Air Serbia negotiating Niš flights

Air Serbia is in talks over the opening of several routes from Niš Airport, the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vučić, has said. Speaking in the southeast Serbian city yesterday, the President noted, "We are talking and negotiating with Air Serbia over the introduction of several international routes from Niš. I am convinced that this will be very important news in the coming period". In April, the Serbian Minister for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, said, "I expect Air Serbia to launch services to Niš. We are currently negotiating these flights. Services will most likely be introduced this year. It goes to show that we really want to develop Niš Airport".

This week, Wizz Air announced it was suspending its flights between Malmo and Niš, leading to fears the service was being terminated as a result of the government's recent takeover of the airport from city authorities. However, the Serbian President noted the route was being discontinued as of January due to poor demand. For its part, Wizz Air said, "As is normal practice in the aviation industry, flight frequencies change according to travel seasons and route performance. Wizz Air constantly monitors the performance of its routes to allow for the most popular destinations to have the lowest possible fares". The Serbian President said the government would continue investing into Niš Airport and will focus on developing Kraljevo Airport after the French concession and construction company VINCI takes over the management of Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport.

In 2015, Air Serbia ruled out operations from Niš, noting that it was not in line with its hub-and-spoke business model. However, the company's strategy has since changed. Last year, Niš Airport's former General Manager, Vladica Djurdjanović, said, "Since Air Serbia is building a hub in Belgrade, I do not think it is commercially viable for them to fly to Niš. We have never insisted on it, because we would have to subsidise the losses. Air Serbia would never achieve profitability on this route. As a result, Niš does not fit into their plans, but could be suitable to airlines which cooperate with Air Serbia".


  1. Anonymous09:04

    These routes will obviously be subsidized by the government.

    1. Anonymous10:02

      So? How are PSO flights in the rest of Europe funded?

    2. Anonymous11:03

      Anonymous at 10:02
      Do you know what a PSO flight is?
      Which other flights apart from INI-BEG would qualify as PSO?

    3. Anonymous11:38

      We would do PSO Serbian way :)))

  2. Anonymous09:08

    About time.

  3. Anonymous09:15

    Which routes could be launched?

    1. Anonymous09:21

      Well the two most popular routes are already taken - Zurich and Vienna.

    2. Anonymous09:45

      Maybe they conclude codeshare agreements and become Swiss and Austrian feeders from INI. :)

  4. Nemjee09:16

    Well, MMX wasn't under-performing compared to some other routes. These are the numbers for 2017:

    Basel - 38.009
    Dortmund - 33.384
    Bratislava - 32.221
    Memmingen - 31.997
    Weeze - 30.976
    Malmo - 30.471

    Weeze and Malmo had almost the same number of passengers while FR and W6 have almost the same cost structure. This can only mean that INI was suspended for other reasons than just low demand. Like I wrote the other day, Wizz Air is focusing on Western Europe and they need this capacity elsewhere, that's why they closed their Poznan base which is where INI flights originated.

    Let's hope both easyJet and Ryanair use this opportunity to expand even more in Serbia.

    1. Anonymous09:26

      well Malmo is the least performing here....suppportted by your numbers, and we do not know the avg ticket price

    2. Nemjee09:29

      By that logic then Weeze, Memmingen and even Bratislava should be considered as candidates for the chopping block.

      If the Serbian government is keen on promoting Serbian aviation then they should do two things:

      1. Force Wizz Air to get a Serbian AOC
      2. All flights to/from INI should be operated by the Belgrade based aircraft and crew, carrying Serbian registration.

    3. Anonymous09:33

      If they were making money on INI-MMX sure they would have found a way and just taken a plane from somewhere else. C'mon Nemjee. They're not stupid.

    4. Anonymous09:36

      Nemjee, MMX was the longest flight out of all those. If the ticket prices were similar and even lower passenger count then we see why it's being chopped.

    5. Nemjee09:40

      INI-MMX is just a tiny fraction of the whole picture. All of their eastern European bases are seeing considerable reductions. They entered the western European market unprepared and the fact they are forced to cut eastern flights only goes to prove that.

