Air Serbia considering more long haul destinations

Air Serbia is considering the possibility of introducing additional long haul flights and is analysing potential destinations. According to the carrier's Chairman, Siniša Mali, the airline is eyeing points in North America. "We are considering flights to Canada, Chicago and some other destinations. We are undertaking analysis but no decision has been made. However, it is certainly a logical continuation for Air Serbia's future development. When you have one wide body aircraft, then you open up the possibility to have another one", Mr Mali said. He added, "Of course we are thinking of moving forward with our partner Etihad Airways, but I do not want to make any presumptions. When we make a concrete decision and see how this route [New York] performs financially, we will announce our plans".

The Serbian Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, said, "The government is working on and negotiating for the establishment of flights to Chicago, and, I hope, services to Canada as well". Earlier this year, the Vice Chairman of Air Serbia and the President and CEO of the Etihad Aviation Group, James Hogan, said the Serbian carrier could expand in North America in the future. "We have already considered flights to Chicago and Toronto and these services could be introduced in two to three years. First off, the New York route must become functional. We don't want to make a decision that would set Air Serbia back", Mr Hogan said at the time. Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, said the carrier chose New York over Chicago as its first long haul destination because it wanted to maximise profits and could attract more passengers, rather than predominantly ethnic traffic.

In order for the airline to add additional long haul flights, it will have to obtain more wide body jets. Mr Mali previously noted that a second Airbus A330 could join the fleet by the end of the year. Last week, he said, "If we managed to get an A330, there is no reason why we couldn't get hold of another two or three, but we will see when the time comes". Last November, during Air Serbia's press conference dedicated to its ambition to introduce flights to New York, Serbia's Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, said that the Chinese capital, Beijing, would likely become the airline's next long haul destination.


  1. Anonymous09:05

    Makes sense to go for Chicago and Toronto.

    1. Anonymous09:25

      The Balkan Diaspora is huge in Chicago and Toronto. If Air Serbia's prices are 10-20% less than AF, KLM, Lufthansa etc. then it can work. Don’t forget that Cargo is also a factor. So, the potential is there.

    2. Anonymous09:47

      You do not understand meaning of word huge. 25000 ljudova is not huge. There are more Serbs living in Ohio than in Chicago.

    3. Anonymous09:51

      Why would the prices need to be lower than the competition? I'm sure people would be more than happy to pay the same or even a small premium for direct flights.

    4. Anonymous15:42

      There is at least 300,000 ex-yugos living in greater Toronto and Chicago.

    5. Anonymous17:59

      So every 10th citizen of Toronto is from exYU? Sure...

      By 2011 Canadian Census:

      English 333,220 12.9
      Chinese 308,690 12.0
      Canadian 291,665 11.3
      Irish 250,460 9.7
      Scottish 245,545 9.5
      East Indian 195,590 7.6
      Italian 177,065 6.9
      Filipino 140,420 5.5
      German 119,030 4.6
      French 115,300 4.5
      Polish 98,315 3.8
      Portuguese 93,050 3.6
      Jamaican 81,380 3.2
      Jewish 78,860 3.1
      Ukrainian 64,875 2.5
      Russian 62,850 2.4

      So, even if 50% of Croats, Serbs, Montenegrin etc. would not declare themselves as member of those nations (for any reason), that should be seen in this table.

    6. Anonymous23:28

      I said greater Toronto & Chicago - combined. If you count first and second generations, there you go.

  2. Anonymous09:09

    Well if an airline like Air Transat starts Toronto next summer then Air Serbia has no chance.

    1. Anonymous09:36

      Ha ha ha!

    2. Like who would fly with AT?P eople avoids them as it is a big pile of garbage. Hope our government do not allow them to fly here. Even silly Canadian Rouge is better then AT .

    3. Anonymous10:52

      You do know that won many awards, including the 2012 Skytrax World's Best Leisure Airline Award. And that their review is high. Plus, they have more and more passengers every year. You want to tall me it is because they are bad and people hate them?

    4. I flew AT many times,long and short haul and have nothing but good experience.

    5. Anonymous14:42

      Flying with AT is fine to the Caribbean , but I would not want to be stuck in A330 with 350 seats for 9-10 hours.

    6. Anonymous18:00

      2012 Skytrax WORLD'S BEST Leisure Airline Aword!!!!!

    7. Anonymous09:21

      Competition is good! Let's hope there's enough demand for decent load factors on both airlines, and that they work to undercut each other.

