Serbia - India flights expected "soon"


The Serbian government has intensified talks over the launch of nonstop flights between New Delhi and Belgrade, with the matter discussed over the weekend during a visit by India's Vice President, Venkaiah Naidu, to the Serbian capital. The two sides formalised their new Open Sky Air Service Agreement, revising a previous deal adopted in 2003. The Open Sky agreement provides unlimited operations between India and Serbia. The Serbian Minister for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, noted there were no longer any bureaucratic obstacles for the resumption of flights between the two countries. "Serbia and India have traditionally good political ties, with a rich history, however, it is important to continue improving economic relations. This modern and updated agreement is a step in that direction because better connectivity will benefit economic ties", Ms Mihajlović said, adding that the bilateral was a precondition for the launch of flights between the two countries.

The Serbian President, Aleksandar Vučić, noted, "We liberated the visa regime for Indian citizens, and we hope to establish direct flights very soon ... so that connections and contacts can be established between our peoples and businessmen". Addressing the Serbian Parliament, Vice President Naidu added, "The Air Service Agreement will boost trade and tourism by the launch of direct air connectivity between India to Serbia in the near future. India and Serbia have been developing plans to advance partnership in many areas. Indian tourists are now visiting foreign countries in large numbers. Serbia, with its fascinating history and landscape, has the potential to attract these Indian tourists".

Last September, Serbia become the only European country to abolish visa requirements for Indian citizens. The National Tourism Organisation of Serbia has announced it will have its own representative in India from 2019. "Serbia is aggressively looking at tapping the Indian outbound market. Abolishing visas for Indians travelling to Serbia has proved quite helpful and is becoming a unique selling point for Serbia as a destination. The next few years are very important in terms of marketing and promoting Serbia effectively in India", the Serbian Ambassador to India, Vladimir Marić, said. Up until December 2017, Serbia did not record Indian arrivals separately as the numbers where miniscule. However, during the January - July period, Serbia welcomed 4.210 Indian visitors. "We are looking to end 2018 with nearly 10.000 Indian arrivals. From India, Serbia is targeting young professionals and backpackers who like to explore a country and are open to new experiences", Mr Marić said.

Earlier this year, India's largest and busiest carrier, IndiGo, said it saw potential in serving the Serbian market in the near future after announcing its European expansion plans. Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News, an airline spokesperson said that IndiGo has already held talks with the Serbian government through a third party. "We have been involved in fruitful discussions with the Serbian government and the local tourism board through an intermediary concerning potential operations to Serbia. We plan to continue these talks and explore opportunities to serve the market sometime in the future, in order to offer affordable and unmatched travel experience to passengers between India and Serbia". IndiGo's parent company, InterGlobe Enterprises, has expressed interest in linking the two counties to cater for Indian tourists visiting the entire region. Belgrade Airport recently said it hopes to soon make announcements concerning the launch of new flights to several markets, one of which is India.

Comments

  1. It was nice seeing an Air India 747 at BEG this weekend. Will be nice to seeing an Indian airline start flights soon.

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    1. It was :-)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr_5rastyb4

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  2. "Liberated the Visa regime"- aha...

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  3. With what plane does Indigo plan to start Europe flights?

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    1. Airbus A321LR

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    2. Can the A320neo make it to BEG from New Delhi? They already have over 40 in the fleet and over 360 on order.

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    3. I don't think so, but A321LR without a problem.

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    4. Seven hours aboard a narrowbody would be a nightmare.

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    5. Many airlines are now flying long haul with narrow bodies.

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    6. Hordes of people from Belgrade currently spend 5+5 hours on FlyDubai in order to fill their Instagram with pictures from Zanzibar so 7 hours to India is just a new opportunity.

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    7. Well considering the cheap price for those packages to Zanzibar waiting 10 hours is a minor inconvenience.

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    8. Now that you mentioned it I always wondered at the accommodation of this Zanzibar package. The price is just too cheap for it to include air fares, taxes, accommodation, and tours (which it does)

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    9. I doubt hotels in Tanzania are too expensive.

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    10. My friend from Croatia went on one of these tours last year from BEG to Zanzibar, although they went with Turkish Airlines not Fly dubai.

