Air France to suspend Belgrade

Air France farewelling Belgrade next summer season
EX-YU aviation news can exclusively reveal that Air France will suspend its daily flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to Belgrade in April 2013, as part of the carrier’s cost cutting measures. Despite strong loads on the route, the airline has decided to throw in the towel. It is currently facing strong competition from Jat Airways which is offering competitive prices. In the past twelve years, Air France has already suspended services to the Serbian capital once before it returned several years ago. Until recently, the airline code shared on Jat’s services to Paris as well.

Air France’s departure is a major triumph for Jat which will now, after many years, have a complete monopoly over one of its most profitable routes. EX-YU aviation news understands that the Serbian carrier is planning to operate a second daily flight to Paris next summer season. Air France recently announced it was suspending its second daily flight to both Zagreb and Ljubljana next summer. It will operate a daily flight to the two cities with a Bombardier CRJ700 and Embraer ERJ145, respectively.

Air France's withdrawal also opens the opportunity for the low cost Wizz Air to launch flights from Belgrade to France. It has already indicated it was considering introducing services between the two countries within the next year. However, Air France, as a major global carrier and Europe’s third largest airline, will prove as a valuable loss to Belgrade. Air France will officially announce its Belgrade suspension in a press release next week.


  1. Anonymous09:16

    Well they have been cutting a lot of routes recently all because they can't make a profit with their current cost structure. They have been having really good loads and the fares have been anything but cheap... I wish them best of luck.

  2. Anonymous09:18

    *jaw drop* didn’t see that one coming

    1. Anonymous09:27

      They have been cutting a lot of routes recently as a result of massive losses.

  3. Anonymous09:42

    I always hated seeing their ugly A318 at BEG.

    1. Anonymous12:14

      You mean their A319?

  4. Anonymous10:39

    First it's BA, now it's AF. This shows how JU clearly has a monopoly in BEG. But yeah, this definitely is a surprise.

    1. Anonymous11:27

      "...This shows how JU clearly has a monopoly in BEG...."

      Sorry, but I just have to laugh at this statement.

  5. Anonymous10:39

    I can't say I'm sad. The tickets were ludicrously expensive, the legroom horrible and the service average at best.

  6. Anonymous10:53

    Well, I can see Wizz or Easyjet jumping in :)

  7. CREW11:34

    So now we are doomed to fly terrible death trap called Jat Airways or flying fast-food Wizzair... Awful.

  8. Anonymous11:54

    Terrible news for us who were flying often on Delta/AF codeshare to BEG from the US. They had a great connection from JFK or IAD thru CDG. Hope they at least keep codeshare on BEG-CDG with JAT like they keep it on BEG-AMS flights.

    1. Anonymous11:29

      I don't think that will be the option, since they (AF) already suspended codeshare flights this summer and i'm afraid the winter season will be the same

  9. Anonymous13:01

    lol you’ve gotta hand it to the guys at Jat. First they kill of BA and then AF. They must be popping the champagne right about now.

    1. Anonymous13:10

      hahahahahah best comment in a long time.
      Well people on here tend to bash them but they still have a lot of customers and best proof are their monthly numbers.

  10. I just booked a flight on AF (BEG-CDG-JFK) three days ago and my return flight is at the end of March 2013. Hope they will not rebook me on Jat. :/ They really had OK prices and good connections to the US...

  11. Anonymous15:43

    I really don't believe that Jat had such a influence on them.
    They indeed offer a great range of ticket prices,but honestly this is really difficult period of time for EU carriers..It's just one of measure for cutting cost for AF.
    Such a shame for a good connection for US.
    Hope that they will come back soon.Greetings

  12. Anonymous15:52

    Hahaha, ni Francuzi vas nece! ;)

    1. Anonymous16:17

      Please delete this post spreading ethnic hatered.

  13. Anonymous16:51

    OMG,those guys at Jat are lucky bastards!
    Now i understand why they never do anything.
    Because they only have to wait for their competitors to die off one after the other...

    I really hope at least the officials at Delta
    force Air France to codeshare with Jat
    on the Belgrade route!

