruined the internet in recent years. When people meet on the street and start discussing spontaneously they don't ask each other the ID card or smth first "to register", right(?)...

  20. Anonymous13:05

    Doha-Belgrade service is not in doubt. It will start probably in November. It could be via some other airport than ESB. Rumours are wrong.

  21. Anonymous14:25

    ZAG might be smaller in figures but that does not make the city less richer and less advanced than BEG. Once the new terminal is built and the country joins EU, BEG will lag behind. BEG cannot be any type of ex-YU hub simply because it does not have the capacity or potential.

    1. Anonymous19:18

      Keep dreaming

    2. Anonymous21:21

      Yea, Belgrade is projected to host more conferences than Budapest and Sofia and Athens within the next 2 years. Belgrade is on track to surpass Sofia Airport in terms of pax (and Bulgaria is already in the EU for all of those Croats that don't know). The EU has begun regionalizing air traffic and the Balkan regional air traffic control center will be in Belgrade, NOT Zagreb. Belgrade might even launch flights to North America with AZAL in 3 years. Economic statistics show that European, Asian, African, and North American companies invest more in Serbia than Croatia as a whole (Belgrade and Zagreb the hubs for more investments and Belgrade outdoes Zagreb). Tourists figures show Croatia is ahead by a long shot but take away tourists visiting the coast and Serbia is wayyy ahead. Belgrade is the most visited city in Ex-Yu. So please if you don't know what you're talking about then I suggest you shut up and keep your fascist, genocidal, hateful remarks to yourself.

    3. Anonymous21:28

      Interesting fact about tourism. Croatia is rising fast in the tourist industry but it won't be sustained. The number of tourists coming BACK to Croatia is even smaller than Ukraine. That means that people visit once and don't come back. So those tourist figures will go up for the next 10 years or so but then they will fall just as quickly. Serbia (mainly Belgrade) has even more re-visiting tourists. Not to mention that it won the Euro Annie award for the most new flights launched last year. Clearly an airport that has enough money to completely refurbish and expand itself, over 3 million pax, and negotiating for flights to USA cannot be the hub of the region. Instead it's gonna be shitty Zagreb with an airport from 1960 hahaha.

      to all Serbs,

      Croats were always jealous and always will think of themselves as superior. But history has proven time and time again where the superiority lies :) don't get drawn into comparisons between Zagreb and Belgrade because comparing Belgrade to Zagreb only diminishes Belgrade's reputation.


    4. Tupolev16022:46

      Ukraine has millions of people from the ex-USSR returning there every year...
      Where are those numbers about Ukraine from, seriously?

    5. Tupolev16022:49

      The fact that Ukraine is unknown in the global tourism industry is actually a good thing - we have 2-3 times cheaper prices on transportation and food than the rest of Europe (including Serbia). So no, we don't need those tourists to indirectly make life unaccessible for the average peole.
      But even so, a huge amount of people visits the country, but those are not the usual tourists who go to a place they can't even locate a map. Ukraine is a different market and what it has to offer is very different and not for everybody. Still would like to know where did you got your numbers from.

  22. Anonymous18:16

    All that talk about Croatia and Serbia re-
    united in the EU is nonsense!

    Croatia,when member of EU will block Serbian entry
    for decades as it is done with Turkey.

    And it will be backed by all the other EU-members.
    Angie Merkel already said that Cro will be the last one to enter the ship.

    You all should read the news!
    Serbs seem to live on a whole different planet!

    Also i want to make clear that i dont support this policy but it is the reality and we can not deny reality.

  23. Anonymous18:42

    Ah, the Balkan experts, how wonderful to see so many of them reunited on an aviation blog.

    It is truly due to your expertise that we're so advanced and economically well-situated in today's world.

    Anyway, I got direct confirmation from a close friend working as flight attendant in QR that BEG is definitely happening, but some shuffling will be done in order to make it happen. The route will most likely end up as DOH-OTP-BEG.

