Serbian regulator blocks Turkish Airlines' Belgrade expansion


The Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate has rejected Turkish Airlines' request to add an additional four weekly flights between Istanbul and Belgrade for a total of eighteen weekly services. According to the "Aviatica" portal, the additional flights were scheduled to commence on September 2 and operate with a mix of Boeing 737 and Airbus A320-family aircraft. As a result, the Turkish carrier will continue to maintain double daily services between the two cities. Although the Directorate is within its rights to limit the amount of flights and capacity offered by Turkish-registered airlines on the market as a result of a stringent bilateral air agreement between the two countries, the move is seen as an attempt to shield Air Serbia and Etihad Airways from competitive pricing offered by Turkish on a range of its routes out of Belgrade via Istanbul.

It marks the second time this year the Serbian regulator has thwarted Turkish Airlines' plans to expand its operations in Belgrade. In February the Directorate withdrew a permit issued to the carrier to run passenger services between Istanbul and Belgrade with its wide-body Airbus A330-200 aircraft throughout the summer. Instead, Turkish was limited to operating the 250-seat jet for two weeks during the EuroLeague Final Four basketball championships held in Belgrade in May, with the sporting event sponsored by Turkish Airlines itself. This year, the carrier is offering the most capacity out of the Serbian capital after Air Serbia and Wizz Air.

The Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate and Turkish Airlines have been at loggerheads in the past. In 2014, the Turkish carrier was forced to limit its operations to Belgrade by reducing flights from seventeen weekly to double daily after Air Serbia was denied better slot times at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport and was relegated to flying to the secondary Sabiha Gockan Airport instead. A compromise was later reached. Furthermore, the two have feuded over the regulation of charter services in the past, which are plentiful during the summer months. There is significant competition on flights between Istanbul and Belgrade, with services operated by Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airlines and Atlasglobal. The latter commenced operations to the Serbian capital just over a year ago after Air Serbia pulled out from the route. A total of 99.500 Turkish tourists visited Serbia last year, up 18.9% on 2016. Apart from passenger flights, Turkish Airlines' cargo division maintains a scheduled one weekly service between Istanbul and Belgrade with its A330 freighter jet.

Turkish Airlines recently outlined plans to boost operations to a number of cities within the former Yugoslavia in 2019.

Comments

  1. I'd imagine that the bilateral will be revised given how strong relations between the two countries are presently.

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    1. youre a funny guy

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  2. Yet another senseless decision.

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  3. First they block them from using A330s now this. Idiots. Whose interest are they working for? The passengers or certain airlines?

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    1. They are doing that because air serbias flights will not be used from Belgrade and people with connecting flights in abu Dhabi(Etihad) will be even more effected,

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    2. But that should not be their primary worry!

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    3. Well if the owner of Air Serbia and the Agency are the same, then it should be your concern!

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    4. There is absolutely no point that Air Serbia flights will be used when Turkish Airlines is flying less. There is no relation. All must accept that this has no interest for Air Serbia. If Turkish Airlines flies more between İstanbul and Belgrade the market will grow which will make it easier for Air Serbia to start flights again.

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  4. Double daily is just fine. In a way I feel like the market should be completely open, but then again, we have air agreements that are imposed in order to protect weaker national carriers who can not compete like giants, in this case Air Serbia and Turkish.

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    1. Why does the airline industry has to be so regulated compared to the other ones?

      This case is like saying you don't want Lidl in your town to open more than 1 shop, because then the local shops will not be able to compete. Why not let the market (i.e. people) decide for themselves which airline they prefer?

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    2. To use your analogy, there is already a Lidl in his town but city aithorities did not issue a permit for yet another shop to be opened.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Which times would have these flights operated. My guess is afternoon?

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    1. When did the flights operate when they used to fly 17 weekly?

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    2. Afternoon for P2P passengers so more free seats can be left for transfer passengers on the evening flights.

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  6. First they try to add capacity, then they try to add flights... what else can they do. Stupid directorate.

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  7. If Air Serbia is so worried by TK why don't they stop charging for sandwiches and start flying to Istanbul.

