Ural Airlines to terminate Belgrade flights

Russian carrier Ural Airlines will suspend its services from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport to Belgrade at the end of August, just nine months after introducing flights between the two cities. The carrier has struggled with poor loads and strong competition on the route from both Air Serbia and Aeroflot, which will now retain their duopoly. Ural initially introduced flights to the Serbian capital in January, with plans to operate only during the winter but extended the service to two per week over the summer as well, utilisng its Airbus A319 aircraft on the route. However, the carrier has been forced to cancel flights on a number of occasions over the past few months due to poor bookings. Ural Airlines plans to operate its last flight from Moscow to Belgrade on August 24.

Russia is one of Belgrade Airport's biggest markets, although demand has softened over the past year due to falling oil prices and sanctions which have had an impact on the Russian economy. Last year, Air Serbia carried 124.696 passengers between the Serbian and Russian capital cities. Furthermore, Moscow was Air Serbia's fourth busiest route during the first quarter of 2016, according to Belgrade Airport. The airline carried 18.632 passengers between the two cities, which was down 17.2% on the same period last year. This is despite the number of Russian tourists visiting Serbia growing by 14% during the Q1 period. In June, Air Serbia launched flights to St. Petersburg, which had a further impact on Ural Airlines which offers connections to a number of cities within Russia through Moscow.

Both Air Serbia and Aeroflot have a wide-ranging codeshare agreement with the Serbian carrier placing its flight numbers and designator code on Aeroflot's services from Moscow to Belgrade, Kazan, Krasnodar, Samara, Sochi and St. Petersburg. In return, Aerfolot codeshares on Air Serbia's flights from Belgrade to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Skopje, Tirana and Tivat. The two airlines maintain a total of 28 weekly flights between Belgrade and Moscow, making it the fourth most frequent route based on the number of departures this summer.


  1. Sad to see them go. They should have given INI a go.

    1. Exactly, INI 2 times per week will work for sure

  2. Anonymous09:38

    I wonder whether this could have worked out had a more established Russian airline started flights like S7 for example.

  3. Anonymous09:39

    They had non existent marketing. I just found out they were flying to BEG 2 weeks ago!

  4. Anonymous09:39

    Interesting that Ural seems to have a dedicated business class cabin.

  5. Anonymous10:17

    BEG has always been a destination of carriers coming and leaving but sadly more airlines left during the last couple of years: AF, BA, BT, OK, TP, HG. On my opinion, JU´s presence in the airport is just overwhelming.

    1. Anonymous10:23

      Almost all the airlines you listed left before Air Serbia was established.

    2. Anonymous11:00

      Exactly, those airlines left years ago, many subsequently signing code share agreements with JAT and ASL. The statement that they left "during the last couple of years" is an outright lie. Anon. 10.17 forgot also JP, squeezed out from BEG by ASL. This is also "sad and overwhelming". When ASL leaves WAW, than it is because it "cannot endure competition". Not much logic there. And JU dominance is a positive thing for Belgrade and Serbia. It leaves much more money in the country and contributes times more to local economy than foreign legacies let alone LCCs ever would.

    3. Anonymous12:48

      Brilliant logic. Well then, keep paying higher fares just to fancy free Wi-Fi, a plastic meal or metal cutlery for a 2h flight in a route where you´d pay at least twice as less if there is no competition.

    4. Anonymous13:16

      Anon 12.48, first you despair because foreign legacies left, than you rant against the domestic legacy. What kind of logic is that? You need to follow some logic to make your argument at least slightly persuasive.

      ASL prices are in the range of its competitors, the other legacy carriers. If you include luggage, seat and other things that are included in ASL ticket, but not in AUA, DHL, then ASL ends up being almost always cheaper, not "at least twice" more expensive.

      Or were you talking about LCCs? Then you should say so. But then the whole line about ASL overwhelming presence and poor sad foreign legacies does not make any sense.
      But than again, LCCs contribute barely nothing to local economy. They are actually often requiring subsidies to operate, making the free market argument a complete joke.

