Serbia awaits FAA decision

Serbia anticipates the all clear from the USA

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States is likely to grant Serbia a “category one” rating this year, paving way for scheduled flights between the United States and Serbia. As part of the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program, the agency assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that operate or wish to operate to the United States and makes that information available to the public. The assessments also determine whether or not foreign civil aviation authorities are meeting international safety standards.

An FAA delegation arrived in Serbia yesterday and will carry out its assessment throughout the week. The assessment is crucial in order for an audit to take place, which represents the final hurdle before being granted a category one rating. Local authorities are adamant that the country will be granted a category one rating by the end of the year. Serbia held a category one rating until 2002 when it was downgraded to category two. It has since been reviewed twice when there was both the will and political backing for Jat Airways to launch flights to the United States, in 2004 and 2006. While it is highly unlikely for the Serbian carrier to be able to launch flights to the United States now, a category one rating would give it rights to code share on flights operated by airlines from the United States. Furthermore, the categorisation has a strong impact on US based carriers when deciding on potential new destinations.

In the EX-YU region Slovenia and Croatia hold a category one rating. Croatia received its category one status in January 2011, allowing Croatia Airlines to code share on US Airways flights within the United States. Montenegro continues to hold a category two rating, while Bosnia and Macedonia have not been reviewed by the authorities. Currently, there are no flights between the EX-YU region and the United States. In 2011 charter airline Swift Air was to launch flights from Chicago to Belgrade and Zagreb. In the end, the inaugural flight, with 221 passengers onboard, was cancelled minutes before it was meant to depart due to problems with the FAA. A few years ago Priština enjoyed summer charters to the United States while Uzbekistan Airlines operated services from its base in Tashkent to New York via Belgrade for a year.


  1. BA88809:09

    That is great news!

    Now one of the ministers can crack on with ordering that A380 and normal services can resume...

  2. Anonymous10:03

    A380???? Are you serious, How can Jat or the serbian goverment eford A380, One plane costs around 250 million euros. Funny to read how everybody speaks for them selfs.

    1. Anonymous10:44

      Smesno je koliko ne razumes kad je neko sarkastican ;)

    2. BA88810:57

      1st Anonymous...Read the reply above mate!

      And...maybe try to be less twitchy!
      Aint good for your heart!

    3. Doot13:16


      whatever extra capacity they have on the A380, they can fill with a double-daily between BNX and BEG

    4. BA88815:45

      And...daily to KVO April-October.

      Cant wait to see new timetable!


  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. CareerAdvice11:56

      Darko, have you considered a career in stand up comedy? If not, you should. You will make a lot of people laugh, seriously laugh.

    2. Damn, he deleted his comment so now the rest of us don't know what was so funny.

  4. JATBEGMEL11:39

    The best thing atm is hope that some random airline will land in BEG or ZAG enroute to a N. American destination.

    It is good to see that Serbia has progressed in some way, hopefully this new government will bring possitive change to Serbia and raise the standard and its credability in the region.

    @ Darko

    Just because an aircraft is full in economy it doesnt mean it is making a profit. There are considerations to consider such as cargo, business class passengers, flying hours of the aircraft, maintenance, frequencies etc. Is it worth the cost or not. Currently there is little cargo and JAT barely attracts buisness class passengers, and all the economy passengers come due to the cheaper air tickets. The 9.2 hours what JAT uses its aicraft a day is disappointing to read, the aircraft are underutisiled let alone bringing in more. JAT would need to do strong marketing for the flights, as well as massively upgrade its service. Flying 2 times a week would mean nothing to the endless amounts of connections via CDG, FRA, MUC, VIE, WAW, AMS, MXP, FCO.....

    1. Anonymous12:09

      How you think this government can either improve Serbia or raise its standard of credibility in the region is beyond me. We went at least 5 to 10 years backwards when we elected this government!

    2. JATBEGMEL12:43

      I hope not. Although Im not for this government, the former coalition wasnt the best either. People in Serbia are fed up and want proper change which is why SNS won alot of the votes. I hope you are wrong.

