Germanwings to terminate Belgrade service

Germanwings pulling out of Belgrade

Low cost airline Germanwings will discontinue its flights from Stuttgart to Belgrade at the end of the 2014 summer season and thus suspend its operations to the Serbian capital. The airline, wholly owned by Lufthansa, was the first low cost carrier to commence operations to Belgrade back in 2008. It currently maintains three weekly flights between Stuttgart and the Serbian capital but has been hit by strong competition and declining passenger numbers. While last summer the airline competed on the route against Jat Airways’ four weekly flights, operated by an ATR72, the airline now faces daily flights by Air Serbia, operated by an Airbus A319 and codeshared by Etihad Airways and Air Berlin.

Germanwings has been progressively scaling down its operations to Belgrade. In 2012 the airline cancelled its flights from Cologne to the Serbian capital. As reported by EX-YU Aviation News earlier this year, Germanwings, together with Austrian, has been one of the hardest hit airlines from the Star Alliance group operating to Belgrade as it faces increased completion. Star Alliance member airlines have been reducing their operations to the Serbian capital this year. Adria Airways suspended its flights from Ljubljana to Belgrade in February, choosing instead to codeshare with Air Serbia. Lufthansa cancelled one of its three daily flights from Munich at the start of the 2014 summer season, while Swiss International Air Lines plans to cut down on frequencies from both Zurich and Geneva this winter. Swiss’ service from Geneva has been especially affected. Since launching flights last winter it has seen competition from both easyJet and Etihad Regional on the route. Despite bucking the trend and seeing a significant passenger surge, Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines will have to cut down on its flights from Istanbul to Belgrade from seventeen per week to two daily flights after Serbian and Turkish aviation authorities reached a deal on regulating slots and frequencies between their respective national carriers.

However, it isn’t all doom and gloom for Star Alliance in Belgrade. LOT Polish Airlines has this year increased its frequencies to the Serbian capital and turned its seasonal service from Warsaw to year long flights despite facing competition from Air Serbia. TAP Portugal will become the newest Star Alliance member to launch services to Belgrade as it prepares to inaugurate its flights from Lisbon on July 2. Finally, Croatia Airlines has added additional flights to its seasonal services from Split to Belgrade.


  1. Anonymous10:35

    I am really glad that GW will suspend its flights from Stuttgart to Belgrade. They can "objesiti mačku o rep" its low cost model that gives less for the same price that ASL, CTN or somebody else offers.

  2. Anonymous11:04

    This is for sure not good. ..removing or cutting. ...Swiss, Wizz, Adria, Germanwings. Who is going to be next? Soon or later Air Serbia will be sole player on the airport. Protection works very shortly. the end of the day-less competition means nothing else but higher prices. Kill them all and role. Simple logic of AS/Etihad

    1. Anonymous11:31

      Did you read the last parapgraph of the article? When it mentions new lines (launched in "Air Serbia era") ?

    2. Anonymous11:36

      I did ... negative balance for BEG

    3. Anonymous12:03

      I don't think its more out than in...

    4. JU520 BEGLAX12:24

      that s the plan of all the middle eastern carriers. Add so much capacity to the market that other will pull out and than rule the market with high prizes....welcome to the world of Etihad, Emirates, Qatar etc.

    5. Anonymous16:58

      How is anyone protecting anyone else? If you loose out to competition you just loose. Jat cut many lines in its day because it lost out to more powerful players. It's obvious they cut the line because they had fewer passengers.

    6. Anonymous22:40

      generacija 5

  3. Anonymous11:35

    Still more out than in (minus)

    1. Anonymous13:21

      I think its more in than out

    2. Anonymous16:56

      Not true. This year you had new destinations: Geneva (Etihad Regional), Air Serbia (Warsaw, Sofia, Varna, Beirut, Budapest), Vueling (Barcelona), Wizz Air (Larnaca), Easy jet (Rome).

      Lost - Wizz AIr (Brussels), Adria (Ljubljana) and Germanwings (Stuttgart)

    3. *Wizz Air - Oslo !!