    5. Anonymous13:59

      @Anonymous at 12:48 PM

      Of course we prefer to have less tourism, less options, higher ticket prices, less economic activity if we are to enjoy metal cutlery and Wi-Fly!
      The people who only fly if the price is affordable or those who want many choices can take the bus or stay home.
      We prefer to fly only with the new wings of Europe and its superior service!

    6. Anonymous14:03

      Anon 12:48,

      As you can clearly see from the example of Ural, lower fares are not sustainable for legacy carriers because they bring no yield. Some giants like LH or TK may afford to lose money on short haul flights to BEG (or anywhere in exYU) because they compensate it on connected long haul flights. However, legacy carriers that depend a lot on p2p passengers simply cannot afford low prices. They need to charge more (and offer some benefits to passengers) whereas LCCs are there to charge less the passengers who are comfy with their level of service.

      A free daily insight for you so that you can replace your hate with something non-toxic.

    7. Anonymous14:06

      Same applies to Anon 1:59 who unfortunately seems way too intoxicated and a hopeless case. My bet is on Anon 12:48 to recover.

    8. Dejan14:45

      I think (and hope) that Anon 1:59 is sarcastic of your posts Anon 11:00, 1:16, 2:03 and 2:06 PM

    9. Anonymous16:26

      Anon. 13.59 Oh dear. Let me explain again:
      domestic legacy = more economic activity.
      Foreign legacy = less economic activity.
      LCCs = totally different subject. Also less economic activity, much less, plus subsidies. As good for airports as paradajz tourists are good for tourism. Plus taking business away from domestic bus companies, their main competitors.

      Irony and changing subject does not replace your weak argument.

    10. Dear Anonymous 4:26 PM
      Let me explain that really quick for you because you seem to have zero understanding about aviation or economics.

      More choice of airlines and destinations means more visitors and potential markets.
      More visitors means more economic activity for the country both in tourism and business opportunities.
      More people traveling means that more money is being spent.

      Cheaper tickets means more people will travel and those who were traveling 1-2 times a year will now travel 3-4 or more!
      THIS simple realities have been happening not only ALL over Europe but in the rest of the world as well.

      But if you are unable to think beyond the state run monopolies with strict bilaterals of the 70's and 80's what is happening today makes no sense to you.
      You continue to believe that what is "good" and "familiar" for a person working in a state run company with maximum job security and zero incentive to be productive must also be good for the rest of the people and the country in general.

      Hopefully the change in this attitude that we are witnessing will continue and someday we will be more like the rest of 21st century Europe and less like the 1970's.

    11. Anonymous17:05

      Plane Mad
      Some people really prefer some European not to come at all in Belgrade and spent 300€ if he is going to come by FR or U2 or DY with a 60€ ticket and instead only come if he is paying an 80€ or 100€ JU ticket.
      It would be funny if it wasn't tragic...

    12. Nemjee17:12

      We all remember what Serbian aviation was like before 2010 and how much we used to pay to fly. Since the market was deregulated prices have gone down and all of a sudden it became more affordable to travel.

      Protectionism doesn't suit anyone and it definitely doesn't help in building a healthy and competitive national economy.

    13. Anonymous10:48

      I was not defending protectionism, and it is not fair to bring that in the discussion. You can fly with Wizz and few other LCCs from Belgrade to Paris, Munich, Stockholm and almost to any major major destination already for half of the price. So it is not true that there is no choice. There is choice, much more than, for example, in ZAG, SJJ, TGD or LJU. What bothers me is the belief that the only way forward is by curbing or abolishing the national legacy carrier or all legacy carriers. You are routing for choice by diminishing the choice. You want to destroy to build. It feels to me as a naive simplification. It does not work that way. If it would, much more clever and successful western countries would abolish their legacies decades ago. Ryan air and Easy would rule not only Europe, but also Atlantic travel. There is place for both. The existence of a strong domestic legacy carrier is good for airport, for employment and for economy in general. There should be place in toursim and aviation for paradajz tourist, for students, for backpackers but also for middle class families, business travelers, gastarbeiters.