    8. Anonymous02:11

      Air Transat is far superior it Air Canada Rouge. Transat's A330's are actually quite nice. Transat has everything Rouge doesn't: IFE, newer planes, nice cabin.... etc.

  3. Anonymous09:16

    PEK/PVG seems to make more sense than another North American destination. Relations are booming with China.

    1. Anonymous09:21

      True. A few years ago data was showing Shanghai as having the most passengers of any longhaul market from BEG, even more than USA to my surprise.

    2. Anonymous09:33

      No flights were announced during official visit so not likely to go PEK/PVG next.

  4. Anonymous09:25

    Chicago seems more likely than Toronto. What's wrong with Toronto?

    1. Anonymous09:36

      Toronto je mnogo vise sezonski.

    2. Anonymous09:50

      Ok onda Toronto može da bude sezonski let.

  5. Anonymous09:49

    The issue here is the regional network and to what will all these flights connect to? O&D is not enough to make these flights reality. Just look at the 05.30 arrival to JFK. Besides TGD, LJU and ZAG there is nothing to connect to. It might be ok in summer when there is more movement but what will happen in winter when there is considerably less p2p?

    1. Anonymous10:57

      JU500 never arrives to JFK at 05.30. If you mean the 05.30 arrival _from_ JFK (JU501) it connects with the entire morning wave in BEG. The issue here are inbound connecting flights for the 07.30 departure but still some 8-9 early morning arrivals are able to catch with JU500.

    2. Anonymous13:10

      Yes, sorry, I meant the arrival from JFK. Also, it catches the entire morning wave but do you seriously expect anyone to fly JFK-BEG-STR/ARN/CDG/FCO...?

    3. Anonymous13:28

      There is also connection to OTP and ATH with Tarom and Aegean on some days . There is codeshare with them . It would be nice if they introduce morning flight to Larnaca (like TLV). That would be nice for P2P passanger.

    4. Anonymous13:40

      Anon 1:10,

      'Entire morning wave' includes TGD, LJU, ZAG, OTP, TIV and ATH. On days when JU501 lands at 10:30 comfortable connections are ATH, DBV, SOF, SKG, SKP, TGD, SPU and SJJ.

      It could be better but it's not bad either.

    5. Anonymous13:45

      If you arrive from JFK at 5.30 tomorrow, you can catch the following flights: Tivat, Kiev, Podgorica, Ljubljana and Zagreb within few hours (On Friday also Athens, Moscow, Prague and Tel Aviv). Quite fine. For the complete regional network you would need to wait the early afternoon wave. This is indeed a somewhat longer layover, but really not that uncommon. ASL could not pick and chose slots at JFK at the beginning. This is what they got. It will get better and better gradually, as explained by ASL director in a recent interview. At this moment, it is not ideal, but it is not at all bad.

    6. Nemjee16:31

      Many airlines offer long connecting times between two flights. However, it's not the same if you have to spend eight hours in BEG or in MUC. Belgrade airport is fine if you are spending one hour there but anything beyond that is bad.

    7. Anonymous17:09

      Ne pricaj svasta kad sam stigao u FRA avionom iz NYC u 4.30 trebalo je docekati let za BEG. Nemaju stolice u kojima mozes da lezis. Ko ima pristup u lounge i nekako. Sve sto mozes da radis je da trosis novacu u MUC u skupim radnjama i to treba da popravi u ponudi BEG.

    8. Nemjee17:13

      To sto ih ti nisi nasao ne znaci da ih nema. Sledeci put prodji kroz one hodnike izmedju terminala pa ces ih naci tamo.
      A sto se tice Minhena, on je sa razlogom izglasan kao najbolji aerodrom u Evropi. A interesantno je da se bunis sto nema nista sem skupih radnji kada na beogradskom aerodromu imas samo jedan duty free shop gde su prenaduvane cene (300% uvecane).

    9. Anonymous17:35

      Ja se bunim sa stanovista zarade kompanije ciji sam mali suvlasnik ne kao putnik. Cene u BEG duty free nisu razlicite od cena u drugim Dufry shopovima po evropi tako da zaista ne znam zasto to pricas.

      Ima par onih dugackih, ali one su uglavnom zauzete i NEMA ih dovoljno. Znaci sedista sa naslonima za ruke ili prevelikim razmacima sedista nisu dobra.

    10. Nemjee17:43

      Sledeci put onda leti preko Beca posto tamo imas onih krevata koliko hoces. ;)

  6. Дечко Тзар10:13

    Toronto obviously needs a boost, so couple of things to consider to help Toronto:

    BEG is closer to YYZ than to ORD, with less airport congestion in YYZ than ORD = easier to fit in a 24 hour window

    Partner with Air Canada or Westjet for additional feed across Canada

    Expand regional connectivity and frequency for better ethnic coverage, this will benefit JFK and ORD as well.