  14. Anonymous18:34

    Really bad news for Belgrade, Air France is a major Airline with large connecting flights from Paris all over the world, the fact that they are suspending Belgrade means that either Serbia isn't attractive enough as a market or they see no profit in remaining there.

    Could be recession which has hit many airlines and quite a few went bankrupt as a result of this prolonged recession, not sure if Wizz Air or JAT can be a substitute for Air France, after all Air France is Air France. what's there more to say.

    1. Aэrologic09:11

      Air France WAS Air France... There are far more powerful and convenient hubs for transfers in Europe than the complicated CDG. No body will miss them and other airlines have set a much higher standard of product than AF has nowadays, they're just a pale copy of what they used to be.

  15. BA88818:45

    Lets be realistic...

    Most of the income for big ones is from First/Business class passenger and there are not many BEG bound.

    That is why BA888 is no more...

    The rest of the non-profit generating plebs will continue using JAT or LCC...

    1. Anonymous18:47

      Well not in this case since they are keeping their office open and they hope to return to Belgrade in 2014.

    2. Anonymous19:38

      Who is returning to BEG in 2014?

    3. Anonymous19:39

      Air France, they stated that they are hoping to return by 2014 when the crisis is no more.

    4. Anonymous19:40

      You forgot Lufthansa and Star Alliance!
      If there wouldnt be something to win with Belgrade we wouldnt see twice daily FRA,
      twice daily ZRH and three times daily MUC...
      so your argument is a bad one.

    5. Anonymous19:48

      If there is one conclusion from this:
      Any airline that leaves BEG will never come back...
      The hope that BA or AF will at some time come back is an illusion!
      If an European airline fails to serve a city like BEG...
      then it is only a sign that this airline is loosing ground.
      And competition does not sleep!

    6. Anonymous20:18

      W6 is coming... tomorrow.

    7. Anonymous13:55

      I agree that the lack of First/business passengers makes Belgrade an unattractive destination for BA. A relatively high economy ticket price does not make a route profitable. Just look at BA withdrawing from Yerevan in Armenia. They could command very high economy class fares but i bet they flew frequently empty in Club world.
      Belgrade's future, like most 'smaller' cities in Europe is to be taken at least 50% by LCCs. And in Serbia's case this is good! Cheaper fares are beneficial for Belgrade. Let's hope Wizzair or Easyjet to jump in to Replace air France and leave Lufthansa as the dominate international legacy carrier, a position it has got well entrenched.

    8. Aэrologic09:08

      "Just look at BA withdrawing from Yerevan in Armenia. They could command very high economy class fares but i bet they flew frequently empty in Club world."

      Very good point, i was quite shocked to hear that news few weeks ago.

  16. Anonymous23:22

    BA, AF, OK dissapear from Belgrade, QR just 3 times per week via ESB... Not good, not good!

    1. Anonymous08:36

      Well we got Air One now and from November there will be Qatar. Also, Lufthansa decided to keep all flights to Belgrade despite massive reductions in capacity all over its network. Also many other airlines are reporting massive growth in Belgrade.
      On top of it all, Belgrade will still remain higly competitive so no worries.

    2. Anonymous11:32

      Air One first flight to BEG has been cancelled....

    3. September 2011, Air One announced 3 times weekly A320 service MXP-ZAG-MXP. Tickets were on sale through their web-page, I bought one for some 30 euro (one way), and like in BEG now, first flight was cancelled, than the second, then ZAG just disappeared from the booking system. They never refunded money for my ticket. I guess similar scenario is possible with announced flights to/from BEG. Let's just wait and see...

  17. Anonymous23:33

    Yes,two stops to Australia and Asia?!
    There are alot of alternatives with only single stopover...

  18. Anonymous00:11

    No, just 3 frequencies, comparing to ZAG 7, AF stays in ZAG, BA start ZAG instead of BEG, OK return to ZAG from summer...

    1. Anonymous08:34

      Yes but who cares if ZAG has more frequencies when they have far less passengers?

    2. Anonymous12:22

      Passengers care to have comfort unlike traveling from Calcutta

    3. Anonymous00:38

      Why comparison with ZAG? Compare with a city of similar size and/or economic and political background. ZAG is in different league in each of those categories - it's smaller, more affluent and a soon-to-be EU capital.