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    11. For the right price people would sit in a narrow body for seven hours.

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    12. On many occasions Serbian agencies accommodate people in cheap bungalows.

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  4. Air Serbia could have considered some charters once or twice a month to New Delhi since there are Serbian tour groups going there in winter. Better that than their A330 sitting in BEG for most of the week from November.

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    1. There is not enough demand from Belgrade to fill 220 seat plane every ten days. It would have to be Indians flying.

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    2. There is enough for daily/double daily Etihad which is constantly full...

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    3. @anon 10:38
      How many people from these 1 or 2 flights continue to India?

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  5. I still find it hard to see who will use these flights.

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  6. The most logical would be for Jet Airways to actually fly this route considering its part of EY partners.

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    1. Continuing in the EY partners tradition, Jet Airways is in quite a lot of financial problems, so I doubt they will be starting new routes any time soon.

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    2. Indigo makes the most sense for the type of passengers Serbia hopes to attract, which they say in the text.

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    3. You are correct, they are in a worse shape than Alitalia.
      They are cutting expenses wherever they can.

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    4. Indigo would be fantastic since they are a low cost airline so they could offer some great fares. If they do this I wouldn't be surprised to see growth in interest from Serbia to India too.

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    5. We will see. Indigo starts Europe (Lodon) flights this winter season.

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    6. Are they going to do London with narrowbody too?

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    7. Speaking of Jet Airways, it's interesting that their worst performance is on the chaotic domestic market. They also have a hard time making profit on Middle East flights, which were traditionally their best performers. On the other hand their European routes are going as strong as ever, but still I don't see them starting BEG flights any time soon, if ever...

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  7. The fact that they managed to renegotiate the bilateral air agreement is quite an achievement knowing how difficult this is to do with India, all the rules and quotas in air traffic they have. So congratulations. Hopefully there will be some flights in the future.

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    1. True. In 2016 BH from Bulgaria had plans to start Kolkata and Chandigarh and they were denied rights by Indian aviation agency.

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    2. Interesting. Does BH still has its A330?

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    3. No, they got rid of it when they had no where to fly it.

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  8. I would prefer if they focused a bit more on negotiating flights to Canada rather than India.

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    1. @Anonymous 9.21
      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2018/09/belgrade-toronto-flights-expected-in.html

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  9. Good luck. Hope it happens.

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  10. It would be very nice having flights to the US, China and India from BEG.

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    1. Only thing that would be missing then would be Canada.

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    2. Australia, Brazil, Japan? :)

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    3. You forgot Guadeluope and Martinique LOL

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  11. Very nice. Good work Serbia on being proactive on getting long haul flights.

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  12. The only way flights from India could work is if an airline operated an onward transatlantic service.

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    1. Didn't Air India plan something like that via Ljubljana a few years ago but they never followed through with the plan.

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    2. I think that was more wishful thinking by Ljublajana Airport. But Air India did express interest in Adria and Jat Airways stake a few years ago.

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  13. This could be a good opportunity for Air Serbia to deploy its A330 somewhere this winter rather than sitting on the tarmac for 3 days of the week.

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    1. Didn't Kondic say it was cheaper to keep the plane on the ground then use it somewhere else?

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    2. And Kondic is where now? His management brought Air Serbia to where it is, so I wouldn't take his claims seriously.

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    3. You mean for 5 days a week?

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    4. That is only effective in November and February.

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    5. Never mind, they still have a plane sitting on tarmac for 5/7 days.

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  14. Indigo has 181 planes and 433 on order :O including 362 A320neos!

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    1. Over the next 20 years it is expected that India will generate 275 million new passengers.

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    2. Even though it's among the fastest growing markets atm, such predictions are still uncertain when it comes to India. Low purchasing power, unstable Rupee and overcapacity have airlines(especially the legacies) bleeding money left and right, even with the government subsidies on domestic routes

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  15. Does any tour operator sell packages from Serbia to India?

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    1. I went with Kontiki last December/January (New Year).

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    2. Out of curiosity, who did you fly with and was it a group of people.

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    3. Jungle Travel, Manga Trip, Big Blue...