    Start with 2x-3x weekly services if not confident about demand. Can be mixed with 2x-3x weekly ORD service so both YYZ and ORD can be flown by a second A330. Or add a 3rd A330, bump up JFK to daily if possible and serve both ORD and YYZ 4x-5x a week.

    Air Transat is adding ZAG frequency for 2017, a sign that YYZ demand is healthy in the region

    Ask majority owner to work with Canada as diligently as with China to boost investments, trade and tourism and increase business travel and cargo demand as a result

    Ask Canada to allow EY BEG-YYZ codeshare for AUH-BEG-YYZ tickets similar to what was approved for JFK. However unlike JFK, EY is serving YYZ only 3 times per week as it shares rights with EK, so JU could get AUH feed on days EY does not serve YYZ.

    Failing to seize the opportunity and start BEG-YYZ might invite competitors to start first.

    If everything else fails, start seasonal service only.

  7. Anonymous10:37

    It will be interesting too se how things will develop for them in the future. Long haul makret could also influence its inter-European network.

    1. Anonymous10:55

      And how you enplane that only 5% of JFK ticket was sold in third countries (35% in Serbia and 60% in USA). So that is just 750 tickets in Montenegro, Bosnia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Albania, Lebanon and Cyprus.

    2. Anonymous10:58

      You do realize that of those 60% sold in the US, 30% of them could have been purchased by people continuing to Montenegro, Bosnia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Albania, Lebanon and Cyprus.

    3. Anonymous11:02

      60% in USA includes many customers who transit to other countries. They may be people from various countries who live in the USA. For sure not all of them are Serbian diaspora who fly O&D.

      Not to mention that if a ticket is bought online - and the server is located in the US - then it counts as a ticket purchased in the US although the customer may have been in Romania or anywhere else.

      Sorry but your "750 tickets per country" allocation makes absolutely zero sense - even as an assumption.

    4. Milivoje Rodic11:16

      I came this morning from OTP and there was few people continuing to JFK. I wish ASL big success!

    5. Anonymous11:46

      JU500 at 0730 offers good connections to passengers originating from SKG, SOF, SKP, TIA, ATH, LCA, OTP and BEY. I would say that's not a bad feed, though they could try squeezing more exYU destinations (ZAG, LJU, SJJ) into that early arrival wave. And PRN for sure, if it ever opens.

    6. Anonymous12:58

      True is that some of those 60% are connected to region, but for sure 750 ticket sold in entire region shows that connectivity is not good, and that there is not "huge" interest for those flights in ex Yu + Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Albania and Lebanon. Maybe there is some interest from Diaspora in USA to make connections, but for sure potential passengers from region use some other connections as just 750 tickets was sold for USA flights in wider region.

      It is not true that server located in USA is counted as USA sold ticket. Don't speak total nonsense!

    7. Anonymous13:01

      Whoever was teaching you math back in primary school did a terrible job...

    8. Anonymous13:17

      Sour grapes... Please try better.

    9. JATBEGMEL13:49

      @ anonymous 11,46am

      JU wants to add a second daily service to SJJ during the midnight wave however SJJ refuses to remain open during the night. SJJ could go well in the morning wave, even as a split morning and afternoon, however the problem is the shortage of ATR's

      I think ZAG and LJU are growing and its too early to put a 3rd daily. It would be too reliant on O&D.

    10. Anonymous13:59

      Hi, I'm from Greece and I wish AirSerbia to continue in winter time the morning flights to SKG and ATH. They trully are very convenient for us to catch the flight to JFK.

    11. @ JATBEGMEL

      Can they work around it to comply with SJJ working hours. Could they make one afternoon rotation, and/or add one that would be the last inbound flight to SJJ of the day and the first one out in the morning? What are the opening hours of SJJ airport ground services anyway. VIP louges operate from 05:00-22:00, so the ATR flight departing at 05:30 would be theoretically possible.

    12. Nemjee16:09

      SJJ-BEG can depart at 06.00 and arrive to BEG at 06.45 which means that it could connect onto New York. The question is if there are enough passenger to justify this flight. Also, if I remember correctly SJJ closes at 22.00 meaning Air Serbia would have to leave BEG at 21.10- which would be stupid.