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    Replies
    1. because TK offers the most destinations via IST, which clearly hurts EY via AUH, and the state (which this agency is) protects their investment which they have done with EY.

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  8. Will this be allowed once Vinci takes over the airport? I doubt they would be amused by the Directorate blocking their source of income.

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    1. And imagine how much more money the airport would have gotten if an A330 was operating on a regular basis.

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    2. Well at least they are using the A321 in its place.

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    3. Meanwhile all three airlines from Iran - Mahan Air, Qeshm Air and Iran Air now operating Belgrade flights with widebodies.

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    4. VINCI has little say in what the Directorate does.

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    5. Unlike Etihad ;)

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    6. Qeshm is sending widebodies? Since when? A300-600?

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    7. As of today. Airbus A300-600. Today at BEG Mahan A340-300, Qeshm A300-600 and Air Serbia A330-200.

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    8. Wow in a weekly basis BEG has more widebodies than BUD, ZAG or OTP.

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  9. Thank god the open sky has been signed and Serbia has started EU accession talks. Otherwise the directorate would have been rejecting applications from LCCs and other European airlines.

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  10. It's a shame because it would have increased passenger numbers quite a bit.

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  11. It's impressive how much demand there is between Turkey and Serbia.

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    1. I think they are the number one foreign tourists in Serbia for a while now although Chinese have overtaken them in recent months.

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    2. Add to these TK flights flights by Pegasus, Atlasglobal and the daily charter flights between Serbia and Turkey. It really is impressive.

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    3. Samo 100k putnika sta je tu impresivno?

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    4. 100k za gde? Samo za IST odleti preko 350.000 godisnje.

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  12. Just open the entire market! Not just for EU airlines.

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    1. They don't have a problem with other non-EU airlines. They just have a problem with Turkish for some reason.

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    2. Reason is that Serbia have open sky agreement with EU and EU is forbidding state subsidies to airlines. Thats is the reason why there is no any restrictions for EU airlines. On other side Turkish Airlines is getting huge financial help from their government and because of that they can offer very low prices. That is the reason they must ask for permission.

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    3. lol @ last anon

      EU and Turkey have also Open sky agreement.

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  13. And at the same time an airline like Belavia get's fifth freedom rights to fly Budapest-Belgrade... I don't get it.

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    1. Belavia is no threat to anyone. TK is a threat to the states investment and cooperation with EY.

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    2. They also let Hainan fly fifth freedom PRG-BEG. I can tell you JU wasn't too happy about it last year. So much so they have now had to put jet engine planes on this route.

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    3. But Hainan got 5th freedom on PRG-BEG-PRG although JU flies here

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    4. Without fifth freedom rights for Hainan, they would not have started the route. It was part of the deal.

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    5. " TK is a threat to the states investment"

      The state has no business investing in airlines in the first place.

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    6. WTF>? Tell that to TK, Emirates, Qatar or Air France...

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    7. Fantasticno neznanje mudrijasa koji ovde kuckaju i zalazu se za "slobodno" trziste. Samo koliko su US ulozile para u svoje avio kompanije i avio mrezu.

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  14. When I flew with Turkish the last time 2 months ago, the majority of passengers on the evening flight were actually Chinese (or Asian). And Turks. There weren't too many Serbian people actually. Then on the morning flight back it was mostly Serbs.

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    1. Well that's exactly why they are restricting them. They want all those transfer passengers to fly via Abu Dhabi, not Istanbul.

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    2. Then Etihad can increase there own flights or increase capacity and actually compete against them.

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    3. Etihad has increase its own flights to 12 weekly.

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    4. Yes but only for like three months, after that it's back to daily flights.

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    5. 2 months to be exact.

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  15. This is just absurd. In times when TK are expanding so much in other cities and more connections via the new IST airport.
    Pure JU protectionism!!!!!

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    1. Well that's what we get for giving anything and everything to the Arabs.

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  16. Meanwhile TGD, SKP, SJJ, CLJ, SOF will all benefit....

    Very sad for BEG and especially INI not receiving flights.