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    4. @10.00
      Qatar Airways, there were around 15 of us. Some were Serbs not actually living in Serbia. There was a Serbian family from France and one guy from Switzerland. It was apparently cheaper for them to travel from Belgrade.

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    5. Interesting. Thanks!

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    6. I went with JungleTribe last march, there were big group around 40 peopre from Serbia and Croatia.

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    7. Did you also go with Qatar Airways?

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  16. It is impressive that Serbia is trying to establish flights to all corners of the globe and increase tourism. Not sure this India business will work out but I wouldn't dismiss it.

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    1. all corners of the globe LOL get real





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  17. Air Serbia really has to do something with its A330 during the winter. I'm not saying they should fly to India but it is a good option since the rotation is shorter. Off course only if they can make some deal where a tour agent fills their plane.

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    1. Only like that it would make sense.

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  18. Can money be made on this route?

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    1. We will see. There is obviously some interest.

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    2. This all seems like they are dreaming if you ask me.

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    3. By "they" I mean Serbian government.

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  19. IndiGo has already started recruiting staff in Istanbul and London so Belgrade will most likely happen right after these two are launched. There is a lot of potential and the number of tourists is growing despite there not being any form of promotion ... from either side. I am sure Qatar plans on carrying a large share of these passengers. After all, they are not increasing Belgrade to an A321 this winter for fun.

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    1. Interesting that they will be flying to IST.

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    2. Does any Indian airline fly to Istanbul?

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    3. Who knows what the deal is with Istanbul, some speculate that they might create a scissor hub there the same way Jet did in Brussels. Turks in return might get more flights to India as they are currently maxed out.

      IndiGo going international is horrible news for airlines like Emirates, Qatar and Etihad.

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    4. True that. And interestingly Indian government is very protectionist. For example they don't want to allow Qatar or Singapore Airlines more flights to India until Indian carriers hold over 50% of the market between these countries.

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    5. 80% actually. Madness.

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    6. Cam A321LR make it nonstop to London?

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  20. Anyone familiar with Indigo? Are they pure LCC, hybrid or what? Thanks.

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    1. But it is a serious company

      InterGlobe Enterprises Limited, through its subsidiaries, provides aviation and travel related services. It also operates an airline and hotels. In addition, the company provides business process outsourcing and IT services to travel, transportation, and hospitality industries. Further, it offers travel technology solutions. Furthermore, the company provides airline management services, such as duty-free operations, ground handling, and cabin crew management, as well as provides various products ranging from executive jets to luxury yachts, and sports cars to mini submarines. InterGlobe Enterprises Limited was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Gurgaon, India with additional offices internationally.

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    2. Only a large company such as this one can make these flights work.

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    3. IndiGo is quite descent company, they are LCC, have included 10kg baggage in ticket price and hand baggage also with no additional cost. Good choice from point A to point B. Food and beverages are BoB. Ticket were booked by Indian airtickets site.

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  21. This is great news for Belgrade Airport and Serbia.

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    1. Yeah but it probably won't happen

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    2. ^ Umm yeah because all of these developments indicate that it won't.

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  22. In 2006 there were only 1.248 Indian tourists in Serbia. In 2018 there will be close to 10.000. Things are improving.

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  23. "noted there were no longer any bureaucratic obstacles for the resumption of flights between the two countries."

    When wwere there flights between India and Serbia?

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    1. ^ Of course there were flights. Ignore the uninformed anonymous at 12.51.

      JAT flew Belgrade - Calcutta up until 1992.

      "The last time Belgrade was linked with flights to India was just prior to the collapse of the former Yugoslavia when JAT Yugoslav Airlines maintained services to Calcutta. In the late 1980s it was to introduce services to Mumbai as well (then known as Bombay) and opened its representative office in the city. However, negotiations with the relevant authorities stalled after the Indian government said ticket sales would be subject to a royalty tax, making it unfeasible for JAT to introduce the flights. The route was primarily aimed to cater for Indians travelling to the United States."

