Swiss plans Serbia market growth

Swiss International Air Lines plans to boost its operations to Serbia next year, with the carrier noting that the country remains one of its "largest markets". The Swiss national airline will add an extra seven weekly flights between Zurich and Belgrade during the 2019 summer season for a total of three daily services. "We’ll be flying three times a day. Belgrade is one of the largest markets and thus very important to us. That said, it is our aim to offer attractive connections to and from this market. The passenger mix consists of a growing part of business travellers but remains an important leisure route too", a Swiss spokesperson told EX-YU Aviation News.

According to the "Aviatica" portal, Swiss is also considering adding extra frequencies between Zurich and Niš, although the carrier itself noted that, "For the time being we are not planning any frequency increase on the Zurich - Niš - Zurich route". The service is currently maintained three times per week in summer and twice weekly during the winter. “We focus on our customer’s needs from and to Switzerland. Our growth is based on our market analysis that identified a great demand for Serbia. The market is very interesting for Swiss, as there is a big community from Serbia living in Switzerland. Therefore, there is a high demand for flights”, the airline said previously .

Swiss faces stiff competition on its flights to Belgrade from Air Serbia, which has also been growing its services to Zurich over the past year. The Serbian carrier has been maintaining seventeen weekly flights between Belgrade and Switzerland's largest city this summer, up from fourteen weekly last year, and will keep its summer frequencies over the upcoming winter season. During the holiday travel period, between mid-December and mid-January, Air Serbia will be operating up to twenty weekly rotations between the two cities. The airline intended on launching two weekly services between Belgrade and Geneva this year but later shelved such plans. Switzerland is one of Serbia's largest travel markets. In addition to the two flag carriers, both Wizz Air and easyJet maintain flights between the two countries.


  1. Anonymous09:02

    It would be interesting to see who has more passengers on this route Swiss or Air Serbia.

    1. Anonymous09:12

      Don't know but next summer Swiss will have more flights on ZRH-BEG route then JU.

    2. Anonymous09:28

      More and more people are opting for alternatives considering the horrible service now offered on JU. This is a shame especially because Zurich flights have a lot of premium passengers (business people).

    3. Anonymous10:49

      Completely agree. If you are a business class passenger the reason for flying JU are nill. Except for the nice lounge at BEG there business class service is now standard economy. Compare this to what you get in Swiss business.

    4. JATBEGMEL10:53

      @ anonymous 9,28

      For ZRH i wouldnt say. Sure, the JU onboard product is not what it used to be, but JU does offer good frequencies to keep business pax (speaking of ZRH). Alot of business pax dont care about the onboard catering, rather they use the time onboard to catch up on work. The only thing JU should do in that part is install power outlets for laptops and drastically improve the wifi offering.

    5. Anonymous10:56

      Wow they went from having one of the best European business class products to the worst.

    6. Anonymous12:00

      Does JU offrer free catering on BEG-ZRH route?

    7. Anonymous12:04

      It depends on which type of fare you purchased

    8. Anonymous15:15

      Shameful I get sandwich but person next to me doesn't policy. At least all get a bottle of water again. Silly company.

  2. Anonymous09:04

    These are quite big increases with Aeroflot and Swiss adding 7 weekly flights. Next summer Aegean is also adding 2 weekly flights to BEG.

    1. Anonymous09:06

      They are? How many is that in total?

    2. Anonymous09:08

      Yes total of 5 per week. It was published here in the last paragraph.

    3. Anonymous09:10

      We would also have Turkish triple daily if the DCV had not blocked them.

    4. Anonymous09:23

      Triple daily and a wibebody.

    5. Nemjee09:24

      Widebodies were sent to European flights Because of fleet shortages. They dispatched them to VIE, ATH...

    6. Anonymous09:26

      All of this is really good for Belgrade, let's hope the airport manages to surpass 6 million passengers next year.

    7. Anonymous09:33

      Next summer (if JU does not decrease its flights) there will be an additional 11 weekly flights to Moscow. Aeroflot will have an extra daily flight compared to this summer and Red Wings plans to operate daily which is an increase from the three weekly this summer.

    8. Anonymous09:34

      ASL needs to "help" airport statistics by growing instead of shrinking.
      Every other country in the Balkans is growing it's passenger numbers by double digits.
      Even mature markets like Greece.
      ASL needs to use this boom in air travel, not just watch other airlines taking a larger and larger market share of BEG's traffic.

      Just my2cents.

    9. Anonymous11:21

      ASL needs new management, urgently. Not the Etihad "know how" which just showed how clueless they all are.