    6. Anonymous09:43

      Or they are maybe doing considerably good in Western Europe and moving capacities to more lucrative routes?

    7. Anonymous09:44

      They cut the least profitable ones, that's a fact.

      Why is it so important to you?

    8. Nemjee09:47

      Anon 09.43

      I highly doubt they are doing well in Vienna where they are facing extremely strong competition on every single route they operate. To make things worse, OS is upping their game this winter.

      Anon 09.44

      It's not important for me, we are discussing today's topic and I am presenting arguments. No one can say 'it's a fact' as we don't have access to their financial documents.

    9. Anonymous09:54

      We can fairly assume Malmo was the least profitable of their Nis destinations.

      We can only argue over whether it was slightly profitable or loss making.

      That doesn't change anything at the end of the day since it was 'negative' in their 'wider picture'.

      Hope you understand it.

    10. Anonymous09:55

      Even Vucic said it.

    11. Nemjee10:03

      Vucic said the following thing: However, the Serbian President noted the route was being discontinued as of January due to poor demand.

      So if MMX has poor demand then it's safe to assume all other destinations listed above (maybe with the exception of BSL) also have poor demand? Does it mean FR will also cut some routes?

    12. Anonymous10:15

      MMX was almost double the distance as the others.

      Can't you get it?

    13. Anonymous10:17

      Besides, we don't know what price Wizz Air used to create that "demand".

    14. Nemjee10:18

      MMX was double the distance compared to Basel and Weeze?

    15. Anonymous10:25

      he cannot get it he is a fanboy.

    16. Anonymous10:26

      Weeze is flown by Ryanair.

      Which part of 'there is no demand' you don't get?

    17. Anonymous10:27

      PS: Demand on such sector- length and prices they were charging vs. the expenses.

    18. Nemjee10:30

      And you still didn't reply to my question, does it mean Weeze and others are also considered bad or underperforming since they had almost the same number of passengers as MMX? I am just trying to understand why a route like MMX would get cut but not another one with the same/similar number of passengers.

      Maybe you should come up with some concrete arguments in stead of calling me a fan boy. INI-DTM has almost the same number of passengers and the sector length is almost the same. So what gives?

    19. Anonymous10:33

      My argument is that Wizz is cutting the route, period. Not any other one but that one. Which means a combination of factors didn't work quite in their favour.

    20. Anonymous10:34

      It's funny how you choose to ignore the other side of the story. Wizz Air is sending the A321 on a twice shorter sector-lenght because it believes it can fill the plane with the same or higher fares but less average expenses.

    21. Nemjee10:39

      Anon 10.33

      That's exactly what I have been saying from the start, there are several different factors that contributed to the closure of this route. In my opinion it's a combination of POZ closing and their expansion in the West.

      Anon 10.34

      Who is this directed to?

    22. Anonymous10:47

      In my opinion it's a combination of:

      - low-demand from Nis (50%)
      - Poznan base closure (25%)
      - Pressures on the Western market and other variables (25%)

      The key and the break-point remains Nis nonetheless.

      That's further proved by them sending a larger aircraft on a shorter sector instead.

    23. Anonymous10:51

      It was directed to you to say not everything is that bad.

    24. Nemjee11:27

      Where did I say everything is bad?

      Also, they are sending the A321 from Vienna not because it's close but because there is a market and the fleet structure in VIE was switched from 2 A320 and an A321 to 4 A321 and an A320. Seems like the A321 will become the default aircraft in Austria from now on.

    25. Anonymous11:30

      Nemjee, that's what I just said. That's why it was directed at you.

      INI-VIE has more demand than INI-MMX.

      That's not good or bad, that's just how it is.


  5. IR 72009:25

    Air Serbia has totally lost its compass. Instead of flying to Ankara or Kiev, Delhi or Bangkok in the winter period, their newest focus are Nis and Brac. It fits the old pattern "Air Serbia ko Nokia, sve manja I manja'. I have nothing against them flying to Nis but what we're seeing here is less and less risk taking and preemptive planning. It's just patches and reshuffles here and there. From an aviation perspective I don't see how Nis (or Brac?) should have priority over Cluj or Oradea. Budapest, Izmir, Krakow. There are plenty of destinations in the wider region missing where they could make money if it is their goal. I have nothing against them flying to both but let's be real.