    14. Anonymous11:17

      Nema brate u Dinkicevoj viziji (i njegovih providjenjem datih sledbenika) avijacije imas samo LCC za sirotinju raju. Covek je jedan takav lik u ekonomiji da je to cudo. Sta drugo da ocekujes od coveka ciji je pajtos "najslusaniji" muzicar u Srbiji. Razbucali bi ti i ove sa bliskog istoka i iz Merike da im se da. Najcudnije je da ti ljudi uglavnom nigde ne lete ili idu samo na sluzbena putovanja. Jedan jako cudan skrticarski rod.

    15. I apologize for the rant, but it pains me to see that there are still a lot of people that fall for neo-liberal/MMF sell everything, liberalize everything mantra so that wealthy foreign corporations have another market at their disposal regardless of how small or big it is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Open Skies and anything else that drives competition, but only if it’s done on equal terms. Call me cynic but I don’t think there is such a thing as free market, or there is, but only when it suits THEM. Just a few notable, recent examples are NAI’s access to US market, or EK’s to Canada or the fact that EU Open Air agreement only really started working when France, Germany and UK built their national airlines into such a powerhouses that (what they believed at the time) no small national airline can ever compete with them. No Russia, or EU or any other world power is ever going to help us. We can only help ourselves. So, embrace your own as much as you can. If that means spending a few extra bucks or euros, or one less summer trip to London for your son or daughter, so be it. Zlatibor or Dubrovnik is also nice too. The alternative is long life of economic and moral slavery, wear diapers at work, brain drain, etc.

  6. Anonymous10:46

    Did anyone fly with them? What's the experience like?

  7. "The airline carried 18.632 passengers between the two cities, which was down 17.2% on the same period last year. This is despite the number of Russian tourists visiting Serbia growing by 14% during the Q1 period"

    So who is carrying the passengers that JU lost AND the extra number of Russian tourists that came to Serbia during the first quarter?
    That is a great marketshare loss, who is benefiting?

    1. Anonymous11:21

      Ural :D Remember that there were a number of flights from Russia to Nis this winter and summer as well.

  8. Anonymous10:59

    Exactly, those airlines left years ago, many subsequently signing code share agreements with JAT and ASL. The statement that they left "during the last couple of years" is an outright lie. Anon. 10.17 forgot also JP, squeezed out from BEG by ASL. This is also "sad and overwhelming". When ASL leaves WAW, than it is because it "cannot endure competition". Not much logic there. And JU dominance is a positive thing for Belgrade and Serbia. It leaves much more money in the country and contributes times more to local economy than foreign legacies let alone LCCs ever would.

  9. Anonymous11:00

    Shame to see any airline go

  10. Dejan12:38

    I fly svo-beg-svo about 9-10 times per year. Ju has now a better product in both economy and business compared to Su. SU flights are always LF over 80% while Ju is 60-70%. On time performance is better with Su, they occasionally have a "miss" while Ju has more frequent mostly "little" but irritating delays. Su flies twice daily with a recognizable schedule that doesn't change day over day ...Ju has very early departures / arrivals to Svo, times when the Aeroexpress train doesn't even operate. The early morning flight brom Beg 3 times per week results in a departure from Svo that is within 30 min after the Su flight left Svo to Beg (scheduling non sense!). Ju has a very convenient departure from Beg at 17:00 but that happens only 3 times per week (2; 4; 6) so if one wants to enjoy the full weekend in Belgrade he can' t use this 17:00 convenient departure as the flight doesn' t operate on Sundays!!...I really try to book Ju WHENEVER POSSIBLE but the schedule they offer sucks! I wrote 2-3 times to customer relations and proposed to consider some changes but my e mails were never answered. I guess they know what they are doing but I feel sorry whenever Su leaves almost full while Ju struggles to fill 50-60% of their seats. What I wrote here is the main reason for the poor loadings and it can be checked easily by going to the Svo web site and by cheking Ju flights since the site provides times for start / end of boarding for each flight ... Compare Su and Ju and you will get the picture. Flying to Beg on Aug 31, i bought Ju ticket but flying to Beg with the evening flight operated by Su as Ju doesn't have a late evening departure. Returning on 06 Sept with Ju 654 at 17:00))) ...really trying hard every time to spend my money while helping the Serbian economy. Conclusion to this long writing...Ju to fix the current schedule and will end up having more pax than Aeroflot!