    4. Anonymous19:27

      - 50% of Wizzair
      - 37% of Swiss
      - 20% of Lufthansa
      - 15% of Turkish

    5. Anonymous19:29

      Yet May growth is around +40%

    6. Anonymous11:04

      Star Alliance Fail

  4. You can't have the cake and eat it too. What's more important, many options on foreign carriers (employing foreign crews) or a strong national airline which hires and pays taxes locally (it might even bring some profit to local shareholder). On this topic we can argue endlessly and both options have pros and cons. I don't think there is a definite answer-it all depends what stand local government takes. In this case it's quite clear that they opted for more quantifiable,short term gain. Considering political and economic situation you can't blame them.

    1. Anonymous15:17

      Agree totally. ..but this is the reason why EC is so much strict about this phenomenon and doesn't allow any kind of protection among EU members and candidates. ..they support open market and equal conditions for each player

    2. Anonymous16:57

      Always go for strong national carrier and ensure that the govt supports its national carrier/s ... US, Canada, EU - all have protectionist policies that support their national carriers ... why should Serbia be any different ? Further, you can refer to the recent Oxford Economics study (and the one by Lexology) which showed the benefit of a strong national carrier - in this case, Air Serbia. It contributes Eur700m to the economy, making up approx. 1.5% of the country's GDP. Further, it keeps 21,000 people directly and indirectly employed - all whom are paying taxes and contributing to the Treasury. Kill or weaken Air Serbia and you create a heap of other unwanted problems ... This is all good - "Fortress Balkans"

    3. I did read Oxford study but I've also read a similar study (don't remember where now) that correlates increase in number of airline passengers and the increase in local economy. The story is that with more pax you have more tourists, they have to sleep and eat somewhere buy souvenirs etc. Than portion of those are business pax so there is an increase in local economic activity (wouldn't think that the availability of good air connections is huge limit to business in those areas abut what do I know). On the other hand you have the local airline that hires locally, those people live and spend their earnings locally, pay taxes etc. Which has bigger impact overall is hard to say as many of these things are hard to measure. Don't get me wrong I'm always for strong local ownership in everything (I'm not much of a modern neo-liberal) but I'm just saying that there are two sides to every story, it just matters what angle you take or in this case who is paying for the study...

      Anon 3:17,
      As far as protectionism goes, I really don't know EU laws so it's hard for me to comment. What I do know is that in NA there is a lots of it with the obvious example being highly politicized and ever lasting Canada-UAE issues.

    4. BTW Anon 3:17, I’m wondering what are the mechanisms EU uses to prevent local aviation authorities or airport owners to set preferential rules for any airlines. To me, if I was the owner of an airport basic I'd think that i have the right to set the pricing policy any way I like. Because effectively there is a competition and if I go overboard companies would switch to other airports I would have negative net effect on my bottom line. I’m not sure if EU sees some or all of the airports as queasy monopoly in which case they keep the strong watch over it. If you know more about this or (or anybody else) I’d love to hear how this work. (“profesionalna deformacija” I guess as I do a lot of regulatory affair type of work now a days)

    5. JATBEGMEL18:55


      If EU doesnt allow protectionism, why did LH force JU out of HAM several years ago?

    6. Anonymous21:55

      Do not forget that EC investigate Adria, SAS, Air Baltic, LOT and som other ailines and that CSA had big problems and that Malev and Sabena do not exist any more

    7. I think Sabena went bankrupt for reasons other than the European Commission.

      All decisions that are made by Brussels are political, including the one on Malév.
      If the European Union was so keen on fighting against protectionism then why did the European Parliament vote against the liberalization of the ground handling business in Europe? Transport is a shared competence within the EU so they could have actually increased the level of competition.
      Unfortunately, there are many, many similar examples.

  5. Anonymous14:23

    OT: Most JU flights departed BEG today with little or no delay, according to FR24. The greatest delay of all flights at BEG today was Wizz flight to Beauvais, which is delayed for more than five hours.