    1. KOKO20:18

      I would like to agree Vladimire!

      But what will then happen with
      TAROM flights?
      Will Romania give green light to this?
      I doubt it...

      Qatar will not get around flying nonstop if they really want to serve BEG.

    2. Anonymous22:18

      I that case, would be interesting to see what happens with SOF, as is currently linked with OTP. Maybe ZAG gets separated from BUD and joins with SOF. Seems logical if BEG starts via OTP, as non stop BEG DOH cannot start from the beginning, due QR policy with lower potential markets.

  24. Anonymous21:16

    I showed people the comments about Zagreb having more tourists and GDP than Belgrade and we all had a nice laugh. I want to thank those that claim Zagreb is economically superior for making my day hahaha

    1. Anonymous09:24

      Hello my dear Serbian friend.
      Check out the written stats (each country's own source):

      Zagreb (2011): 664.000 tourist arrivals
      Belgrade (2011): 590.000 tourist arrivals

      (the cyrilic link for serbis may not work, so go to and search)

  25. Anonymous22:29

    BEG is the only airport of Serbia (we are not going to include INI because 20 thousand PAX per annum is nothing). How many airports does smaller Croatia have? A lot! When ZAG gets a new terminal, together with OU they will be much more modern than BEG and JU.

    1. Anonymous22:45

      The modernity will never alter neither mask your true nature and level of human quality.

    2. Anonymous02:46

      well said

  26. Anonymous01:53

    Can't book any flights on internet from BEG-DXB with FlyDubai, did they stop selling their tickets via Amadeus or their system is just down temporarily?

  27. Anonymous03:39

    When My vilage gets a new terminal it will beat Dubai.

  28. Anonymous16:31

    All the previously announced destinations by QR are launched with the exception of BEG. They might consider launching the flights maybe by the end of 2013. ESB will never allow traffic rights to/from BEG.

    1. Anonymous17:53

      Guys, you don't have to dig deep to find press announcements on QR website.

      "Since the beginning of the year, Qatar Airways has launched flights to Baku (Azerbaijan); Tbilisi (Georgia); Kigali (Rwanda); Zagreb (Croatia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad, and most recently, Perth (Australia) with many more destinations planned during 2012.

      Over the next few months, Qatar Airways launches services to a diverse portfolio of new routes, including Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (July 25); Mombasa, Kenya (August 15); Yangon, Myanmar (October 3); Maputo, Mozambique (October 31) and a date yet-to-be-announced to the Serbian capital Belgrade."

    2. Anonymous19:34

      Did you guys see the huge print ads in local Serbian press advertising job openings in the new Qatar Airways Belgrade office? There are some 10 openings.

    3. Anonymous19:36

      Qatar Airways, one of the world’s fastest growing 5 star airlines, is opening an office in Belgrade and invites applications to the following positions:

      If you think you have what it takes to succeed at Qatar Airways and join our Team in Belgrade, please submit your CV and covering letter in English to

    4. Anonymous21:29

      Is there a QR office in Zagreb?

    5. Anonymous23:50

      Haha, QR job's offer, this is the best 'thread-hijacking' so far on Ex-Yu.

    6. Anonymous00:36

      What is so funny about that,stupid!?

      They will for sure never hire idiots that are like you !

  29. Anonymous21:24

    There is even no QR office in Zagreb.

    1. QR Zagreb office : Petra Hektorovica 2, zagreb's new business aerea in and around radnicka cesta, near main bus terminal. In addition to the city office, there is an office at pleso airport, too. People who are not stupid, blind, or nazi, can find these information on QR's webpage. Cheers!

    2. Anonymous13:20

      Stupid, those are not QR offices but tourist agencies who work for Qatar. Qatar didn't bother to open an office in Zagreb.
      Can you please find me Croatia in the list:


    3. Anonymous18:14

      QR has a staff of 19 in ZAG. 12 in the city office, and 7 at the airport. CTO is not yet listed on the web, but is fully operational.