    3. Hi JATBEGMEL ! According to my sources and my information, ZAG is going to have AT LEAST 3 all-year-round North American destinations starting summer 2014. I'm not here to quarell and argue, only I think you're wrong in your predictions&estimations. Personally, I think that ex-yu market HAS long-haul potential, but let's wait next year to see who was right. Cheers!

  5. Anonymous11:40

    Scanderberg Air Agency had a direct line between JFK-PRN summer seasons between 2007 and 2010.ATA Airlines was the carrier who operated for them in first stage,

    ATA flyed the first stage and pulled out because the profits where not good and dident find any interest from travellers to fly this route after the summerseason. Delta, American Airlines and US Airways was interested to take those flights but i after som calculations made they showed that it was nothin to earn.

    With the fuelprices that is oppcomming today i can guarentee you no american or european airline will fly this routes, Is no profitt.

    1. JATBEGMEL12:50

      Those direct flights were only good for the diaspora living in the US and nothing more. The only way transatlantic flights would work for our region at the moment is if BEG or ZAG is used as a stop over, just like HY used BEG back in 2004.

    2. Anonymous13:07

      Excellent news for both Belgrade and the region. As the hub of the former Yugoslavia, this could mean flights to the US. JAT will not be able to start the flights and I do not see any American airline inaugurating flights, so all hope for now rests with AZAL.

      I noticed how people were saying Zagreb is another option but it isn't. The argument is that flights from Belgrade to the US during the Yugo days operated via Zagreb but really that airport is in a mess as of now, and is not in a market worth mentioning if you're the US. Not even 1 million people live in Zagreb so no need to get hopes flights will start.

      Literally its Belgrade or bust for these flights. Hopefully something pulls through.

    3. Anonymous14:09

      BEG really has chances, as soon as, solves sewage spillage problem, regular power outages, vehicles hitting planes on apron, etc

    4. Anonymous15:00

      Yes, Belgrade has some 500-600.000 more inhabitants but in same time

      1 Belgrade total GBP is smaller than Zagreb one (that only counts for potential passengers, if not Congo will have much more passengers than Serbia or Croatia), and GBP per capita is much bigger in ZAG.

      2 There is almost no tourism in Serbia unlikely in Croatia.

      3 Croatia has 100% more air passengers than Serbia, and route to USA from ZAG will for sure attract more connection passengers via ZAG, than there are possible connection passengers via BEG.

      4 Croatian citizens does not need visa for Canada, and from July will not need one for USA

      5 Croatian Diaspora in USA is huge

      6 Croatia will enter EU in July and that will bring more trade, invesments, businessman, toursti... to Croatia, espetialy from USA

      7 Croatia is in NATO, and real leader of NATO is USA

    5. Anonymous15:20

      I remember these flights between PRN-JFK, Scanderberg Airs idea there was that they cud hold 2 weekly flights from JFK-PRN-TIR-JFK. But the interest for coustumers was weak. If an directly route from US to BEG`i think its an big chance that it will be Chicago-BEG. Earlyer American have sad no to an route between US and Serbia because of week earnings and no profits out of that route.

    6. Anonymous15:50

      I think you seriously need to get yourself together.
      I don't know if you have ever been to Belgrade, but Belgrade population in reality is 2 million, because unlike Zagreb, in Serbia official numbers don't match the real situation. So it is twice larger than Zagreb, period. Again, if you have a problem believing it, just come and see it, as many of your other compatriots.

      1 - If so, how happens BEG has still more than 1 million pax yearly ahead of ZAG, despite all the troubled recent history? And don't start the "only airport story" cause BEG also bleeds a lot of traffic to other airports, and that besides ZAG there is not much other international gateway for Croats (not counting Dubrovnik for tourists in the summer, and nobody denies Croatia as a whole has higher tourism).