    10. Anonymous14:33

      Indeed. So sad.

  3. Anonymous09:04

    Could they try Geneva again?

    1. Anonymous09:06

      It's difficult to compete against easy Jet on that route.

    2. Anonymous09:07

      Doubt it, easyJet does really well with three weekly.

    3. Anonymous10:14

      They could introduce GVA-INI year round :D

    4. Anonymous11:21

      GVA-INI might not be a bad idea twice per week.

    5. Anonymous14:34

      So many lost opportunities for JU. Just sad and bad.

  4. Anonymous09:05

    It's interesting that Swiss only really succeeded in BEG and PRN in ex-Yu. Elsewhere they suspended flights or turned them seasonal.

    1. Anonymous09:07

      BEG and PRN catchment areas have by far the most gastarbeiter living in CH. That explains the success rather than some clever strategy by Swiss.

    2. Anonymous09:12

      INI as well

    3. Voja09:43

      It is not just diaspora. Passengers on BEG-ZRH route are mix of mentioned diaspora, business and transfer passengers. I'm working in software company in Belgrade that is developing software for Swiss Airlines and Lufthansa and many other clients from Switzerland and only people from my company and our clients that are coming to Belgrade make around 100 trips every week on this route.

    4. Nemjee10:35

      Don't forget something else, LH is having a very strained relationship with FRA so a lot of transfer traffic is switched to other LH Group hubs such as VIE, MUC and ZRH.
      If you look at BEG-MUC, in recent times a lot of seats were added where this winter most flights are operated with the A319. That wasn't the case last winter.

    5. Anonymous14:53

      LH is having a very strained relationship with FRA, why? Because of Ryanair?

    6. Anonymous23:19

      Partially yes. LH blames it on high fares charged towards LH Group but FR (and few others) are getting a bunch of discounts if we believe the rumours.

    7. Anonymous01:21

      Well it was a big mistake to further develop Frankfurt after unification anyway. Government of the time should have worked with LH to develop Berlin together with Munich as hubs.

    8. Nemjee07:34

      Berlin is too poor to be a major hub, LH tried to operate some flights but they all ended up being cancelled. FRA has a much larger catchment area and anyway, if LH wanted a new hub then I think DUS would be a wiser move.

  5. Anonymous09:07

    How often does Swiss fly to Pristina? I am curious ...

    1. Anonymous09:08

      Is it LX or Edelweiss?

    2. Anonymous09:09

      It is LX to Pristina but interestingly only from Geneva, while from Zurich it is Edelweiss. This summer every Saturdays they sent the A340.

    3. LX will increase its GVA-PRN route from twice weekly during the summer season to thrice weekly during the winter season. This route is operated by Airbus 220-300 (CS300) that I had the pleasure to fly approximately 10 days ago.

      WK will operate up to 17 weekly flight on ZRH-PRN route this winter season, but the schedule for these is not definitive yet.

    4. Anonymous11:00

      LX and WK codeshare on certain ZRH-PRN flights. Despite the fact that every flight is operated under WK-numbers, sometimes you can see a Swiss A320 to PRN, when WK does not have "free" aircrafts

    5. Anonymous11:22

      Well WK is owned by LX.

    6. Anonymous23:20

      Whats the difference between LX and WK flight-product-wise??

    7. Anonymous08:17

      43% Swiss, 16% German, 41% Français

      Or close to that :)

    8. Anonymous09:54

      Anon 09/10 at 11:22: WK is a subsidary of LX, yes. But still, WK has its own management, fleet etc. It is similar as LH and EW, but WK has a better overall product than EW.

  6. Anonymous09:11

    Not surprising. The diaspora is huge but like Swiss said there is a lot of business travel between Serbia and Switzerland.

    1. Anonymous09:47

      what kind of business, just curious

    2. Voja09:54

      I already replied on one post above. Only employees from my company that is developing software for many clients in Switzerland including the Swiss Airlines, makes around 100 trips every week on BEG-ZRH route. And there is at least 10+ software companies in Belgrade that are working for Swiss market.

    3. Anonymous10:00

      Sorry, didnt see that, so a lot of IT! Great

    4. Anonymous11:26

      There are a lot of Swiss companies with headquarters in Belgrade. There are 2,209 Swiss nationals living in Serbia at the moment.

    5. Anonymous14:55


  7. Anonymous09:11

    So in summer there will be 38 weekly flights between Belgrade and Zurich!

  8. Anonymous09:12

    Are there any restrictions LX or LH to send when needed widebody to BEG?