    1. Anonymous18:51

      W6 flight to BVA had a 40-minute delay.
      WZZ 4045 PARIS BEAUVAIS 17:30 18:00 A9 Airbus A320 Airborne at 18:09

  6. Anonymous17:04

    GWI neka povede odma i sestru/brata SWR da nesmetaju JU.
    OS i LH mogu da ostanu :)

  7. Anonymous17:07

    GAF eurofighter crashed with a Learjet!
    A German Air Firce (GAF) Eurofighter crashed with a Learjet at Olsberg , sauerland west Germany. The eurofighter were able to land on an air Force base near cologne but the learjet crashed. If and how much people died is not knowen so far The rescue teams found the Jet and began with the rescue operations.
    The Eurofighter was on a traing flight tigether with a nother. In the learjet were to persons, one passanger and the pilot.
    More informations later.
    INN :)

  8. Anonymous19:36

    Geramnwings, Adria, no flights
    less flights from Turkish, Wizz, Lufthansa, Swiss.
    # they pay Belgrade airport taxes
    = less money for Belgrade

    More flights from Air Serbia
    # but they don't pay taxes to Belgrade Airport at all (100% discount)
    = how will Belgrade Airport work, from where will they finance their costs?

  9. Anonymous19:42

    You said that it is not important that Wizz cuts 50% of their flights. And that we can conclude that Belgrade airport policy is not good if some other companies start to cut frequencies.

    Now not just one or two, but 5 companies cut approximately 50% of their flights. So, what is our conclusion now? Or we still don't have to be worried and have to wait? Till when? Till all companies will remove from Belgrade?

    1.300.000 Air Serbia passengers = 100% discount
    500.000 Wizzari passengers = 0% discount
    300.000 Lufthansa group passengers = 0% discount
    200.000 Turkish passengers = 0% discount

    Protectionism! The worst one, like in communist era! And here are results. They start to cut flights. Bravo Belgrade! That is very good for Serbia!

    1. Anonymous19:51

      Your statistic is incorrect since Jat did not pay its fees. Also, Wizz Air did not pay full fees until a month ago and you do not know whether Lufthansa pays full fees. There is actually a payment policy at BEG which outlines how many passengers you have to have to get discounts. So I don't know how you know whether Wizz Air, Lufthansa or Turkish pay full feed. Also airlines are not leaving because of fees (you should know Charleroi was Wizz Air's worst performing route and they have actually cut several routes over the past few years and added others, like Larnaca for example).

      P.S Belgrade Airport is about to be given for concession
      P.S.S Belgrade Airport has quite a healthy profit.

    2. Anonymous20:12

      Let me remind you about Wizzair press material explaining cutting 50% of their flights. Main problem was that discounts were not based on number of routes and passengers but they were design just to make benefits for Air Serbia and nothing to others.
      100% discount is not fair in any way. And what more Air Serbia is collecting airport tax from passengers and then they don’t pay that service to airport. That is fraud and against law.

    3. Anonymous20:19

      No you are wrong actually. Passenger taxes and handling/landing fees are two different things. JU does not pay handling/landing but it pays other fees charged through taxes which are regularly payed out to the airport and you can find that easily by flicking through the airport's financial reports for Q1 2014. You had the absolute same thing with Jat so I fail to see your point.

      Same with Wizz Air, discounts were not based on number of passengers (they got it on day one) which is not fair in any way. It put other low cost airlines, like Germanwings which didn't get benefits in a bad position.

    4. Anonymous20:28

      Yes but in same time Air Serbia pays 17 EUR per passenger and Wizz 33 per passaneger + JU does not pay for handling and lending.

      I just wonder from where will BEG pay for costs and salaries if just Air Serbai stays in BEG.

    5. Anonymous20:32

      25 scheduled airlines fly to Belgrade. I think they will survive

    6. Anonymous21:40

      There are multiple reasons why some flights are ceased. If a company wants to cut costs by cutting bad performing lines, if there is no cutting policy but simply they are performing badly, if they are facing increased competition on a certain route, seasonality, incompentecne etc etc. And then at the end - protectionism.

