EX-YU airports move to secure China flights


Montenegro has become the latest country in the former Yugoslavia to seek flights from China, following in the footsteps of Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. Danilo Orlandić, the General Manager of operator Airports of Montenegro, which runs the country's two international airports, said, "Together with our strategic partners we are looking at significantly boosting the number of guests from China, especially outside of the summer season, which could bring us a large number of tourists". Currently, travellers arriving on Hainan Airlines' service to Belgrade continue their journey onto Montenegro following several days in Serbia. On the other hand, Macedonia and China are preparing to sign a bilateral Air Service Agreement after the two sides met for talks in Skopje recently. They are seeking to establish the legal framework for the launch of scheduled flights, promote cooperation between aviation authorities, as well as promote technical and educational support. The two agreed that the establishment of flights would help boost tourism and people-to-people exchange.

Croatia's busiest airport has confirmed it is seeking to secure services from China in the near future. "We anticipate to finalise talks over the arrival of a Chinese carrier because Croatia is becoming of growing interest to Chinese tourists. There is also an increasing number of Chinese investments in Croatia and we believe that we will be able to find a common ground for the introduction of flights from a Chinese city", Zagreb Airport's General Manager, Jacques Feron, said. Initially, Beijing Capital Airlines was to introduce flights between Beijing and Zagreb last summer. The carrier filed for a permit for a two weekly service with an Airbus A330-200 aircraft, however, the planned operations were later cancelled. In 2015, Zadar Airport held talks with Hainan Airlines over the potential introduction of flights from Chongqing, in China's south-west, which would have continued on to Rome, but the plans never materialised.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is seeking to establish flights with China via Belgrade after the two countries abolished visa requirements for each others' nationals late last month. The Minister for Communications and Transport in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ismir Jusko, has said a Beijing - Belgrade - Sarajevo service is likely following talks with the Chinese Ambassador to Bosnia, Chen Bo. Mr Jusko noted that the two are expected to sign a bilateral air agreement which would provide the legal framework for the establishment of flights. Ambassador Bo emphasised the tourism potential of Bosnia and noted that the number of visitors from China to the country increased between 130% and 140% in 2017 compared to the year before.

Slovenia has also moved towards securing flights to China. The Slovenian Minister for Economic Development and Technology, Zdravko Počivalšek, noted, "We are especially interested in improving land, sea and air connectivity with China. We expect that direct flights between China's north-western city of Xi'an and our capital city Ljubljana will be established soon". Xi'an Airport is run by operator Fraport, which also manages Ljubljana Airport. "Even though Slovenia is a small country, it is the best place for travellers from Asia to start their journey and continue to our neighbouring countries", the General Manager of Ljubljana Airport, Zmago Skobir, said recently.

Serbia is currently the only country in the former Yugoslavia served by a Chinese carrier, with Hainan Airlines maintaining two weekly flights from Beijing to Belgrade via Prague. The Serbian Minister for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, has said that services from Belgrade to a second destination in China will be announced later this year. The Chinese Ambassador to Serbia, Li Manchang, confirmed that talks are underway for the introduction of flights between Shanghai and Belgrade.

Comments

  1. I don't think it's sustainable for all these cities to have flights to China.

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  2. PEK-BEG-SJJ is interesting routing. Might work.

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    1. A330 on BEG-SJJ sector. Now that would be a nice upgrade from the ATR.

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    2. If enormous costs of BEG -SJJ segment are subsidised. Even BEG is struggling to get direct flight.

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    3. Can A330 takeoff from SJJ?

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    4. Yes, Qatar airvais A330 was been in Sarajevo in first days of June

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  3. Everyone seems to want flights to China now.

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    Replies
    1. Replaced new York :D

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    2. Another Balkan obsession.

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    3. Well, BEG is so far the only one that managed to get both.

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    4. One is loss making political project. The other is not exactly a direct flight, barely mentained twice a week even in summer season
      We should not be super thrilled about it.

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    5. Funny how these two routes bug some people. Yes one has been in operation for 2 years, the other for a year.

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    6. What about Toronto obsession?

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    7. Not as widespread as New York and now Beijing.

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    8. @AnonymousJune 26, 2018 at 9:31 AM
      Why do you think this routes "bug" people?

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    9. I think it's not these routes that "bug" people, it's about some fanboys here who present these routes as flights to the Venus or Saturn, "forgetting" some other airports in the region have similar operations with even more frequencies and seats offered, and make no fuss about it

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    10. BEG haters will always come up with a negative spin. For today, routes are not 'barely maintained' only if there are triple-daily flights by at least 2 different carriers.