    1. Anonymous09:13

      No, they can send which ever aircraft they want.

    2. Anonymous09:18

      The largest they have sent are just A321s. I don't think bigger is required. Before Jat cut up its DC10 they sent it to Zurich regularly.

    3. Anonymous09:22

      Swiss has been sending its A321 quite often this summer.

    4. Anonymous09:35

      Speaking of equipment, yesterday Aegean, Alitalia, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines sent their A321s to BEG, plus we had the A330s from Air Serbia and Hainan Airlines.

    5. Anonymous14:56

      I really do not understand why JU is not sending A330 to Zurich but just let it sit at the airport for days.

  9. Anonymous09:13

    Congratulations Serbia! This is really amazing and it can bring nothing but great results to BEG!

    1. Anonymous09:16

      Does anyone know what kind of works are being done these days in BEG in arrival hall next to the baggage delivery? I mean in few months Vinci will take it over and they are making some repairs now...

    2. Anonymous09:19

      They are doing all the repairs because it is the last time Serbian companies and companies close to the government can win fixed tenders.

  10. Anonymous09:20

    I still don't think the Swiss market can overtake Montenegro where there is around half a million passengers annually :D

    1. Nemjee09:37

      Maybe it can if we add Geneva and Been.

    2. Anonymous15:01

      How do we count Basel airport? :)

  11. Anonymous09:23

    What equipment do they use to Nish?

    1. Anonymous10:06

      A mix of A220, A319, A320 and Helvetic E190 and F100

    2. Anonymous10:08

      Thanks. So it depends on the demand for the day.

    3. Anonymous10:26

      so its not Swiss only but Helvetic as well ;)

  12. Anonymous09:25

    Ah I remember a few years back when there was only a daily flight with both Jat and Swiss. Horrible period.

    The fares used to be high and I could never understand how such a large market could be left so under-served.

  13. Anonymous09:27

    This is bad news for JU.

    1. Anonymous09:40

      Been waiting for you baby

    2. Anonymous09:40

      Why didn't you say it is a bad, bad, bad news for JU?

    3. Anonymous09:42

      Well in this instance he is correct. It is bad news for Air Serbia.

    4. Anonymous09:48

      It is not! It shows interest in the route is growing and we can expect more people to fly filling JU planes as well. Don't be negative in your approach. This should be viewed as an opportunity.

    5. Anonymous10:06

      @Anon 9 October 2018 at 09:48

      Please stop with the rose glasses.
      Let's stick to serious discussion.

    6. Voja10:09

      There is enough space for both airlines on this route. On working days at least half of all passengers are business travelers and JU have better times for business travelers from BEG to ZRH and LX for business travelers from ZRH to BEG. Diaspora chooses cheapest one at the moment and the only edge that LX have are transfer passengers.

    7. Anonymous10:09

      I am sure Arroflot's three daily flights to Moscow will be goodd news for ASL!
      Like TK's flights to IST was also good for ASL ...

    8. Voja10:20

      IST can't be compared at all with other routes. JU stopped flying to IST after all those theorist attacks and attempted coup in Turkey. On BEG-IST route JU was mostly carried point to point passengers and number of those passengers sharply declined after above mentioned events in Turkey. Even TK was flying with half empty planes for several months, but they are much bigger airline that can afford that.

    9. JATBEGMEL10:46

      ZRH has been JU's best performing route. This move by LX seems like trying to catch up with the competition, where JU has had more frequencies up until now.

      What surprises me is JU not having half the success in VIE, for which it has kept a double daily ATR route for years.

      As for IST, I would definately say its time for JU to return, demand is definately there on both ends, this time they have a partner in KK.

    10. Anonymous12:53

      I'm hoping Laudamotion will start VIE-BEG and crush the JU/OS duopoly.

    11. JATBEGMEL16:49

      I doubt Laudamotion would start BEG as their smallest aircraft is the A320. Next to OS and JU who not only have fleet flexibility, frequency and transfer pax, the A320 will be next to impossible to fill. Niki didnt last long even though they sent the ERJ to BEG years back.

    12. Anonymous20:37

      Now is different. No visa requirements, different customer habits, Belgrade is more popular as destination. Hope WIZZ introduce it.

  14. Anonymous09:47

    Whi is better service wise on intra European flights? Austrian, Swiss or Lufthansa?

    1. Anonymous09:48


    2. Anonymous09:52

      do not know about intra EU but the long-haul of Swiss is amazing! Especially in terms of leg room

    3. Lufthansa, but all 3 are excellent.

    4. Anonymous10:17

      Well actually OS service is horrible. Their crew is very unpolite especially to Belgrade. Swiss a bit better but LH is far the best.