      2 - Right, and there is no potential in Zagreb that there is in Belgrade. Belgrade was voted multiple times as one of the best cities to be and with the best night-life in the world.

      3 - Right, most of whom foreigners as for the connections i fail to see your point. BEG remains the main connecting point for most of ex-Yu passengers. There are far more airlines and destinations operating from BEG.

      4 - That is irrelevant, as the most of passengers would be the diaspora and business travellers, for who visas ain't an issue.
      After all, why didn't Uzbekistan choose ZAG as a stopover to JFK, or why isn't AZAL contemplating ZAG right now, instead of BEG, can you answer to that?

      5 - Certainly not bigger than Serbian one and anyway, they can still fly via BEG.

      6 - Completely irrelevant.

      7 - Completely irrelevant. If that was the case, SOF would have now double the numbers of BEG, yet it is about to be overshadowed.

      So be realistic, while tourist markets of Croatia and Serbia are incomparable, so are Belgrade and Zagreb. Zagreb is more in the class of Sarajevo, Ljubljana, Graz, Bratislava, Lvov. No offence, just be realistic. In other words, it's not that important, as you would like it to be.

    7. Anonymous17:28

      1. Because Croatia has 9 international airports and Serbia just 2. One more time, Croatia has 100% more passengers per year. And if you tell me that Zagreb will not have more passengers in near future that Belgrade I will tell you, you are right. But USA flights are something different because they are not same as tourist flights to coast, LCC, or European flights. Those flights will have connection to region especially to other Croatian airports. How can you say that Croatia does not have important airport beside Zagreb, as SPU and DBV together have more passengers than ZAG, you have Ryanair base in ZAD, other airports in Croatia (exempt ZAG) has more passengers all together than BEG.

      2. One more time you mix things. Number of tourist in Zagreb is bigger than Belgrade. Not to mention that most tourist in Belgrade are those seeking for cheap drink (pijanka) and disaster music (cajke) and are from Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, but most of tourist in Zagreb are from Japan, Korea, USA, Israel, Germany... Several times I attached here official numbers of Zagreb and Belgrade tourist board. But again we are talking about potential North American tourist that will connect via ZAG to SPU, DBV, ZAD, PUY... as it is not real that those airports will have direct lines. So here we are talking about Croatian and Serbian potential tourists, not Zagreb and Belgrade. Just for tourist not Zagreb and not Belgrade will ever have direct route to USA, but for Croatian tourist potential sure there is possibility for that kind of route with connection via ZAG.

      3. That is not true. I also attach here several times how many connections are made via ZAG and via BEG, how many possibilities, connecting routes, passengers etc. And by those data ZAG is in much better position than BEG.

    8. Anonymous17:29

      4. Because CTN will never!!!!! have any code-share with those companies. That is very bad image for company and country (who is owner of Croatia airlines). USA inhabitants thing that Croatia (and even more Serbia) is some country in the middle of CIS where we don' have electricity or food and we have war all the time. Croatia really spends a lot of money to change this because of tourism, and really have some success in that, especial image of Dubrovnik, Adriatic coast, Zagreb etc. So, we don't need some exUSSR airline to put this image 20 year back. Sure visas are not such a big influence in Serbia where your standard does not allow your citizen to fly to USA. But you have to know that standard in Croatia is some 200% bigger and that more than 200.000 passengers from Croatia travel to USA every year (those are Croats, not USA citizen to Croatia). For tourism, business, NATO, study etc.

      5. No, you are not right. More than Croats than Serbs leave in USA and Canada. Even those data were attached here. Please don't tell me those «unofficial» data, because we can not seriously discuss on this forum by the dreams, but only by official statistic data.

      6. Of course it is not irrelevant. Because by this way you will have more business coming to Croatia (especially by several hundreds Croatian origin businessman in USA who will invest here). Also membership in EU will attract more tourist (as we can see by number of new routes from 2013) first of all because of EU image of country (“they are in EU sure they are not some African or USSR country). That should also influence USA tourists and routes.

