EX-YU airports see greater long haul interest


Airports across the former Yugoslaiva are begining to attract a greater number of long haul carriers or are actively trying to secure such flights, with Zagreb, Belgrade, Skopje and Dubrovnik among them.

This summer season, Croatia's busiest airport will add another long haul carrier with Air Canada Rouge to commence flights from Toronto. The leisure airline will offer a total 20.586 seats each way between Canada's largest city and Zagreb during the June 2 to October 7 period, over which it will maintain the seasonal service. Asked whether the route could be extended into winter or upgraded to its mainline operations, the airline noted, "This is a seasonal service. Any potential modifications will depend on a range of factors. We are always assessing every route’s performance to ensure our schedule meets demand". Another carrier to have announced its plans to commence long haul operations to Zagreb is Korean Air's low cost long haul subsidiary Jin Air, which intends on launching operations to the Croatian capital next year. Thai Air Asia X this week reaffirmed its interest in flying between Bangkok and Zagreb in the foreseeable future. Its CEO, Nadda Buranasiri, noted, "We haven’t been able to grow for the past two years because of Thailand’s red flag [ban by regulators over safety]. So this is going to be the year that we start expanding, but in a profitable way. We hope our network will cover north and south Asia and we imagine we’ll also be in Europe. If the market makes sense then we’ll look at it, even if it is unserved. We’d assess whether we can build a story on both sides to ensure people will be interested in going to that destination". Earlier this year, the carrier said, "Croatia has been one of the possibilities that we are currently engaging in a feasibility study".


Belgrade Airport is expected to add a second long haul route from China this year. Services from Shanghai are anticipated after operations were introduced from Beijing via Prague last year. Initial talks concerning the service are believed to have taken place with Hainan Airlines, Air China and China Southern Airlines. The Chinese Ambassador to Serbia noted earlier this month, "We are currently discussing the introduction of a second service between Belgrade and another Chinese city". Air Serbia is also expected to revisit its long haul plans in 2019 after deciding against introducing flights from Belgrade to Toronto this year. A spokesman for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority told EX-YU Aviation News, "At this time, Air Serbia service will not be starting this summer, but we will continue to work with Air Serbia to find an opportunity to add Toronto Pearson as one of their newest travel destinations". VINCI Airports, which will sign up for a 25 year concession of Belgrade Airport tomorrow, recently said, "VINCI Airports will aim at improving airport operating conditions to enable Air Serbia to offer new long haul routes as part of its hub strategy". Meanwhile, Korea's Jin Air has noted that services between Seoul to the Serbian capital are planned to launch in 2020.

Skopje Airport has also expressed interest in offering long haul flights and has suggested for Turkish Airlines to launch services from the Macedonian capital to North America. "We have always established close relationships with our airline clients through our world-wide airport operations. This is also the case in Macedonia and we are ready to provide the utmost support to an airline which would consider flying transatlantic from Skopje. Skopje Airport is operationally capable to handle such transatlantic flights and ready to support carriers which would consider operating", the General Manager of operator TAV Macedonia, Alper Ersoy, said. He added, "The Balkan region is still immature in terms of connectivity to US and Canadian destinations. Still, most of the passengers originating from the Balkan region must make at least one connection to fly transatlantic, which is a hassle. In this regard, if Skopje manages to serve a transatlantic flight in the future, this will be beneficial for the whole Balkan area. A nonstop flight to North America would lead to additional feeder flights from the Balkan region to Skopje. The airport would attract many passengers from surrounding countries". Over 40.000 passengers originating from Skopje travel to North American destinations each year.

Dubrovnik Airport has identified the United States and South Korea as two markets which could sustain services to the coastal city but noted that the development of long haul flights is still some way off. General Manager, Frano Luetić, told EX-YU Aviation News, "These two far-away markets are the most important for Dubrovnik. According to the city's tourist board, visitors from the US are the second most common, behind those from the United Kingdom, which is specific to the Dubrovnik region. On the other hand, Korean tourists are most plentiful during the winter months". With exception to several summer charters from Japan, operated by All Nippon Airways, Dubrovnik Airport currently has no regular long haul flights. Mr Luetić noted that despite the potential, there are still no concrete announcements concerning the establishment of such services.