    4. Anonymous21:07

      Wow, they forgot to list well as they did in their destinations guide. I guess Zagreb isn't such an important destination for them after all.

    5. Anonymous22:16

      I dont think they forgot, sometimes bigger systems have issues or procedures that take time and seem illogical. whatever the case, they operate, employ 19 people, have very good initial market response and you have your own problems...they invested in ZAG and that makes ZAG important for QR.

    6. Anonymous23:12

      Oh, common, how much did they invested, pennies?

    7. Anonymous23:54

      Well, daily allocation of their aircraft, promotion, offices, staff etc...if you don't want them, don't use them, but try not to be such an idiot.....

  30. Anonymous06:54

    It is pathetic how Serbs would like "druziti se" with others and nobody wants to.

    Be proud and live of your own work and achievements.
    Unfortunately, with 27% unemployment and the lowest GDP in the region this is not possible.

    In addition to QR, CA is going to open the office in BEG to employ few more people to boost promising economy.

    1. Anonymous13:26

      CA - You mean Air China?

  31. Anonymous22:28

    Still sceptic about QR launching flights to BEG due to the presence of FZ. Even if they ever arrive, FZ will lower the prices and nobody will fly with QR. ZAG has much potential because it goes with BUD and also people can fly between BUD and ZAG just like it is with OTP and SOF.

    1. Anonymous00:22

      Crazy QR is opening office and employing 10+ staff (including airport handling agents and sales agents), while not going forward with flights at the same time.

      Also, FZ network cannot match the one QR has. True EK product is a threat, though, but currently FZ+EK ex BEG is not really competitive price-wise, even when compared to Lufthansa. Lets not even begin talking about their C product, which does not even exist in FZ.

    2. Anonymous13:22

      Yes, but the people do not have money and would prefer to fly with FZ rather than QR. There isn't much sense launching flights to BEG at the moment. ZAG/BUD is the perfect combination. Both cities have much more business and leisure travel especially BUD.

    3. At Belgrade competition between FZ and QR
      will harm mostly Turkish Airlines.

      At the moment TK has the best product
      and frequencies eastwards.
      That is the competitor QR has to look after!

      FZ is more O&D while QR and TK also have a lot of transfering pax.

      From personal experience i know a lot of Chinese people fly LH when going to Belgrade.
      So Lufthansa will also have to master the
      increasing competition!

    4. Anonymous03:05

      The traditional Serbian enemies, Turks and Germans, are stealing passengers away cause Serbia has no money to invest into a proper airline and fleet. QR is the more than welcome to breakdown their monopoly.
      Already grateful to FZ for its presence.

  32. Anonymous18:18

    The last comment made my day!

  33. Anonymous21:23

    Fortunately Al-Baker did never visit Zagreb and Croatia (Zagreb airport especially) cause otherwise i highly doubt the flights would have ever been launched.

    1. Anonymous21:58

      Why would he or anybody else care about the airport itself? Airlines sell tickets, not airport tours. Or city tours for that matter. Would you agree?

    2. Anonymous22:10

      Lol, maybe he recently visited Serbia and met smart, sharp and tolerant people like yourself and tha's why service is in now doubt....

    3. Anonymous02:17

      I can't care less about that, i'm from Slovenia.

  34. Anonymous06:03

    From wherever you are, you showed what you care about and how small you are...

  35. Anonymous04:28

    They will fly to Bucharest with layover in Belgrade. And that is even better option.

  36. Anonymous00:56

    Belgrade airport is bigger but a town is not so important like before. With the break up of former Yugoslavia Belgrade lost the monopol and now is nothing special capital, basically Qatar rates Belgrade and Zagreb the same so they will unleash the flight towards Zagreb and Belgrade probably in 2013 not before.

  37. Anonymous14:26

    If you were informed, the Zagreb flights were already unleashed while the Belgrade ones are about to be in few weeks.


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