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    2. Flights from Belgrade mentioned in headlines over the past few months as expected soon: India, Saudi Arabia, Shanghai, Morocco, Toronto, Cairo... yet nothing official. Bilaterals, visa policies and other admin issues have been mostly worked on and completed where possible. Announcements are mentioned in the context of Belgrade airport management takeover, but takeover date keeps getting pushed to Dec/Jan. Most airlines are announcing S19 routes now and will complete way before Dec/Jan esp for long haul. Delay with one or two routes is reasonable, but for the whole lot? What seems to be to problem here? Don't even try to say "there is no problem", that denial attempt would make the problem even worse.

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    3. Cairo was not mentioned as destination that will be open soon.

      Regarding to India, Saudi Arabia, Shanghai and Morocco it simply depends from foreign airlines who wish to open flights to Belgrade.

      There was one article only about possible Saudi flights to Belgrade and it is not serious, Shanghai depends mostly from Chinese carrier (even Chinese Ambassador in Serbia mentioned it as almost done deal) and Morocco mostly depends from visa regime removal. Their Embassy in Belgrade is directly involved in opening Casablanca-Belgrade route so we can't say it is not serious matter.

      Toronto is destination that will be probably announced in February 2019 (Air Serbia) so there are no secrets about it.

      It is understandable that opening new route, especially intercontinental one, is not something that can be done so quickly. It takes time and proper planning.

      The best example are so many times mentioned but never announced routes from US and China to ZAG. I have not counted but I estimate there were at least dozen of articles talking about US flights to Zagreb in last who knows how many years. And still capital of Croatia has no direct connection to USA.

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    4. I like how these guys always assume that people who criticize BEG are automatically Croatians

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    5. Who said he assumed that. He just gave an example, a valid one I might add.

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    6. Most routes are in the hands of other airlines except for Toronto. If there is one thing Air Serbia could have learned from JFK launch is timing of ticket sales. February is too late as some passengers plan trips 6 to 9 months in advance and if Air Serbia is not selling, they would have to buy from competition. They also have to be aware of the terminal at YYZ. New airlines that are not part of big alliances are operating from Infield terminal. By far the worst one, with busses taking passengers to board, so Air Serbia should try to stay within T3 like Etihad. Infield terminal has airlines like WOW, Primera, Azores, Ukraine etc

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    7. YYZ has awful infrastructure at all their terminals. One of the worse in the world. Nothing ever works, line ups huge die to poor planning and being cheap when comes to staffing . Like T3 and their infield and satellite terminals are aweful
      . Big corraption with in managment, the highest landing fees in the world but worse airport.

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    8. Croats in Herzegovina are making more connections with Russia, otherwise Croatia want to connect with USA. What about their connections with Israel?

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  24. Call me sceptic, but i see a lot of overstayers and potential immigrants to EU on this route. Bare in mind, i am not that anti-immigration racist skinhead but just overseeing some potential misuse of the visa regime.

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    1. I have not heard by now that a lot of illegal immigrants come from India. We have heard about Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Syria, Sub-Saharan Africa, but not India

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    2. Why wouldn't they just directly emigrate by flying to the West?

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    3. Because they wouldn't be able to board the plane without a visa. And when you get to Serbia, you only need to find a piece of ground border porous enough to cross illegally.

      Still, this is easier said than done.

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  25. The only route that will make sense is Belgrade-Bangalore simply because this is the IT capital of India. The only reason I see this.
    Also Belgrade is still not an IT capital, it should.

    https://seenews.com/news/it-industry-generates-10-of-serbias-gdp-fin-min-618993

    So stop with this tourism bull$H1t and lets get the IT guys and make Serbia richer! Tourism is an industry for poor countries.

    Belgrade needs to hurry up and consider this.

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    1. Ah that guy and his estimates! That would mean that Serbian IT is generating 4 billion US. Silly. This sounds like "80.000 Bulgarians are going to come to Belgrade for New Year eve!" :)))

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    2. The money and the future is in IT, son. 10% of the GDP is simply a lot. Just imagine building a huge IT village and connecting Belgrade to Bangalore. Exchange IT specialists and money flow.
      India has one of the highest IT industries in the world.

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    3. Or simply get IndiGo to launch DEL-BEG and to offer connections to Bangalore.

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  26. U indiji je placa dobra ali uslovi i infrastuktura su vema losi.

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