Comments

  1. US flights next up for ZAG.

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    1. With DBV to follow.

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    2. The US-Zagreb flight legend. Next year will be the 10 year anniversary since they announced that they started talks for these flights.

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    3. Problem with the US is that there are no airlines like Air Transat or Rouge to fly such route.
      I can't see Delta, United or American Airlines flying here.

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    4. I agree with the last comment but over time I think one of the big three might come seasonally as the market develops.

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    5. Actually I think there is a greater chance for one of the US carriers to start seasonal Dubrovnik flights than Zagreb for the time being.

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    6. They will eventually happen, whether you like it or not.

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    7. ^Don't understand the need to get aggressive?

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    8. Why would United fly to Zagreb before, let's say, Vienna or Budapest?

      OS already covers all the markets OU does.

      Unless UA would fly to ZAG for OSI and BWK?

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    9. I don't know if there is much of a chance of maybe LOT looking into ZAG-US flights? Similar to what they are doing in Budapest.

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    10. Budapest is a much, much larger and wealthier market than ZAG. Also, Lot doesn't have that many widebody planes.

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    11. Yes BUD is a city than ZAG. Croatia on the other hand is a bigger market, with almost a many PAX as BUD, but then Hungary has a way larger diaspora across the world and especially in the USA. It is not as thought only people from BUD fly to the US or elsewhere.

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    12. Croatia has 4,2 million Inhabitants and almost 11 million Air Passengers. Hungary has 9,8 million inhabitants and 14 million Pax.

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    13. DBV is next, mark my words.

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    14. I agree that Dubrovnik has a good opportunity to get long hauls. US carriers are possible with similar operations like they have to Venice.

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    15. Budapest is much closer to Vienna, that's what's killing it.

      BUD has VIE while ZAG has .... LJU

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    16. haha ZAG has BUD ;)

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    17. You can't compare apples and oranges. You can't compare Croatian market with Hungarian since Croatia has a coastline where tourists come to swim!

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    18. Yeah but BUD is not as close to ZAG as VIE is to BUD.

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    19. Oh but you can compare ZAG and Rhodos?
      You really cannot compare Croatia with Hungarian market- as Hungary has more than double its citizens.

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    20. When on earth did I compare Zagreb to Rhodes o.O

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    21. You cannot compare the Hungarian Market to the Croatian Market, as the LCC penetration in HU is much higher and HU is double in size.

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    22. I bet you are the same one who compares Serbia and Croatia when it suits you.

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    23. Exactly, that´s why I always write YOU CANNOT compare ;)

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    24. VIE has BUD? VIE is a lot more important but had the disadvantage till very recently of being very expensive. The only reason why UA is not flying to VIE is OS already daily feeding several UA hubs such as EWR, ORD, IAD. Same goes for AC and OS' Toronto feed.

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  2. I don't understand how Balkan connectivity would be improved in regards to Skopje if for example Turkish Airlines operates these flights to the US. Unless TK bases planes in Skopje and starts flying to other Balkan countries (which would be difficult), how would this happen?

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    1. Maybe it is why the government is again talking about establishing a new national airline.

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    2. I don't think TK long haul flights will arrive in Skopje ever. Because in Macedonia there's no enough passengers to fly non-stop to America.

      Pristina overpass Skopje for long haul flights non-stop to America.

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    3. I'm also not overly optimistic about this prospect either
      On the other hand, who would've thought just 5 years ago that SKP will be handling 2 mio pax annually?
      So, who knows...

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    4. True. Strangers things have happened in this region. Never say never.

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  3. Good luck BEG. I think the most realistic new long haul route will be Toronto but who knows. Beijing came as a surprise. We will see.