    Then, there is the question of wide-body A330 sitting on the tarmac for most of the winter not even used to augment European destinations where there is demand. In some countries that would be a criminal offence that lands you out of job. Why for the third consecutive year nothing is done about it?

    There are too many questions and Nis is not the answer.

    1. Anonymous09:34

      Do not go that far IR 720. Bad network planning and under utilisation is not a criminal offense. However, there are many other aspects of JU operations that should be examined.
      You are quite right about not exploiting potential they have in the East. I still do not understand why JU is not flying to Iran (both Tehran and other major cities) or airports in Turkey not served by Turkish companies, namely Ankara, Izmir and Antalya. These are all big cities with sizeable population and we are as Europe as you get without Schengen visa.

    2. Anonymous10:04

      If they were to launch all those routes they would be bankrupt within a month. Who on earth is going to fly from Belgrade to Oradea. I can guarantee you 90% of the population has never even heard of that city.

    3. Anonymous10:19

      Wow, now that's an argument.

      I'm sure someone has heard of Izmir though. o<O

    4. Anonymous10:25

      And who do you expect to fill the great demand between Orodea and Belgrade? They couldn't get more than 10 passengers per day from Budapest despite a lot of promotion in Hungary and you expect them to fill Orodea? Please.

    5. Anonymous10:33

      Romanian cities are well connected and all get Tarom and LCC flights to both Bucarest and numerous Western cities. What JU should be after is airports not covered by open skies agreement in the East (Russia, Turkey, Iran) and trying to get O&D (tourists) and transfer passengers (but only those who could pay high fares). I really do not understand why they decided not to go for Krasnodar when only Western company flying there was Austrian.

    6. Anonymous10:36

      @10:25 - Sorry to inquire but ever heard of Paris or Rome?

    7. Anonymous10:41

      Yes. It goes Paris, Rome and then the great city of Orodea. Bottom line is they couldn't make Budapest work or Varna. Yet you are insisting on Orodea. Unlike you, Air Serbia has insight into passenger movement and flow. But I love reading comments from arm chair CEOs who would bankrupt the company in days by opening routes because they went there once.

    8. IR 72010:42

      I should maybe remind you that Oradea was under negotiations.

      It would of course be used primarily by transfer passengers and not those flying to Belgrade.

      Your shallow field of vision and level of ignorance begs the question on what you're doing on this site.

    9. IR 72010:56

      "What JU should be after is airports not covered by open skies agreement..."

      That's what I've been repeating forever.

  6. Anonymous09:42

    Six years after AirSerbia project was initiated they finally reach for Nis!
    They could have started as many daily BEG-INI flights as they wanted and get them legally subsidies, but they did not.
    They could have operated flights BEG - XYZ destination - INI - XYZ destination - BEG, still legally get subsidies for INI flights for considerable duration while developing routes, but they did not.
    Now they have to compete with LCCs. I just wonder whether this is just another operation to create overproportional "tourist development programme" and give them 10-15 mil in 2019.

    1. Anonymous11:26

      A new form of subsidizing has to be found now that they will be obligated to pay BEG for using it since it will be private.

    2. Anonymous12:37

      They are paying BEG already. Read the financial reports ffs.

  7. Anonymous10:05

    Actually I think what the Nis Airport CEO said last year is completely correct and these routes won't be viable for Air Serbia.

  8. Realni izgledi su da Srbija tokom iduce godine ima civilni saobracaj sa tri aerodroma. Pored Beogradskog i Niskog, konacno pocinju aktivnosti na Kraljevackoj Moravi u 2019 godini. Uslovi su stvoreni ulaskom u biznis VInci Aviation . Drugi razlog je sto je iduca predizborna godina. Pa je i pravo vreme za dovrsenje Kraljevacke civilne luke. Treci razlog jeste dolazak desetak novih investicija u Cacak, Kraljevo, Krusevc, Kragujevac, Vrnjacku Banju... Istini za volju, Cacak i Kraljevo u buduce morace mnogo vise biti posveceni nego do sada. To vazi i za ostale gradove koji gravitiraju Centralnom Srbijom.
    O Ponikvama bice reci u drugom kontekstu u sastavu zajednice Aerodromi Srbije. Pozdrav vama u Srbiji u ocekivanju jaceg ozivljavanja aerodromske mreze Srbije.
    Radovan Marinkovic. Kings Park 2148 NSW Australia.