      Germanwings cut it's flights to Cologne 2 years ago (before Air Serbia). Wizz surprisingly cut its flights to Rome before Air Serbia. Swiss has increased competition not from Air Serbia but from two other airlines. Wizz flew to a place 180km away from Oslo. Adria - Air Serbia destroyed them with dumping prices plus enabling connections from BEG (on the other hand, who in the world would use Ljubljana as a transit point).

      Wizz acted strangly a couple of times. Let me remind you how Aviokarta was asking multple times when there would be Barcelona flights? Their response was: yes, we are aware of Spanair's success on that route, but we will have to think about it. Then Vueling jumped it.

      As much as I agree that protectionism CAN be a reason for a flight to be ceased, this does not look like one.

    7. Wizz cut flights to Fiumicino because it becomes too expensive and transferred routes to Ciampino. My guess is that they didn't manage to secure enough slots for all their routes and kept only strongest ones ( from Romania ). But I believe that BEG-FCO had good loads. Much better than EasyJet now. Don't know how AirSerbia fares now. Any insight?

    8. Anonymous11:17

      Wizz Air's load to FCO was 66% which is catastrophic for lowcost airlines, especially when you are selling tickets for €50.

      easyJet's load is around 75% but during the last couple of weeks it was around 85%.

  10. Anonymous20:14

    @Anon at 7:42
    Your comments are a pinnacle of investigative journalism. Thank you for uncovering first part of this great conspiracy. You deserve to learn about the second part:

    This is all part of Lufthansa Group plan to take over the world. By pulling from BEG, the only airline eventually left flying out of BEG will be Air Serbia. But as you said, since Air Serbia does not pay anything, Belgrade Airport will have to go bankrupt and will be shut down completely. That would force move of Air Serbia to Nis Airport.

    After a few months, Lufthansa Group will make a deal with Govt of Serbia (secret deal, of course) to take exclusive ownership of Belgrade Airport. As a new owner, LH would prevent Air Serbia from ever coming back to Belgrade Airport. BEG airport would get new Terminal 3 built and LH would grow BEG into the largest airport in the region, just to stick it to the French in ZAG. That’s the truth!

    1. Anonymous20:30

      And that should be funny or what?

    2. Anonymous20:48

      No, this is serous, just like Anon at 7:42. Same thing.

  11. Anonymous22:01

    Does anyone remember that just few days ago on this blog was an article about IST and SAW issue with Air Serbia ... at that time this was an injustice and an unfair protectionistic approach toward Air Serbia .... but when Air Serbia is being protected by BEG that this is ok.

  12. Anonymous22:03

    I am dead serious that Air Serbia with it's present business model of hoovering 4 coupon passengers via BEG cannot make any profit unless legally or illegally subsidized by the government either way. Just as a benchmark: Ryanair with low cost model and Y189 aircraft needs a yield of 85€ o.w. per passenger/sector and 85% load factor to break even. Plus ancillaries, most of (like seat reservation, food on board) and similar none of offered by Air Serbia.Now our national carrier offering mostly 200€ tickets (FRA-SKG, TLV etc.) gets 50€ per coupon and even the 2 sector flights like ZRHBEGZRH are mostly thrown away for less then 250€ return. As someone who works for 25 years in airline revenue business, I tell you Air Serbia CANNOT make profits unless 75% of the passenger cabin is sold on 2 sector coupons (XYZBEGXYZ) at minimum 250€ RT and not to forget mimum load factor 80%. Presently far, far heavy delays with lousy performance and paying penalties to passengers loosing their connection via BEG. We had couple days ago 8 pax BUDBEGLCA (on bagatelle fares) rerouted next day BUDFRALCA on LH/CY plus HOTAC paid by Air Serbia! DBC according calculate!

    1. Anonymous01:05

      What a retard. Show me where Air Serbia management committed to be profitable by June of 2014. And this has been repeated here many times, so that is really a zero IQ comment!