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  4. It would be pretty cool if we get a second Chinese carrier in Belgrade.

    Btw Mahan launched BEG yesterday. Does anyone know when was the last time a passenger A310 landed here?

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    1. It was a while ago. I remember Air France set an A310 a couple of times in early 2000s

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    2. I think that was A300. AF didn't have the A310 if I am not mistaken.

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    3. Very, very long time ago... BEG used to get them very infrequently... the ones I can recall from years ago are Swissair a few times, Lufthansa.

      The only regular A313 service was provided by RJ from AMM after the L1011 was pulled from the route.

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    4. 10:46 you talk nonsense. I flew AF A310 ZAG-CDG back in 1994.

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  5. JU should really add BKK to their route map, for the first time it'd be 1pw winter seasonal October through April. At this moment they have a widebody aircraft with 70 hours slack every week, and the demand for Thailand holidays among tge people in our region.

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    1. You can fly from Belgrade to Thailand for as little as €450.

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    2. Sure, but it requires staying long hours inside DOH, AUH, DXB, SVO waiting for a connection.

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    3. Yields are trash, they wouldn't b d making any money. Better to look at Shanghai or Chicago

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    4. Are you sure? Filling up a charter flight as a bundle with tourist agencies for 450 eur each and you get 120k Eur. Doubt it doesn't cover expenses. And if its about yields : don't we always repeat that the most expensive a/c is the grounded one?

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    5. Kondic, ex-JU CEO answered a question about Bangkok on this site I think last year. As far as I can remember he said they were interested in it but that the yields were poor and that it was cheaper to keep the plane parked. Interestingly he said that the most profitable would be charters to Caribbean/Cuba but that even that wouldn't be financially viable.

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    6. Found it:

      “There are very few destinations where you can fly the A330 that are going to be appealing to tour operators. Serbia is a price sensitive market and when we gauged interest for charters to Thailand – which is further to fly to than New York – the economics required to make it breakeven were too large. Another option we considered was the Caribbean, but that also can't be sustained from a market such as Serbia”, Mr Kondić explained.

      http://www.exyuaviation.com/2017/04/air-serbia-mulls-future-of-aviolet.html

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    7. Does anyone know what became of Dane Kondic once he left JU? Did he find another job like Kucko did?

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    8. He is contractually obligated by his agreement with Etihad to stay with the company until this summer. After that we will see.

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    9. They have to think of something to do with this A330 during the winter. Keeping it sitting in BEG most of the week is just unfeasible.

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  6. Definitely US/China flights to ZAG and US/Korean flights to DBV, at least seasonally.

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  7. I think the next scheduled long haul flights that will launch are:
    Shanghai - Belgrade this year
    Seoul - Zagreb next summer

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    1. We might see Shanghai start in September like Beijing last year.

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  8. All of these airports are way behind BUD which has Air China and Air Canada with LOT Polish Budapest-New York and Budapest-Chicago, as well as American Budapest-Philadelphia launching this year.

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    1. Funny how Budapest scored a seasonal one weekly flight to Tehran while Belgrade will have six.

      Belgrade is catching up in terms of diversity and offers.

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    2. I don't think BUD is that far ahead of long haul route development.

      BEG also has flights to New York and Beijing. I assume Toronto will start next year. And we might even have another China route this year.

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    3. Belgrade also has flights to AUH while BUD doesn't. BEG also has more flights to places like Athens or Istanbul.

      Does BUD have flights to BEY?

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    4. No, it does not have flights to Beirut.

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    5. Ouch then. Another point for Belgrade I guess.

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    6. Yes, poor Budapest!

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    7. Well, they are poor. Imagine losing Malev to gain Wizz Air.

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    8. Imagine losing CA to gain Wizz Air.