      Btw, ZAG gets 7 QR weekly because of Budapest, that's been debated over and over. True test, for both BEG and ZAG with QR, will be when they have enough A320s to separate these flights. Whether they do so, and how many frequencies they leave, that will shed some light on this issue.

  19. Anonymous00:35

    British Airways and Air France think they will
    have with Zagreb and Ljubljana more success then with Belgade.
    Easyjet thought that too...and FAILED!!!!

    1. Anonymous01:08

      easyJet has never tried BEG, so they haven't failed yet as such in the same regard. Likely they'll exit Zagreb and start BEG next year though

    2. Anonymous04:26

      EasyJet is still in Zagreb they only canned one route, Dortmund I think. They're still serving Lon-GTW - Zagreb route 4-5 times per week.

    3. Anonymous10:10

      Easyjet stopped ZAG-Dorntmun and ZAG-Paris. All that's left is LGW and that is hanging by a precarious thread

    4. Anonymous04:17

      And Easyjet also stopped LJU-CDG,
      also LJU-Milan was planned but never

  20. Anonymous09:06

    Air France left BEG three times and came back. They will be back in no time.

    Never say never.

  21. Anonymous13:05

    The lagacy airlines like BA and AF are leaving Belgrade because the serbian economy is in a mess. These airlines need full Business Classes with high yields and fully booked with managers. Planes filled with diaspora in July and August or ethnic travellers (Gastarbajteri) produce low yields and only peak seasonality! There will be more farewells I am afraid. I am afraid that BEG airport will be only full with "buvljak" airlines like Wizzair for some time. ZAG will see more business due to EU membership and high yield traffic.

    1. Anonymous13:59

      ""buvljak" airlines like Wizzair for some time"
      I have to correct you that despite Wizzair's low cost image it is JAT that appears the Buvljak airline in comparison. Flying aircraft the oldest of which is 29years old i believe and with an on-board product that is so outdated as to be a national embarrassment for Serbia. I do agree with your comments re lack of business passengers as the mean reason why legacy carriers cannot make money.
      BA returning to Zagreb is a bit bizarre in my eyes, i recon they'd make more more flying Heathrow-Dubrovnik during the summer season than wasting time of such a silly slot warmer as Zagreb. Anyway we'll see..

    2. Anonymous09:04

      (Delete comment above, thanks.)

      First anonymous, what would you say with the case of BUD where Wizzair became the de-facto national airline? I guess according to your comments and reasoning that the "Croatian economy" and Zagreb are ahead not only of Belgrade but of Budapest as well! And your economy is so great and full of business class travelers that all the low-costs that ever came to ZAG had to get out or reduce routes drastically, i guess that's cause of them not being able to fulfill the cutting-edge standards of rich Croatian passengers...LOL!

    3. Anonymous15:18

      what would you say with the case of BUD where Wizzair became the de-facto national airline?

      Malev was bankrupt! If JAT wasn't protected to the hilt all it's planes would be parked up. It's good to have competition in Belgrade and Wizzair is doing a fine job.

  22. Anonymous16:01

    Aaaand Wizz Air has just announced Belgrade - Paris Beauvais three weekly starting June 1, 2013.

    Looks like they've been paying attention to this blog ;-)

  23. Anonymous18:29

    It's time for other airlines to increase their frequencies from BEG next year. ZAG still has important airlines that BEG doesn't such as easyJet, BA, TAP and vice versa.

  24. Anonymous23:39

    The other factor many people ignore is that the SkyTeam has been much better served via Jat's daily AMS service and the very strong double daily code-share with AZ to Rome, inlcuding 1st wave BEGFCO at 06:40am.

  25. Anonymous07:00

    When British only flew to BEG from LHR nobody was talking. They even managed to send B757 birds..... Typical cro propaganda.

  26. Anonymous08:54

    But that 2 our of 3 the biggest air companies run away in just few months you must understand it is something to talk about. This is at least to be alarmed.

  27. Anonymous01:12

    very very very sad... I still cannot believe that AF is leaving BEG..

    And all this trash will stay like Lufthansa...


    hope to see AF back one day.. miss u


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