    13. Anonymous17:27

      Koliko puta treba da ti se objasni da ne interesuje Air Serbi-u gde idu te karte i ko ih kupuje. One su PRODATE leteo neko sa njima ili ne.

    14. Anonymous17:33

      Air Serbia does care who buys tickets to where, that's how they plan their future strategy.

      Last arrival at SJJ right now is from Zag at 1050. I guess 10pm departure from BEG is still too early to connect from the last wave?

    15. Nemjee17:39

      Last anon,

      Yes, unfortunately it would still be too early if it departed at 22.00. The earliest logical departurewould be at 23.40, that is at the same time as BEY.

      Personally I find this curfew idiotic. I am sure JU is not the only airline that would introduce night flights.

    16. JATBEGMEL17:40

      @ Eight

      According to the SJJ website, the airport opens from 0600 to 2300, with check in opening from 0500.

      Departing at 0600 would mean a 0655 arrival, meaning that flight would lose most of the connections.

      One way around this could be having:

      JU110 BEG SJJ 0900 0955 4 p/w
      JU111 SJJ BEG 1030 1125 4 p/w

      This opens up JFK on Fridays and Saturdays, as well some regional connections such as IST, SOF, OTP, ATH, SKG, TIA, SKP.

      JU114 BEG SJJ 1830 1925 3 p/w
      JU115 SJJ BEG 2100 2155 3 p/w

      This opens up more connections to AUH, SVO, BEY, LCA, SKG, SKP, ATH.

      Problem is, there is no available ATR for this. SJJ could do with a second daily. JU has a chronic shortage for the past couple of years on regional aircraft. I'm hoping this experimentation of regional jets will help JU decide on a type and double the regional ac in the fleet.

    17. JATBEGMEL17:45

      @ nemjee

      CSA didn't launch SJJ due to the night curfew.

    18. Nemjee17:49

      Which is tragicomic since SJJ management said that they are not lifting it as there is no commercial justification for it. From the top of my head, I am sure JU, OS and LH would be the first ones to revise their SJJ schedule.

      I remember when JA flew to BEG, they scheduled the flights as 45 minutes. If JU can do the same and then offer 25 minute connections (like MUC and WAW do) then SJJ could connect to MXP, HAM, TXL, ZRH, JFK and LJU.
      These should be enough to fill an Atr.

    19. JATBEGMEL18:26

      @ nemjee

      flying time is roughly 20-30 mins depending on the ac used. 45 min block time is doable but is tight.

      I wonder what JU's quickest transfer is. I have seen ASGS staff wait for flights in BEG with boards for connecting pax.

    20. Nemjee18:47

      But since the aircraft is sitting the whole night at the airport, I am sure they can put the block time as 45 minutes. SJJ allows planes to taxi before six, just not to take off. If they line up on the runway and take off at six, I am sure they can even reduce the block time to 40 minutes.

      Well, as far as the shortest connecting time goes, I think there are some exceptions (ARN onto BEY) but it's never under than 40 minutes.

    21. JATBEGMEL02:42

      @ nemjee

      taxi time in BEG can be as much as 10 mins, depending on stand and runway used. 40 mins block time is not doable.

      Thanks for the info on connections.

  8. Anonymous10:38

    I doubt that new long haul destinations would be launched during the winter season. Probably not until next summer.

  9. Anonymous10:43

    Start with 2x-3x weekly services if not confident about demand. Can be mixed with 2x-3x weekly ORD service so both YYZ and ORD can be flown by a second A330. This is good advice.

  10. What is happening in Ohrid,TUI an Cook Belgium,departed and went straight to TIV.WAIT,WHAT?

    1. Its me11:38

      Relax. The routing is BRU-OHD-TIV-BRU.

    2. Explain TUI Dutch route....

    3. Guess Whos not cleva12:11


    4. cleva?Thanks on info,i thought there is some emrgency in Ohrid

  11. When it comes to Air Serbia long-haul destinations, Beijing, Toronto and Chicago have all been mentioned numerous times. The problem is that they keep being talked about by politicians not by company officials. So I would pull the brake on wishfull thinking.

    Austrian is now on their third attempt to make Chicago work for them, with their significant Eastern European feed they have.

  12. Anonymous13:50

  13. Anonymous14:32

    Kao sto se zan vec dize vreme nadam se da ce se to i ispuniti .
    2 A330 mogao bi da leti 3 pw ORD i 2 pw YYZ.
    3 A330 mogao bi da leti 2 pw LAX i 3 pw PEK.

  14. Anonymous15:41

    Admin, can I kindly ask you to make an article about the works at Brač airport. It seems they have already started expending the runway, but it is impossible to google something about it. Hope this will be interesting for other readers here.