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  9. What are the prospects of ZAG becoming the stopover for SQ flights between SIA and JFK instead of FRA? I don't think it's impossible as ZAG is already the largest Star Alliance hub not to have US bound flights (ATH have seasonal flights and soon will get year-round). And the new terminal can cater for A388 they say. The only problem is OU and its weak feeding network but soon it can change. Add the luring power of Croatian coast, Croat diaspora in Aussie and the rising demand fou US-Croatia travel.

    Belgrader.

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    1. Virtually none. Are you seriously suggesting they would dump Frankfurt to fly Zagreb - New York o.O

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    2. Athens already has a year-round flight to Newark.

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    3. What about Emirates?

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    4. Well I think EK flying that route has a bigger chance than Singapore Airlines with limited European network dumping FRA-JFK for ZAG-JFK.

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    5. MEB3 would never get EU approval for fifth freedom. But airlines from Asia Pacific don't have much problems with getting it.

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    6. Why would MEB3 have problems with EU approval? Let me remind you Emirates started flights Athens-Newark this year, will start Barcelona-Mexico City this year and already flies Milan-New York.

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    7. EK just got the approval for Barcelona-Mexico City flights.

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    8. If Singapore-Zagreb flights were ever to happen it would be with Scoot, not Singapore Airlines and it would be a terminator service.

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    9. Scoot fly to Athens and Berlin. Don't think ZGB is a potential market for them.

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    10. I think if OU ever went long haul then Singapore would be a possible option for them linking into Singapore’s network. But OU has to go long haul first.

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    11. I think long haul is something they simply can't afford at this point.

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    12. ZAG is expensive fro Scoot

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    13. JFK-FRA segment on SQ sees a lot of premium demand, in both F and J. It's one of the best products on a very very busy route, therefore, changing it to operate via ZAG (or anywhere else in the Balkans and Eastern Europe in general, for that matter) would be crazy.

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  10. Long haul from Skopje is not going to happen. At least not for a decade.

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    1. Don't speak too soon.

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    2. Maybe the government will subsidize Wizz Air to launch flights on their A321neo with a technical stop. Lol

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    3. Possible SKP long haul can be KUL or SIN.

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    4. Are you guys kidding? :D please tell me you're kidding.

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    5. no
      https://mk.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A5%D1%83%D0%BD%D0%B7%D0%B8

      87000 + connections to Australia could work

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    6. wait and see

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  11. the macedonian gov. is looking into abolishing visas for chinese citizens.

    maybe some charters from China (in combination with other Balkan destination ) could become reality

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  12. Would be nice to have Malaysia Airlines back in Zagreb like in the 90s :D

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    1. Malaysia Airlines was a real treat at ZAG :)

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    2. About those MH flights, did they operate as triangle route KL-Vienna-Zagreb-KL or did they go KL-Vienna-Zagreb-Vienna-KL

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    3. Same construction as the Hainan flights to BEG.

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    4. did you know that Malaysia Airlines was interested in buying MA? crazy

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  13. Primera Air is expanding like crazy with their A321LR and even considered BUD. I think this is the current realistic option for ex-Yu airports. The other option is the B787, which is Norwegian, but will be applicable only to Croatia as its an EU member.
    BEG can easily get PVG on my opinion.
    SKP, I highly doubt it. Traffic is not even 2 million per year. It can be a stopping point for a foreign carrier just like RIX for instance. They used to have flights to JFK operated by Uzbekistan Air.

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  14. If Pristina gets flights to the US first (and it already had US flights in the past), then there is little chance for Skopje in my opinion.

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    1. it can only be charters from one of the dubious "familia-run" travel agencies...

      on the other hand SKP has a better airport, which is very important too

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  15. I think Japan, South Korea, China and the US are perspective long haul markets for Croatia.

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    1. ... and Argentina ;)

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    2. The new Norwegian Argentina could :D

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    3. How many Croats are there in Latin America? GIG, SCL or EZE can be possible routes.

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  16. And the obsession with long haul flights in Ex-Yu countries continue :D

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    1. Completely normal that all these airport want to have long haul flights. Don't see the issue.