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    11. It bugs them because they don't want to see BEG thrive, expand and grows.

      Nikola Tesla keeps on breaking records and this year, with all the new flights, we are going to reach and pass six million passengers!

      With zero growth until the end of the year we would be at 5.462.000. With summer boom and a really strong winter passenger numbers will keep on climbing higher and higher.

      What's bugs them the most is when winter comes and when all other ex-YU airports slow down, go to sleep, BEG keeps on getting busier and busier.

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    12. I am from Belgrade but I am not thrilled with developments. It is growth but honestly the whole continent is doing fine economically at the moment and many airports are booming. What we see in Serbia is just OK. We should be satisfied but thrilled not exactly.

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    13. Aha ... and what exactly aren't you 'thrilled' about?

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    14. It is OK. Hope it stays that way.

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    15. Fanbox@12.45PM
      BEG has pretty much the same seasonality like ZAG regarding pax numbers.
      ZAG - Feb 154.600 - 351.500 July - difference 77,8%
      BEG - Feb 266.200 - Aug 641300 - difference 77,7%.

      Also, pretty much every airport in ex-Yu will be breaking their own record numbers, so making it sound like only BEG is on the stellar rise is just that - fanboyism.

      And who is them? Everyone that doesn't wet their pants at mentioning the name of their local airport?

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  4. What happened to Maribor getting flights to China?

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    Replies
    1. Reality happened.

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    2. What a scam that was. Can't believe people fell for it.

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  5. I hope Hainan reviews their plans to Croatia and starts flights to Zagreb.

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    1. Maybe this could be a chance for Croatia Airlines to be sold to HNA. Now that would be great.

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    2. HNA is no longer making foreign acquisitions.

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    3. Aren't they practically bankrupt?

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    4. Not at all.

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    5. They were taken over by the government.

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    6. No they were not. They are still private. They just sold off some of the hundreds of companies they own.

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    7. Hainan Airlines , a carrier affiliated with embattled HNA Group , said a Chinese provincial regulator was its controlling entity but flagged that control of the firm may change hands amid a widespread restructuring of its assets.


      https://www.reuters.com/article/china-hainan-airlines/update-2-hainan-airlines-says-govt-is-controlling-shareholder-now-but-change-possible-idUSL3N1SO3E4

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  6. I'm just waiting to here that Pristina is pursuing flights to China. I think they are the only ones left.

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    Replies
    1. HAHAHA BWK <3

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    2. There was a guy here who was saying that Nis should get China flights.

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    3. Well, NIs could get Chinese flights as any other city in ex YU if it secures regular charters and agencies able to fill 250 seat plane with people interested to visit.

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    4. that guy talks about cargo flight from one city in China to INI. Few months ago we read about that in the newspaper.

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  7. It is quite normal that Hainan is interested in ex-Yu because they are the official airline of the belt and road initiative

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    1. Any source for that?

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    2. They said it themselves

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    3. So they have some kind of agreement with the government about that? Strange it is not AirChina.

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  8. Great news, hope it will materializes.

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  9. Would be nice to see Air China in Belgrade again.

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  10. Can TGD even handle a wide body??

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    1. Yes it can.

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    2. Air Serbia flew to Podgorica with the A330. JAT sent DC10 many times there.

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    3. Theoretically yes, realistically no.

      They've only got two fuel trucks, probably not enough to fill a long haul aircraft, so multiple fuel runs would be required, so goodbye any standard LH turnaround.

      Fire service only Cat 6, which is not enough for scheduled operations of widebody aircraft. No de-icing available in the winter.

      Performance: the runway is short, even the narrow body aircraft are performance limited, I don't think an A330 can go to China from 2500m runway with the amount of terrain around TGD.

      Comparing with JU A330/DC10 - yes, you can operate widebody to BEG and back, but that's not what widebodies are normally used for.

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    4. @anon 9:50
      Interesting! That means Montenegrian tourism development potentials are somewhat hampered.

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  11. I think Croatia has a lot of potential to attract Chinese tourists.

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    Replies
    1. Croatia Airlines should have led the charge here. They would have a lot to gain if a Chinese airline started flying to Zagreb. They could then fly passengers to Dubrovnik, Split or Zadar and fill up the unprofitable domestic flights...

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  12. Bosnia and Serbia should really exploit the visa free regime to boost tourism with China.

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    1. They already are. Both countries have a joint offer for Chinese tourists.

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    2. Nice to see regional cooperation in aviation and tourism.