  11. Anonymous16:26

    Regardless of Ural, I really hope BEG airport managment does something to attract passengers. I know when EK sent them a request for additional information about the airport they could not bother to answer for 2 months.

    1. Dejan16:54

      For foreign airlines to come here and for the existing foreign airlines to increase frequencies and destinations you must WANT them to do so, not to see that as something bad.
      But as long as management cares only about the ASL project all other airlines will be sheen as competitors that need to stay away, not assisted or even invited to this country.
      As long as the "what is good for ASL is good for Serbija" philosophy exists in BEG's management we will continue to miss opportunities and the rest of SouthEastern Europe airports will record much higher growth.

    2. Nemjee17:07

      With INI getting more and more attention, it will be more difficult for BEG to ignore other airlines, especially lowcost ones.

      Now if one day someone decides to activate Batajnica then that's when things will become interesting.

    3. Dejan17:13

      Fully agree Nemjee.
      The phenomenal growth of INI proves that demand exists for cheap air travel. I still can not comprehend why all that potential for travel from the South of the country wasn't allowed to me fulfilled and the airport was not properly operating.
      Or maybe it wasn't allowed to operate.
      Meanwhile neighboring to INI airports in Macedonia, Kosovo and Bulgaria were recording and continue to record huge growth.

  12. Anonymous19:49

    I fly Svo-Beg-Svo about 8-10 times per year. Ju has now a better onboard product compared to Su however Su is better with on time performance, it has it's occasional "misses" but Ju is more irradic where flights are generally not delayed by much but it is somewhat irritating. Su is generally quite full with 75-90% LF while Ju struggles to fill 65-75% of their seats.in general the main reason is scheduling...Su has 2 daily departures and they don't change day over day. Ju has some flights that arrive / depart so early in AM hours that even during that time the Aeroexpress train link to the city doesn't operate. Ju has a very good 17h departure from Beg but that is only 3 times per week (2, 4, 6) so if one wants to spend the weekend in Belgrade the Saturday flight is no big help. I wrote to Ju customer service with suggestions to make changes in the schedule but never got a reply. 3 times per week the Ju morning flights leaves Svo about 30 minutes after Su departure to Beg...complete nonsense. With the above being said current JU scheduling sucks and unfortunately they are seeing a pax decline...what I am describing here can easily be verified on Svo webpage as they actually show the start/ end of boarding times for each flight. Way to Often Ju plane is boarded within 10min while Su boards 20 and over. I personally try to fly Ju as much as possible thinking that my money helps fuel Ju and the Serbian economy rather than already rich Aeroflot but the big issue is the current timetable!!

    1. Anonymous20:30

      Good comment. Since a lot of people from JU visit this site hopefully they consider some of what you said.

    2. Anonymous20:47

      Thank you for all the info Anonymous 7:49PM
      Hopefully you will not be characterized as a hater by the usual cheerleader for giving us all those info.

    3. Anonymous20:49

      One word - idiots. No matter where they fly, they don't take into account any local particularities such as time of transportation leading to the airport, language of staff, cultural differences. One sure way to loose customer even in such pre-eminent markets.

    4. Anonymous21:02

      SU is good because like you said their schedule doesn't change each season and each day. JU should try to push for double daily flights but with two different times. Right now they have three different departures and it's quite annoying.

      I am not surprised they are failing when compared to SU especially since their fares are about the same.

    5. Anonymous21:20

      Same thing with IST. Who is making their schedule for God's sake? TK takes all the pax in the evening, all pax in the morning, PC takes in the afternoon cause they're cheaper so what's left basically flies on JU?

    6. Anonymous21:22

      JU did not get the chance to choose IST slots. Initially they gave them something in mid morning. That's why they moved to SAW for one season.

    7. Anonymous21:27

      No. Initially the Turks gave them middle of the night slots. Then after the diplomatic scandal they got the slots they wanted.