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    2. we all got flights to the middle east... more then we expected.. more then we ever dreamed of

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  17. What about Split? Any chance we might see some seasonal long hauls from there?

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    1. Split Airport CEO said they are not interested in long hauls.

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    2. Probably because they have nowhere to park those planes. They woyld earn much more from narrowbody flights.

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    3. He said that they don'w want to compete with Zagreb and that there priority is improving winter connectivity. It was published here maybe 2-3 months ago.

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    4. No long haul AC could depart its runway as it is way to short for a long haul flight with full payload.

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  18. Given that Telenor sold their regional operations to a Czech investment firm,I think we'll be seeing more demand to PRG rather than to some distant destinations.

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    1. Citas li ti sebe?
      Sve da svaki uposlenil leti na relaciji 1x tjedno, nema tu neke potraznje

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    2. ^ There are already 16 weekly flights between Prague and Belgrade so I don't understand your statement that there "is no demand".

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    3. For Croatian chauvinists, there’s never any demand to Belgrade from anywhere else in the world. I wish they could spin a new track record from time to time. Yawn!

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  19. For Belgrade I think having New York and Beijing is a good start. Maybe eventually add Toronto and possibly Chicago and that is more than respectable for a Balkan airport.

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    1. The main player that should bring more long-haul traffic to BEG is JU.

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    2. With what? AN ATR?

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    3. They have an Airbus A330 in their fleet and I said in general they should be the main ones to develop long haul flights. Sorry that irritated you so much.

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    4. S jednom pticom, to se ne moze pokriti.

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  20. Seems we are all missing the point here.

    What makes an airline from far away start that long-haul route with a widebody we're all longing for? Key thing: high yield seats in F, J, and perhaps Y+ class. To attract business travelers and fill their first/business cabins, a destination needs to attract more big businesses.

    Currently, most Ex-Yu is struggling with attracting valuable foreign investments that increase the demand for high-yield airline seats. Tourists, whose numbers are booming all across the region won't help much with it. Even if it's American tourists, major airlines will break them in Paris, Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Zurich etc and pack them in a number of narrow body planes from there, rather than sending a big bird straight to the region. It is because narrowbodies can make good yields as feeders even if all passengers use Y.

    All until our states attract big biz we will never see sustainable year-round flights. It will only be limited to seasonal routes, inbound charters, heavily subsidized routes and failed attempts.

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    1. Good comment

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    2. Wrong. Air Canada Rouge and Air Transat don't have F or J seats. Nothing wrong with tourists and seasonal only routes.

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    3. At least we know where you're coming from.

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    4. Anon 9:49, what about the AC Rouge Premium Class? It has large seats and all the extras are included.

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    5. Knowing that, we know you can't expect more. xoxo

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  21. Flights from US and South Korea to ZAG would make most sense.

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  22. Only Belgrade has any decent long haul traffic, rest are just dreams or seasonal charters.

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    1. Indeed. Flying to Prague from Belgrade on a Turboprop gives a long-haul flight impression. Even the fare for that flight resembles long-haul ones.

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    2. Don't know what on earth you are talking about but you can certainly fly the A330 to New York or the A330 to Prague if you wish and then continue to Beijing. Hope you feel better soon.

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    3. And since you mentioned Prague for some reason, the good news is you can fly there nonstop every day from Belgrade throughtout the year.

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    4. Saying BEG has DECENT longhaul traffic is the same as saying yugo, stojadin ili fica were decent, reliable and comfortable cars. For addition ONLY decent, better to refrain from commenting

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    5. You seem to have a problem with anything related to Serbia.

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  23. anon 6:49pm - that was a pretty nasty comment, I must say. Lets just not cross the line and maintain some respect. We can critisize as much as you want but always with respect.
    This is also an aviation forum and not an auto one, thank you.

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  24. Here in my opinion are the ex-YU airports with the highest potential of long-haul:

    1) BEG
    2) DBV
    3) SKP
    4) SPU
    5) ZAG

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