      7. Is it? Do you know how many Croatian officers study in USA military academies every year, how many officers travel to USA for many military reasons, do you know how many join projects with USA Army in this second are on, how many join military exercises are in Croatia every year (and they have to be prepared in advance), how many weapons we buy in USA, for how many standards and instructions we have to go to USA (for example my good friend who was helicopter pilot was in USA three times for 6 mounts because of training for SAR and Combat search and rescue), how many officers work in Croatian mission in USA (for NATO coordination)... I have 3 good friends that are officers in Croatian army and in this moment they are in USA + one colonel to work in NATO mission in Brussels who works for NATO coordination office of Croatian Army.

      You are totally blind with Belgrade. Let me remind you that in those times of Yugoslavia not just that most Jat's flights to USA and Canada starts from Zagreb but also that Pan Am (5 times per week directly) and Air Canada (3 times per week directly) fly to Zagreb, and not to Belgrade.

  6. Doot13:19

    Transporters will be invented before there are regular direct flights between Belgrade and the US

  7. Anonymous14:51

    The article mentions that Croatia has category one status. Does that mean all airports in Croatia? Does anyone know which airports?

    -- Charlie

    1. During assesment and one or more audits, FAA controls : all airlines registered in a particular country which include their registered aircraft, operational employees, safety/security conditions and findings and quality process systems; followed by control of ALL airports, (your question), then control of legislative and implementation of legislation, and above all regulatory body ("Agencija" in Croatia, "Direktorat" in Serbia ) and their skills and potentials to really regulate and "have under control" civil aviation in the country.

      Considering the fact that general manager of the "Direktorat" is the person placed there as party aparatchik, without a single day of working experience in aviation, even if the situation in Jat airways and serbian airports were perfect, which is definitely not, it is highly unlikely that Serbia will soon be granted higher FAA IASA category.

      And I'm kindly asking people here not to spit on me for saying this, because as far as I know, this is the reality. I would be the happiest if FAA decision proves that I was wrong and if Serbia, like Slovenia and Croatia, gets category 1.

    2. Anonymous16:43

      Pozz from Riki, thank for the reply. But why would anyone here attack you for simply stating your opinion in a normal, objective and civilized manor?

      But I am still unsure, the FAA regulates airlines in the USA and airlines wishing to fly there, OK, but you make no mention of which airports in Croatia were approved by the FAA to receive the category one status.

      -- Charlie

  8. Hi Riki, I'm afraid we are talking here about two completely different issues, which have absolutely nothing in common :

    Airport categorization (I,II,III &subs), is about visibility, and/or about navigational and technical equipment which enables operations in reduced visibility conditions. Only ZAG/LDZA in HR has operational very high cat IIIa.

    FAA IASA categorization goes for the COUNTRIES only, and it only has categories 1 and 2.

    Once a country is granted category 1, ANY airline from that particular country, SAFETYWISE, can establish charter or scheduled, direct or code share flights, from ANY airport of that particular country, providing, COMMERCIALY, that corresponding bilateral agreements, or "open skies" arrangments are in effect.

  9. Anonymous17:35

    Prague got no us links and some zagreb will? Cro propa......

    1. Anonymous18:56

      Of course there are no guarantees, it's possible that something goes wrong, but it's definitely no cro propa, but real project led by real people.

      In fact, it should have been started already, but EU acession delay contributed to delay of this project, too.

      So far, plenty of people in HR keep their fingers crossed for their soon start, which might happen already this July 01, of course with medium-range first, including flights to BEG.

  10. Anonymous18:52

    @ admin .. for Swift Air's inaugural flight .. we were never onboard, I have told you before, that statement is false .. we were waiting at the gate all night staring at the 767, no passengers and I repeat NO PASSENGERS were onboard......... We got the announcement of the cancellation at the gate too.

  11. meho puzic18:56

    Croatia and nato bla bla bla, at the end money talks and bs walks. They cant sell expensive seats in the front cabin and it is simple as that. Your propaganda is too old and boring.