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    3. Serbia already has such an agreement with Bosnia and Montenegro. A few weeks ago it signed it with Albania while Croatia and Hungary are next.

      This means that Serbia and these countries will present a joint offer to Chinese tourists.

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    4. Nice to see HR and Serbia joining forces.

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    5. Thanks for the info Nemjee. Good to hear.

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    6. However, for Hungary they need Schengen visas and visas are also required for Croatia. So not really possible to create visa free tours. However, Belgrade/Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro sold a sa package might be appealing to a number of Chinese groups.

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    7. The fact Hungary and Croatia agreed shows that it's possible. They will get Schengen visa for Hungary. What's important here like Nemjee wrote is that BEG is fast becoming a starting point for many Chinese tours.

      Also because no visas are required, Serbia and Bosnia will become much more appealing for visitors.

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    8. Once you need visa, all comparative advantages are lost. It is a tour which part requires visa. However, they might be some of these tours. It is a huge market.

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    9. Hungarian government wants this deal with Serbia so I am sure the Hungarian embassy in Beijing will not make a problem for the visas to be issued. Fact is that this is happening, it's up to you if you will acknowledge it or not.

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    10. This is very strange for a country that is so eagerly defending Schengen zone. Any link for the news?

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    11. Which news?

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    12. This news:
      "emjeeJune 26, 2018 at 9:32 AM
      Serbia already has such an agreement with Bosnia and Montenegro. A few weeks ago it signed it with Albania while Croatia and Hungary are next.

      This means that Serbia and these countries will present a joint offer to Chinese tourists."

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    13. It was reported by Politika several times. Last time was a few months ago when the agreement was signed with Albania.

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  13. Why did Beijing Capital Airlines cancel planned flights to Zagreb?

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    1. Because it is owned by HNA and Hainan started Belgrade instead.

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    2. In this story, Hainan flight to Belgrade over Prague isn't important..

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    3. Actually that organisation from Zagreb that works with Chinese said Beijing capital pulled out of Zagreb route because Hainan decided to start BEG.

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    4. @An.11:12
      If it was as you claim, how come that Hainan is in talk with ZAG now about nonstop service to PEK?

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    5. Croatian government was also in talks with Garuda and we all know what became of that. They also chatted with ZAD, so...

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    6. Nobody ever mentioned Croatian Gov't. It's french concessionaire of ZAG negotiating the flights. Garuda was never mentioned as potential operator of flights between Croatia and Indonesia but as potential investor in OU. But You obviously lack basic information on the matter or deliberately twisting the facts, so I'm ending this discussion as you are just a troll, or as you use to call it "hater"

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    7. The fact is that there are so many airlines mentioned yet very few things actually happen.

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    8. AnonymousJune 26, 2018 at 9:08 AM

      fees!!!nothing to do with Belgrade or Hianan.

      Hianan is actually in advance stage of talks with Croatian Government and Zagreb airport of starting flights to Zagreb next year.

      Chinese government wanted to ease the visa process for Chinese citizens, even offering no visa for Croatian passport holders.... However, EU rules prohibit visa liberalization or ease of restrictions.

      This was and is main stumbling block in negotiations. However demand for Zagreb is massive, this year 220 000 Chinese visitors are expected to visit Croatia and Zagreb. Next year, 300 000 very likely.

      Next year Chinese carrier will most likely start regular service to Zagreb, we just don't know if it is year round and how many weekly flights, could be 3.

      Zagreb is becoming very attractive destination for many carriers, things are looking up.


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    9. Zagreb is the new Paris.

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    10. I never imagined Zagreb will become that interesting for tourists.

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    11. Of course it has much to do with Belgrade and Hainan. Even Purger confirmed in his column that ZAG lost Hainan because of Belgrade.
      Hainan is not going to open ZAG as that carrier already flies to BEG and makes no sense opening ZAG.
      Visa regime is nothing but poor attempt to justify losing Chinese flights to Croatian capital.

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    12. +1

      Yes but there is always some sort of excuse with them. Like they kept on mentioning how BEG is not non-stop but there were no such comments when KE did it with them.

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    13. So, the theory is since Hainan started BEG service, no other Chinese airline wouldn't EVER start ZAG?

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    14. Come on people! Zagreb loosing flight over Belgrade is far from reality. Maybe they lost capacity with this very carrier who does not have additional plane to employ on Zagreb route and had to go to Belgrade for political reasons. Once there is a market demand and available capacity a company will start flights to Zagreb as well. If there were enough people in China interested for Medjugorje even Mostar would have flights!

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  14. Let's hope some of these developments materialize. Not holding my breath though.