    1. Anonymous10:29

      Dragi nas Rodney, sledece godine do Kraljeva sa dva presedanja, jednim u Emiratima i jednim u Beogradu za kratak let do Ponikvi!

    2. Hvala na Vasem predlogu postovani Anon 10:29 A.M
      Redovno letim u Srbiju tokom jeseni. A Iz Srbije svakog proleca oko Vaskrsa. Uglavnom preko Dohe, Abu Dabija ili Londona... Preko Ponikava idem za manastir Racu.
      Neka Bog da zdravlja, mozda cu imati priliku da jedanput oprobam i let sa Ponikvi. Recimo do aerodroma Nikola Tesla... Da ste Vi zivi i zdravi i Ponikve aktivne.
      Mnogo pozdrava Rodney. AUS.

  9. Anonymous10:27

    Oh Wizz and Ryanair are shaking already

  10. Anonymous10:59

    France and Russia, highly centralized countries like Serbia, have national carriers focusing pretty much all of their operations to their capital cities and only a handful of flights from secondary cities, mind you much bigger than Nis.
    Besides, JU could barely compete with LCC's at INI as it would fly, most likely ATR, to major airports, with high costs, pretty much wasting money and resources...

    1. Anonymous11:52

      AlItalia also centralised everything in Rome with handful of operations from Milan and other airports. Result - market completely dominated by Ryan air and LH taking a large share.

    2. Air France:
      Toulouse: Caen, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Paris–Orly, Rennes, Strasbourg
      Seasonal: Athens, Calvi, Figari, Malta

      Marseilles: Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Paris–Orly
      Seasonal: Amsterdam, Athens, Beirut, Ibiza, Stockholm–Arlanda
      + HOP: Lyon, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille, Nantes, Rennes

      Nice: Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Paris–Orly
      Seasonal: Athens, Beirut, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion
      + HOP: Biarritz, Bordeaux, Brest, Caen, Lille, Lyon, Metz/Nancy, Nantes, Rennes, Strasbourg
      Seasonal: Quimper, Biarritz, Brest, Geneva

      Montpellier: Algiers, Amsterdam, Paris–Charles de Gaulle
      Seasonal: Ibiza
      + HOP: Nantes, Paris–Orly

      Strasbourg: Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Rennes, Toulouse
      Seasonal: Ajaccio, Calvi, Toulon

      HOP! is Air France regional carrier. And they fly (on top of those routes AF flies to Paris CDG and Paris Orly):

      Lyon: Biarritz, Bologna, Bordeaux, Brest, Brussels, Caen, La Rochelle, Lille, Marseille, Metz/Nancy, Milan–Malpensa, Nantes, Nice, Nuremberg, Paris–Orly, Pau, Poitiers, Prague, Rennes, Rome–Fiumicino, Rouen, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Venice
      Seasonal: Ajaccio, Bastia, Brive, Florence, Calvi, Figari

      Bordeaux: Düsseldorf, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Rome-Fiumicino
      Seasonal: Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi, Figari

      Nantes: Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nice, Paris–Orly, Strasbourg, Toulouse
      Seasonal: Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi, Figari

      ...and many routes in smaller airports

    3. Anonymous18:31

      What would drive someone to create long and detailed list of destinations? Or long and detailed list of tourist growth projections for that matter?

    4. Anonymous23:06

      His motivation is airline jingoism.

  11. Anonymous11:01

    Are some elections coming? This looks like a PR to me and nothing else

    1. Anonymous11:03

      No, there are no elections.

  12. Anonymous11:18

    From an operational perspective, Nis is very impractical for Air Serbia, requiring ferry flights, lost of time and people etc. I can imagine they can introduce some flights from there, only with the right subsidies.