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    1. They were never interested in INI nor were they planning to launch flights to INI.

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    2. I suggest you check your books before posting silly comments:

      https://www.exyuaviation.com/p/turkish-airline-interested-in-nis.html

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    3. They were never blocked from flying to INI. They just decided not to.

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    4. Well, it's really strange. They have coverage in secondary Balkan cities and not only capital cities. I think INI will fit nicely to their network. They can initially deploy the A319 as they do with CND for example.

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    5. yes, strange indeed how after all this time TK hasn't realized what a nice fit INI would be to their network- they must be a bunch of amateurs working there

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    6. don't compare INI with much richer Romania please. INI cannot fill a 319, IST is not ZRH

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    7. CND is economically in the same levels as INI. TK A319 is not that big and can easily be filled from-to INI.

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    8. Are you really comparing a seaside airport with INI?

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  17. They have the right to do it. Whether we like it or not is a different story.

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    1. Just because they can do something doesn't mean they should.

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  18. Destructive decision.

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  19. haha specijalan pozdrav do dezurnog bota danas koji neumorljivo ponavlja "states investment and cooperation with EY"

    Srbija gains more from the visiting Turks then from this bal na vodi cooperation with EY

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    1. Absolutely. So Serbia must be protecting Qatar, or Flydubai or ist TK a threat on any westward flights of JU? Oh yeah, some really fly BEG-DOH/DXB-JFK for instance ;) But just imagine flights BEG-IST-JFK - impossible

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  20. I hope another Turkish airline enters the market to deal with the demand. Perhaps Onur Air.

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    1. I don't think it's necessary. Turkish wants to add these flights/capacity purely for transfers in this instance.

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  21. What a dumb decision. I'm beyond words.

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  22. Replies
    1. What is good?

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    2. Turkey has blocked JU in the past. They even impounded one of their B737s for 8 years because they were unhappy with politics in the country.

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    3. Actually the aircraft was impounded in Ireland based on EU law regardind sanctions against Yugoslavia regarding the activities in BiH at the time.

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    4. No YU-ANJ sat in Istanbul for a number of years.

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  23. Imglad we restrict them, you should help your prtners not be against them, and i remember how they treated air serbia a couple of years ago! Next
    Time when an airline aproach turkey/istanbul maybe they will treat them nicer!

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    1. koji bre prtners

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    2. I doubt Turkey would object to Air Serbia sending a daily A330 to IST.

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    3. Why would Turkey do that? They own TK and for them JU would cetrainly be a competition in terms of transfer.

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    4. not be.. that is.

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    5. I am not against but that should be reciprocal. When Serbia blocks Turkish then Etihad should never have signed the extensive codeshare agreement they have in place with Aegean that undercuts Air Serbia directly. Recently full loads on A320 of Aegean have been arriving with connecting passengers from Etihad.

      That or when Air Serbia was 'advised' not to start Tehran where EY doesn't longer flies. I am not against protection of partners interests but it should'nt be one-sided.

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    6. First you should consider what is the benefit of Serbia? Is it really benefitial to make it more difficult for businessmen and tourist to come to Serbia or not?

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    7. I have written many times that despite my personal dislike for Turkish I'm against this blocking of them by our directorate. It goes against basic Serbian interests. However what needs to be underlined is Etihad's hypocrisy in all this. They order Air Serbia to block Turkish to Belgrade depriving it of potential tourists and visitors while on the other hand funneling pax away from Belgrade through their codeshare agreements with Air Baltic and Aegean catering to some of the most important JU's markets, bypassing JU. That needs to be addressed. Perhaps JU should codeshare with QR, I'm sure they wouldn't wait ages before putting anything bigger than A320/A321.

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    8. It will be stupid action for Turks not to allow other carriers to fly to İstanbul or prevent airlines to increase capacity. Each flight means tourists and businessmen for Turkey and cheaper travel for Turkish people.

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  24. You got to give them credit for trying time and again.

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    1. Twice in one year. I'm not sure they will be trying any more unfortunately.

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  25. Either way, the BEG-IST is saturated already. No need for more flights.