  15. I fly from YYZ to BEG three to four times a year. Obviously i would be the happiest if ASL started its non stop service to Toronto. But I have to say just from a passanger point of view that there are lot of of BEG passangers from YYZ throughout the whole year. From YYZ i have a option of about 8-10 cities to connect to BEG. And i have been through all of them.
    Point is that every time i travel there is about 30-40 other passangers on my flight from YYZ that will connect to BEG.
    There is a demand and everyone ia hoping for YYZ-BEG

  16. Anonymous18:12

    Can't wait for YYZ-BEG...2-3 times per week it would be great for everyone!

  17. Anonymous18:23

    I know this probably will never happen, but opening up Belgrade - Perth route would be a milestone not just for Air Serbia but for aviation in general. It would be the first airline to connect Europe nonstop with Australia, which would be great marketing tool itself. If I am not mistaken A330-200 should be able to do this leg.

    1. Anonymous18:55

      Impossible on many levels.

    2. Anonymous19:35

      I don't thnik the a330-200 can cover that

    3. Very funny guy...A330-200 reaching Perth haha

    4. Anonymous20:15

      Yeah but they would first need to put winglets. With them its doable.

    5. Anonymous20:55

      You will pay for development and certification of (bigger) winglets for the 330-200?

    6. Anonymous21:09

      Why not? The flight to Perth will make it more than a sound investment.

    7. Anonymous22:29

      The A330 cannot reach PER from BEG, it is short of range for some 1,000 nm, but via AUH (as in the case of SZ ops)anything is possible. My bet is on BEG-AUH-JNB flights... EY is short of capacity and that is why YU-ARA in its previous life was almost exclusively deployed on AUH-JNB services.

    8. Anonymous01:17

      Its short more than 1,000 nm since you need an extra fuel in case of strong winds.... 1000 nm is "jedva da stigne"
      In real life its short a min of 1500 nm. This discussion is pointless.

    9. JATBEGMEL02:28

      1) There is no sufficient O&D market for non stop.

      2) Such route defeats the purpose of the EY alliance as it bypasses AUH.

      3) An A330 doing such route needs to be fitted with crew rest compartments, which in the A330 eats into cargo space.

      4) I don't think the A330 has the range for such a flight, especially back to BEG.

      Flying via AUH could mean EY drops its frequencies to PER, using its limited slots for other cities. But I see this more happening with AZ. Such a route would also mean a change of crew in AUH and PER, requiring 4 sets of crew for the trip.

      @ anonymous 10,29pm

      AUH is struggling with current capacity, and pax missing flights is not uncommon as AUH struggles to process them in timely manner. That will only get worse until Mid Field Terminal is opened. AUH is a zoo at best in peak times.

      However, EY goal is to streamline product all over the alliance, meaning ac can come an go between airlines when needed. EY still has a long way to go to sort out its issues in AUH to make what youre saying a reality, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it in the future. We already have 9W ac operating on behalf of EY.

    10. The only way you'll see Air Serbia flying to Australia will be as an additional flight to compliment current Etihad flights.
      Other than that, I highly doubt it!

    11. Anonymous09:50

      Since EY already flies to JNB, it would be a far better option for JU to potentially establish direct flights to CPT.

  18. Anonymous19:05

    It's so easy being Mayor of Belgrade that Sinisa Mali also has to be Chairman of Air Serbia. Pathetic.

    1. Anonymous19:19

      There have to be high ranking officials on the board to demonstrate that the airline is majority owned by the government.

    2. Anonymous21:00

      He's the chairman of the supervisory board, not the board of directors - their role should, obviously, be a supervisory one, making sure that the managing board is fulfiling its mandate - exercising their rights as owners.

      But this is one occasion where someone from supervisory board is very visible in company's day to day operations, which is strange to say the least.

  19. Anonymous19:27

    Tonight there will be another night of terror at BEG. :(
    Only CDG, ARN and FRA managed to take off while PUY ended up in BUD with OS from VIE. TK was circling over Romania and is now returning to IST.

    1. Anonymous20:07

      W6 cancelled MMX.

    2. Anonymous20:56

      Actually FKB ended in BUD, and OS diverted to TSR. Also, TGD returned to point of departure.

    3. Anonymous21:07

      OS ended in BUD, it landed right after JU from PUY.

    4. Anonymous21:47

      Why is JU not using INI as alternative anymore?

    5. Anonymous23:27

      There was a big storm in Niš today too, that might be part of the reason


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