    Re. A330, the maintenance cycles are set in line with the timetable, meaning that everything possible is done during the winter period when they have least frequencies. Actually, the plane is quite busy on a year level and they are not under pressure to use it on some non-profitable line, just to make people from the forums happy :)

    1. Anonymous11:49

      Actually last year major (and super expensive) maintenance work was done 1-15 October and all passengers with tickets rescheduled to other flights. Not during winter time. Flying on average 4 weekly return flights to JFK is not super busy.

  13. Anonymous11:42

    Ako se Kraljevo otvori i taj dio divne prirode u Srbiji bit ce unisten i zagaden, posveceni nismo za Srbiju smo.

  14. Anonymous11:54

    A possible solution for INI is basing an Aviolet flight, repaint it to Air Serbia or call it Air Serbia Express, Air Serbia Regional or Serbian Wings and fly to Copenhagen, Berlin Tegel, Beauvais, Madrid, Izmir (summer), St Petersburg and Geneva. Iberia already did this with Iberia Express and it´s working perfect. Also the Aviolet has much more capacity compared to ATR.

    1. Anonymous12:04

      That's a pretty random choice of destinations.

    2. Anonymous12:25

      Air Serbia Express flying INI-MAD with a 33 years old 737. Interesting

    3. Anonymous13:11

      144 in all economy 733 would be hard to fill from INI to most destinations

    4. Anonymous13:17

      If government would chip in 100 eur per seat each way all these flights could work :)

    5. Anonymous15:15

      Don't give them any ideas, they try to throw as many of our taxes to Aleksandar's project as they can find!

    6. Anonymous15:16

      Yep, sure it's YOUR taxes. Lol.

    7. Anonymous16:58

      @anon 15:16
      Yup. There are few of us on this forum who actually make money, pay taxes, and fly frequently. :)))

  15. Anonymous12:19

    Whatever this is, it's very far from free market economy.

  16. Anonymous13:24

    Anybody knows how much JU gets from the Government of Republika Srpska to operate 2-6 weekly flights between Belgrade and Banja Luka?

    1. Anonymous12:40

      They don't pay any taxes at BNX. That's all.

  17. Anonymous15:08

    Don't get me wrong, but if a politican is speaking on behalf of a private airline and not the CEO himself, then the routes from INI are very likely to be political ones, the same as the ones from Belgrade to China, Iran and USA.
    If this is the case, then I would not be surprised to see INI linked to IKA or even cargo flights to China.

    1. Anonymous15:15

      Air Serbia is not a private airline. I don't remember Vucic ever mentioning flights to Iran once. But good thing you know everything. I do remember Vucic mentioning Wizz Air flights from Nis. Must be political too.

    2. Anonymous15:22

      Then why are politics involved then?

    3. Anonymous15:24

      How are politics involved? He made a comment about Nis flights when asked what happened with Wizz Air's Malmo flights. Do you know the meaning of the word political? Btw he is in Nis opening factories this weekend so that's why he was asked about the flights in the first place.

    4. Anonymous16:00

      If Belgrade can have political routes then why not INI? The capital always must be given priority.
      Just sad.

  18. Anonymous18:29

    Talking of Serbia, has anyone else noticed that the charter season at BEG is still ongoing?! I am surprised there are still flights to holiday destinations.

    1. Anonymous19:54

      The standard of living in the whole Balkan area has increased a lot. Serbs are becoming richer and begin exploring the world. Where is the surprise?

    2. Anonymous20:06

      lol med i mleko

    3. Anonymous20:23

      These are mostly last returning charter flights of the season. It is still September. More or less usual situation. We have still not returned to 2008 both in terms of living standard and charter holidays. Back then Turkish carters were operated 1/5 - 30/10. People were travelling year round to Tunisia and Egypt.

    4. Anonymous20:24

      There are year round flights to Tunisia and Egypt this year as well.

    5. Anonymous21:05

      Do you think INI can sustain charter flights to Egipat and Tunis ?
      BNX showed us this year, that there high demand to AYT.

    6. Anonymous21:35

      INI had flights to HER in the past so who knows.

    7. Anonymous09:16

      There were many more flights to Tunisia and Egypt combined 10 years ago. However, good to see some improvements overall in holiday segment.


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