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    1. obviously it isnt if they keep on asking

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  26. So self destructive. I'm amazed.

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    1. Price dumping by TK is bad also

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    2. I guess you like Serbian people to pay more to travel between Istanbul and other destinations and you also like foreign tourists to go other destinations in Balkans then come to Belgrade because of high prices?

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  27. I think the Chinese airlines could have demanded this in order to start direct fligtsf.

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  28. Thankfully they can no longer block EU airlines otherwise they would. Remember when they used to block LCCs, Malev and others? It wasn't so long ago.

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  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  30. Time to boycott Air Serbia. The day ASL dies will be a bright day for Serbian travellers and taxpayers!

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    1. Exactly. Those who like to get a few transfer passengers are the main reason for making Serbians to pay a lot of money to travel to Istanbul or another destination via Istanbul They are also the reason preventing tourists from Turkey and other countries to come to Serbia

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    2. TK is going after transfer passengers. Should passengers boycott TK because of it?

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    3. What is wrong to allow people from different countries to travel to Serbia or Serbians to be able to travel cities with less time and cheaper?

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  31. Another example of how Serbian government (regardless of the party in charge) is the biggest enemy of Serbian people and economy!

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  32. Would be nice if Turkish is allowed to send one widebody a week to Belgrade. But not just any widebody, BEG has enough A330. At least Boeing 777-300, or A340 as it has twice as many engines as that 777! If that happens I will make a nice, coloured spreadsheet table that ranks airports in the exyu by the number of passenger widebodies AND the number of engines they have!

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    1. lol

      although the A340 is a regular sight in BEG and land three times per week.

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    2. Oh, forgot about Mahan A340, so BEG is already ahead... There must be a apreadsheet that shows a different view... I know: List of exyu airports served by Boeing widebodies vs Airbus widebodies!

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  33. Pre oko mesec dana sam dobio detaljan odgovor zasto direktorat odbija TK.
    Direktorat se drzi tog sporazuma kao pijan plota i sve dok se isti ne izmeni direktorat nece raditi drugacije. TK je svojevremeno imao i 21 nedeljni let i to se ispostavilo kao propust direktorata. Od tada sve dok ne dodje do izmene sporazuma nema ni dozvole.
    Meni sa druge strane nije jasno zasto TK non stop aplicira.
    Sa druge strane vlada stiti Atlas i JU kao partnere na ovoj liniji, kao i EY indirektno.
    Licno mislim da je pitanje dana kada ce sporazum pasti i kada ce JU napraviti neki sporazum sa TK, prica se ida ce to biti kada JU udje u Star alijansu, mada po meni to nije mnogo moguce.

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    1. Thanks for info.

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    2. Zato sto je ovo Balkan i sitna pilicarska politika je iznad svakog razuma. Ni turci ni nasi nisu cvecke. Ali THY kada predje sa Ataturka na novi aerodrom ako sve glatko prodje tesko ce ko moci da zaustavi. Stizu im 787 i pitanje je vremena kada ce poceti sa direktnim letovima za Australiju. Na sat i po leta od Srbije. Pa neka ih i dalje blokiraju kada nemaju sta da im ponude.

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    3. Nije u pitanju pilicarska politika nego zastita trzista od konkurenta koji zahvaljujuci drzavnim subvencijama ima damping cene. TK ima veoma velike subvencije od turske vlade i bez restrikcija druge vrste bi bili nelojalna konkurencija.

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    4. a Air Serbia i Etihad nemaju drz. subvencije? Ahahaha

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    5. TK je mnogo ozbiljniji igrac i od EY, a pogotovo JU. Ima smisla zasto je iz BEG avio karta do BKK npr 400 eur, a zasto je pre 7-8 godina kostala 800 eur.
      Sto veca konkurencija to bolje i verujem da je za putnike bolje da imaju vise prevoznika, a ne jednog sa vecim kapacitetima.

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    6. TK doesn’t have any state subsidies. Those who claim it, must also show a proof but they cannot because it is not true. Probably they are mixing with Air Serbia

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  34. Laissez faire!

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