    2. Anonymous03:37

      @AnonymousJune 23, 2014 at 10:03 PM

      Didn't you know, you can't say such things about Air Serbia, you see some nationalist trolls don't believe in logic and when you post any logical and devastating conclusions based on your experience and 25 years knowledge, than you're no expert on this subject, a nationalist troll with OQ of a squirrel knows best, he can teach you a thing or two, like why airlines loosing money is a good thing.

      After all Mr Kondic said Air Serbia will brake even this year, and we all know Mr. Kondic is never to be questioned, bar the logic behind Mr Kondic statement, and considering the massive debt Air Serbia/JAT owes to its taxpayers (around $465 million), I am interested to find how Mr Kondic came up with $465 million or plans to come up with $465 million this year to brake even.

      Or is Mr Kondic referring to Air Serbia's this year's only operations will brake even and $465 million debt AS owes to Serbian tax payers will magically disappear, now you see it, and now you don't.

      Anonymous June 23, 2014 at 10:03 PM I totally agree with your sentiments, Air Serbia is bleeding money, left right and center, but stupid nationalist here are too blind to see the obvious, I can see Ethiad leaving Air Serbia by early 2018 in mountain of massive debts, $1.0 billion deep, and Serbian tax payers will pick up the tab. Brilliantly executed. UAE got some cheap agricultural land for god knows how long and Serb Tax payers ended up footing the $1.0 billion left over by Air Serbia/JAT and Mr Kondic fiasco.

      Sadly, as usually with such things, in Serbia powerful and rich do not go to jail, they just stash their millions in Cypriot bank accounts and live off interest while the poor of Serbia end up footing the bill.

    3. Anonymous04:43

      Air Serbia sve bolje radi i tebi to sve teže pada. Svaki put isto ponavljaš ali ne pomaže. Probaj neke nove pilule, ove ti ne rade.

    4. Anonymous07:44

      The average ticket price on Ryanair is ~EUR 46 (2012 data). So much about your insights.


    5. Anonymous07:46

      "Breakeven load factor in fiscal 2012 was 70%; the booked passenger load factor for the year
      was 82%" (Ryanair)

  13. Anon 7:42,

    If you bothered to check the Airport's reports, you would have seen that Air Serbia does not get a 100% discount.

    And also, why don't you mention that Air Serbia has a ground service company (ASGS) which handles JU's handling, saving airport fees for JU? No other carrier in BEG has this, so other carriers must pay more.

    1. Anonymous22:56

      And you did not read article several days ago on this blog?

  14. Anonymous22:53

    ovo stvarno nema smisla. Sve najjace svetske kompanije(Wizz,Germanwings...) ukidaju letove i odlaze. Krivac je normalno Air Serbia. Po mom misljenju treba ukinuti nacionalnog avioprevoznika i to pod hitno.Ako to nije moguce ukinite Srbiju!

    1. Anonymous23:20

      Hehe, divan spin Star alijanse. Više od 10 godina su radili na BEG šta su hteli. Samo ovoga meseca dolaze tri nove kompanije, o kakvom masovnom odlasku aviokompanija govorimo?! Pogledajte statistiku.

    2. Anonymous23:47

      Anonymous at 10:53 PM
      GWI i WZZ najjace kompanijee
      Od Star alijanse vazno je da ostanu DLH,AUA,LOT,TAP
      A za ukidanje JU/Srbije ne odlucuju rasisti/nacionalisti/manijaci,
      Izvinite na vulgarnosti :)

    3. Anonymous23:51

      Не разумем како неко може толико смањење летова страних компаније у свега два месеца прогласити добрим за Србију. Људи па Визз је смањио летове за пола, одлазе и други. И није ту крај. А ми методе протекционизма сматрамо добрим. За кога? За путнике? Само гледајте како ће цене отићи у небеса када Аир Сербија постави монопол. А на који начин? Неприхватљив протекционизмом са позиције данашњег модерног пословања. Државним уредбама и 100% попустима.

    4. Anonymous00:04

      da se mene pita ja bih im platio samo da lete iz Beograda.