      Funnily enough the slots the Turks initially gave them were much better. lol

    8. Anonymous21:28

      Actually, if to look at it now, that schedule would have allowed them to implement night flights from BEG which wouldn't be all that bad.

    9. Anonymous21:29

      +1 9:27PM

    10. Anonymous21:41

      Any info how this could have happened?

      "never choose Air Serbia in future"
      G Vassalis (Greece) 29th July 2016

      ✅ Verified Review | Thessaloniki to Dusseldorf via Belgrade. First of all electronic check-in is not available. You have to go to the airport to check-in. Anyway we did that. At the boarding pass and at all the screens the boarding time was 04:35, but the airline desided to leave earlier and started to make last call announcements for me and my wife from 04:15! I had to leave our car to the parking and I hadn't yet returned, but my wife was at the airport and they threatened her that the aircraft will leave without us! At 04:25 we were at the gate and they were yelling at us for being late. But according to the boarding pass the boarding hadn't started yet. We were in our seats after literally 2 minutes and the plane departed, almost half an hour early. How is this possible? The food was good, but useless if you lose your flight although you are not late. I will never choose Air Serbia in the future.

    11. Anonymous22:38

      It was up to the crew and they were not allowed to do it. You can't just change the flight time before previously informing the passenger. The least they should have done is to inform them at the check-in.

      Btw do we know when more cities will be added to the online checkin?

    12. Anonymous22:38

      With respect to Svo flights the ideal would be to have a daily 18h departure from Beg arriving late evening to Svo, AC overnight in Svo and fairly reasonable early AM (6-7) departure to Beg. Lh had such a schedule and they were full all the time. Another daily flight coul be with a departure around 8Am from Beg and return with departure from Svo around 2-3pm like JAT had for years in the past. It worked well!

    13. Anonymous22:40

      Isn't that what they were doing in winter?

    14. Anonymous23:20

      They did it last winter adn it was really bad a/c utilisation. Costs were too big to make it stick.

    15. Anonymous02:12

      As regards SVO, better LF on SU birds is hardly a surprise. There are loads of pax heading to China through SVO, and to other Asian destinations with SU. JU handles only P2P, basically. Also, while JU might be departing with 30 minutes delay, their flight time is actually shorter by around 30 minutes because they now use the most direct routing through Ukrainian airspace. Russian planes have to go around, over Belarus and Poland.

    16. Anonymous02:19


      The guy was yelled at by the (Greek) SKG airport staff. They are unusually rude, so I'm not really surprised. Perhaps it was the end of their shift and they were waiting for them to go home.

      Anyway, if the pax are onboard or at the gate, especially with low loads, the flight can depart early, no surprises there. I experienced a lot of really early departures (none with JU, though) ;) I have also been waiting for 15-20 mins in the very hot packed apron bus at SKG tarmac waiting for 1 or 2 remaining pax. So I get their point of view, as well.

      If the flight departed without the pax before boarding time, they would have been eligible for EC261 compensation plus rebooking, I can't really say why would they be that upset about all of this. The only unpleasant thing about the whole experience was the "yelling" by the airport staff.

    17. Anonymous08:21

      AnonymousAugust 8, 2016 at 2:12 AM

      Actually, if you look at FR24, the flight time difference is 5 minutes.

      Anon 2.19

      It created an unnecessary unpleasant situation. Also, the plane couldn't depart early because airport staff wanted it. It had to come from the captain who was probably bored of sitting at the airport and wanted to go home early.
      The culprits here are the SKG staff who handled it really badly.

    18. Anonymous13:06

      Ultimately, the ATC needs to provide clerance as well. But this is how SKG works. They load up the bus early (no jetways at SKG), and if couple of pax are missing to have a full load, they start shouting over the PA. Once everybody is there, they take the bus to the plane and wait until they are cleared to board them. Of course, once that is done, Cpt has no reason to wait any longer.

  13. Anonymous23:25

    Steta sto nece vise leteti ali i tesko je bilo izboriti protiv JU i SU.

  14. http://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1339657&sid=f6bf548baaed38c76646335a4ba17591

    Croatia Airlines business class review from SKP to ZRH via ZAG.


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