TRIP REPORT: Air Serbia, Belgrade - Thessaloniki


Submitted by Veljko Marinković

At the begging of January 2018 I flew from Belgrade to Thessaloniki and back to Belgrade on Air Serbia flight JU522/523. This was not my first flight on this route, I used Jat Airways back in 2012 for summer vacation, and then Air Serbia in January 2014 and again in June 2016. This time, the ticket was the most expensive. Since Air Serbia provides web check-in, I arrived at the airport one hour and twenty minutes before departure and since I travel only with hand baggage, I passed through passport control within a few minutes which really works for me. The airport was not overly crowded.

The main runway at Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia is being heavily overhauled and the taxiway is used as a runway, so Air Serbia deployed a Boeing 737 on this route, because, as I've heard, it does not have a certificate to use its Airbuses for narrow runway operations. I don't know whether this is true, but Wizz Air and easyJet are using Kavala Airport instead of Macedonia Thessaloniki Airport. I have to say that when I saw that the Boeing 737 was flying on this route I could hardly wait for the flight, because my first one was on the Boeing 737 and it was love at first sight (flight). I like to try out new equipment but it was nice to go back to the good old 733. Especially when I saw that YU-AND was parked on the gate which I did not get an opportunity to fly up until now. I flew on all the other Boeings in the fleet, several times.

There were about 50-60 passengers on the flight, boarding and disembarking was fast, so I can say that it was more than a pleasant flight, even though I got a seat next to the aisle, I managed to sit next to the window. In January 2014 the plane was almost full and most passengers were from Greece, so I don't know how Air Serbia is performing on this route now, since the flight back to Belgrade was also with a load factor of 50%.

The crew was friendly and well trained, especially Captain Steva Ignjatović. On board service consisted of a glass of water and you could get another one. I know that this is 50 minute flight, but I do not see how it is a big expense (cut) for a company to provide coffee, tea and some juices. Both flights were on time.

Boeing 737, half empty, sea approach, and it was enough for me to take another Air Serbia flight, but I hope that with this new fares Air Serbia will succeed in adjusting its service versus the ticket price.

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  1. Anonymous09:16

    Jasno je da kompanija pravi gubitke na svim rutama kao Solun. Salju dzet koji trosi ogromnu kolicinu goriva, a treba atr kao za Veneciju. Taj deo kompanije oni preziru a donosi im pare. Zato nemaju ni za kafu.

  2. Anonymous09:28

    A 26.novembra 2013 se gala pocelo, bilo je cak i tople cokolade! A gde su sad...?

    1. Anonymous09:51

      Kada ti Dinkic vodi ekonomiju ne moze dalje da se stigne. U svakom sektoru narodnjaci pokusavaju da glume Tita i njegovu kamarilu 40 godina posle. Krecenje hodnika institucije zbog dolaska ministra npr. Fundamentalno zaostajanje od barem pola veka. Zato im je kesica kakao za tu cokoladu opet nedostizna jer ganjaju prastaru masinu umesto da su ih zamenili sa flotom novijih ATRova. Para ima i mogu da ulazu. Svake godine po novi ATR ili polovni A320 od dotacija Vlade.

  3. Anonymous10:02

    Thank you for sharing with us. So if YU-AND has an all economy configuration of 144 pax and you say there were approx. 50-60 - this makes a LF of almost 38% which for winter is not bad.
    On the other hand, YU-AND will be 33 years old this July!

  4. Anonymous10:43

    I flew SKG to LHR via BEG in April in real business class with AS A320, it was real pleasure to fly that business class intra Europe. Without the business class seats AS does not attract me anymore for European flights

  5. Anonymous11:19

    50-60 pax is not quite bad considering this is the worst period of the year for aviation.

  6. Anonymous12:24

    Is it normal that taxiway is used as runway during overhaul?

  7. Anonymous12:51

    Only if it's wide enough

  8. Anonymous13:30

    There are no pictures of aircraft cabin, legroom, airport?

  9. Anonymous22:37

    Wizzair,Easyjet and Eurowings do fly at Kavala until the 25th of March but Aegean,Austrian,Ellinair,Cobalt,Turkish, Aeroflot do use their A-319s/320s/A321s on the parallel taxiway at Thessaloniki,which was tried,tested and certified by the CAA after extensive tests with Aegean's A-320s..Kavala is 2h away so we still use Thessaloniki airport and so far i've flown with FR and A3 without any problem...Also other airlines use the taxiway apart from AirSerbia..Ryanair,Transavia,SAS,Blue Air, albeit with 738s and 737-700


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