    5. Anonymous00:08

      Evo upravo i Vueling napusta Beograd.

    6. Anonymous01:20

      @Anon 11:51

      Ako su tvoje kataklizmicke pretpostavke tacne i Air Serbia uspostavi monopol i podigne cene u nebesa kao sto kazes, zar se nece tada druge kompanije dosetiti da one mogu jeftinije da prevoze putnike? Zar se nece onda rasiriti Wizz, Easyjet i mozda Ryanair po Beogradu? Pa naravno da hoce, nema razloga za dramu.

    7. Anonymous01:43

      Wizz, Germanwings су најјаче светске компаније? Звучиш као неко чији приходи зависе од истих. У капитализму се мораш брзо прилагођавати променама на тржишту. Ако ниси био ове у последњих годину дана, треба да прилагодиш пословање тамо где је раст, а то је Аеродром Београд и Ер Србија. Отвори нови ресторан или дјути фри шоп на аеродрому, буди добављач или барем пилот Ер Србије, они који су се прилагодили успевају. Проблем је што се ниси прилагодио на време.

      Оне две не да нису најјаче светске компаније, нису ни близу врха. Време је да почнеш да учиш и да се мењаш.

    8. Anonymous16:03

      menjacu se zajedno sa tobom i kapitalizmom

    9. Anonymous16:05

      Ovde ima vise bolida nego u F1

  15. Anonymous23:57

    So true!

  16. Anonymous07:51

    I am not happy to see any airline reduce the number of flights (especially LX), but with JU's expansion, pax in BEG have a much larger choice of direct flights/destinations. What once took a connection in MUC/FRA/VIE/ZRH now is available as a direct non-stop flight with better schedules, shorter times, etc.

    And it's not only JU. You can now travel to LIS, BCN which used to require connections.

    We can expect the number of flights to Germany, Switzerland increase with growth in economic output and trade between those countries and Serbia. The high number of flights between VIE and BEG is not only because of VFR pax, but also because of high number of business travelers (Austria is one of the biggest investors in Serbia).

  17. JATBEGMEL09:42

    To get some things straight, JU doesnt pay for ground handeling to BEG as JU has its own (Air Serbia Ground Services). JU must pay for the facilities it uses, from jet bridges, to fuel, landing/take offs etc, which it regularly does, something that Jat Airways in the past didnt (not because it was free, but because they just didnt pay it).

    Fuel is cheaper for JU in BEG as the price was agreed with NIS. Lets not forget that in the past there was a huge price on fuel for Jat because the management failed to pay for that as well. Then there was Jat Ketering, as well as Jat Tehnika who failed to get cash from the old Jat too. JU as the largest airline in BEG contributes the most to the profits of BEG, from the services it pays to it, to the transit pax using the facilities in BEG, the shops its pax purchase from etc. Profit isnt only from ground handeling.

    The airlines pulling out of BEG match those coming to BEG as well, and more are scheduled to come. AF and BA are expecting to return, LOT stayed all year instead of seasonal, TP begins in the next few days to LIS, Vueling from BCN, U2 have increased opps from BEG, as well as F7 and LX from GVA.

    The reductions from TK were forced upon them due to bilaterals and I am happy for that. LH reduced a daily from MUC, but JU is looking into re-opening MUC (read: competition).

    Lets also not forget that the rise of Air Serbia employed hundreds of youth who would otherwise be unemployed, who also pay taxes to Serbia and who will contribute to the Serbian economy by spending their salary in Serbia. As well, the rise in transit pax also contributes to our economy as mentioned, the hotels they stay in, the souvenirs they buy, the food they eat, the drinks they drink, which in turn employs more people.

    And finally, Ar Serbia has by far improved from the old Jat Airways lets not forget. It still has room for improvement, but remember it has come a long way. The airline is finally growing, something Jat hasnt accomplished for over a decade.

  18. Anonymous17:38

    Dear EX-YU Admin, when you will delete all Dalmatian flights from this side, because it's another big "BULL SHIT" like Air Croatia...


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