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    1. Things can move quickly with Chinese. Remember flights from PEK-BEG went on sale just 2 months before they started.

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    2. Actually it is 2pw only via PRG. I doubt that will be only 2 months in prior, if will be any direct flights with better frequencies.

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    3. Yes, same principle as KE's ZAG flight.

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    4. Hainan leti Peking - Prag - Beograd - Prag - Peking. Korean Seoul - Zagreb - Zurich - Seoul.

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    5. Hainan has better schedule as at least Czechs have a non stop flight to China.

      In KE's case, no one has.

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    6. not true. Korean flies Seoul-Zagreb-Seoul nonstop 7 months of season 3 times per week.

      5 months in winter they fly Seoul-Zagreb-Zurich-Seoul 3 times per week.

      Hainan flies 2 flights per week Beijing-Prague-Belgrade-Prague-Beijing all year.

      Capacity on Seoul-Zagreb is 3 times bigger than Beijing-Belgrade.

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    7. Well we will see how things develop, ZAG has a lot more catching up to do when compared to Belgrade. Especially as far as year round flights go.

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    8. What capacity is allocated to Belgrade passengers on this flight?

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    9. They usually have around 110 from Belgrade so I guess that's how many.

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    10. So 110/292. Anybody familiar with their loads in business class from Belgrade?

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    11. BEG - PEK(BEG-PEK) sector is limited(blocked seats)

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  15. From a long-term perspective, I think BEG is playing a very smart game.
    Up until recently there were barely any Chinese or Iranian tourists in Serbia. Over time this slowly started to change with the suspension of the visa regime which was followed by the introduction of direct flights from both PEK and IKA.

    This is a good investment as BEG might become a starting point for many groups from both countries, similar to what PRG or VIE did with Koreans some 10, 15 years ago.

    When it comes to the Chinese, demand is already exceeding the offer with many tourists arriving on airlines other than Hainan. During the slow period, Iran Air had roughly 100 passengers per flight while demand has considerably increased now that summer has arrived. We've all seen that their A320s were replaced by A310s and A300-600s.

    Vinci probably noticed this which is why they were ready to pay so much for an airport like BEG. There is a lot of long-term potential and there is so much room for further expansion.

    This summer season will be an extremely successful one and I hope the airport prepares itself for the next one. Gate space is already becoming an issue during the morning wave of departures. Just today Al Masria's A330 and JU's A319 to ARN had to be boarded from remote stands.

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    1. Today only 3 empty seats on BEG - HRG (Al Masria A330)

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    2. So that's how many passengers in total? They needed like five bus runs to fill the plane. Lol

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    3. Mahan A346 could be maybe sent to BEG?

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    4. it is such a pain when you have to board/disembark wide-body by stairs, but I had that experience in Beijing.
      Why did they schedule carter flight to coincide with morning rush hour? I am surprised to learn they had to board a regular flight to Stockholm over bus gate, it was always a huge advantage of Belgrade to have a regular boarding through bridges.

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    5. ARN had to as all other gates were occupied by other airlines. Now, if Wizz Air was moved to remote stands there would be enough space for everyone. ;)


      IR A313 configuration: C 14 - Y 198.

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    6. I will try to get information. I don't know what's the configuration of their A330. I thinkvthat is more than 260 because they don't have business class.
      My friend was on board today.

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    7. Wizz does get the use of air bridges for free?

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    8. No Wizz uses bridges only for crew and that is free. Passengers boarded with stairs.

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    9. No. If you have priority and are seated in the first 15 rows you use the bridge.

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    10. I boarded with Transavia and also first 15 rows entered over the bridge.

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  16. BEG-PVG is next with Air China

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    1. And I think Hainan might go nonstop on PEK-BEG route.

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    2. Summer has come and no direct flights...

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  17. Not bad a commuter flight Beijing-Skoplje-Podgorica-Split-SarajBosna-Zagreb-Ljubljana-Beijing. These routes could satisfy all ex-Yu capitals.Ridicolous... Apart from BEG only ZAG’s got some chances for a direct flight...

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  18. Evo, i Portorož i Udbina i Ponikve i Bihać isto traže letove za Kinu.

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  19. Why was the Aeagen comment deleted?

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    Replies
    1. Because it was reported several weeks ago. You can continue the discussion there.

      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2018/06/aegean-upgrades-zagreb-service.html

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  20. So besides Hainan, which other Chinese carriers are we most likely to see in ex-Yu region? China Eastern, Air China, Chine Southern?

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    Replies
    1. Air China is probably the most likely.

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  21. Do not forget to VLM and their plans!

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