    5. Anonymous10:20

      Great Swiss service :D

      How a Serbian Citizen Sued Swiss Air Lines For Discrimination and Harassment... and Won

      "he was insulted on-board in March 2011, when a member of SwissAir cabin crew called him "Serbian swine".

    6. Anonymous10:23

      Wow this is insane! :O

      In 2014, after the ban expired, he was again insulted, by the joint station manager of Austrian Airlines and Swiss Air Lines in Belgrade, Ms Dorit Rosenberg.

      "Ms Rosenberg told me that Serbian people should not travel at all, and then she proceeded to insult me, asking if I was attending a gay pride rally in Belgrade and adding that 'homosexuals should all be killed', after which I complained to the company and was rejected again.

    7. Anonymous10:37

      I regularly fly on continental flights in the D-A-CH region, my ranking:

      I know this topic is not popular, but, on a Swiss flight I always get a sandwich, free drink and a swiss praline before landing, on some flights there r even pre-warmed sandwiches.
      Lufthansa is ok, but theres no personal touch, and OS, i can hardly make a difference between them and lets say Wizzair.

      Long haul only Swiss in premium so far (A330) and for the price you pay there is a better product out there.

    8. Anonymous10:42

      That sounds like pretty good service.

      Although I know it's outside of LH group it's still in Star Alliance but Turkish Airlines is unbeatable in terms of catering on intra Euro flights.

    9. Anonymous10:42

      Swiss on board service is excellent? Maybe as hons or senator flying first product is very good but the rest is simply average. ...

    10. Anonymous15:06

      Swiss by far!
      I regularly fly all three members of the group, and unfortunately Swiss the least. On my recent Athens - Zurich flight (performed by packed A321) there was a full lunch including salmon salad served, drinks were offered twice and traditionally swiss chocolates.

  15. Anonymous10:00

    Good combination of legacy and low cost airlines flying between Switzerland and Serbia.

  16. Anonymous10:13

    Merci Swiss

  17. Anonymous10:16

    Good news - swiss has very good service on this route. It would be good if they also added a couple of flights around the winter holidays :)

  18. Anonymous10:34

    So which foreign airlines will have the most frequencies to BEG next year?

    1. Anonymous10:43

      Wizz Air, Montenegro Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss, Aeroflot...

    2. Anonymous07:31

      1. Wizz Air
      2. Montenegro Airlines
      3. Lufthansa 28x
      4. Aeroflot 21x
      5. Swiss 21x
      6. Austrian 19x
      7. Turkish 14x
      8. LOT 10x
      9. Tarom 9x
      10. Alitalia 7x

  19. Anonymous11:10

    "Belgrade is one of the largest markets and thus very important to us."

    What do they mean by this? I highly doubt BEG is one of the largest markets for them network wide.

    1. Anonymous11:20

      If they say so ... why not believe them, it is not like someone else made a statement.

    2. Anonymous11:22

      It's their statement so I doubt they would lie.

    3. Anonymous11:28

      I'm not saying they are lying I just don't know if they meant in ex-Yu, Balkans, Eastern Europe, Europe or globally.

    4. Voja13:34

      I'm pretty sure that they have much larger markets but Belgrade is probably in top 10%.

  20. Anonymous11:47

    Good to see legacy airlines adding frequency and capacity at BEG.

  21. Anonymous11:48

    Are all these increases in frequencies in anyway related to Vinci? Have they started working behind the scenes?

    1. Anonymous20:40

      Vinci is working behind the scenes?! Let's wait to see whether they manage to secure finances.

  22. Anonymous12:53

    How will Air Serbia respond?

    1. Anonymous13:00

      They will probably introduce air fares to stand in the plane and start charging for toilet use while at the same time increase fares by 100 euros. It's the Etihad "know how" which has destroyed every airline it has shared its knowledge with.

    2. Anonymous13:22

      Lol good one.

    3. Voja13:47

      Why JU need to respond? This is not a war it is business. The serious airline will follow market trends and if they see that demand is rising they will consider the introduction of additional flights.

    4. Nemjee14:12

      If anything, LX is responding to JU's moves. For as long as I can remember JU was always the dominant player on the BEG-ZRH market.

    5. Anonymous14:27

      Nemjee do you perhaps have numbers for either JU or LX on Zurich route?

    6. Nemjee14:39

      I have overall numbers for ZRH-BEG.

      2017: 368.815
      2016: 364.435

      Q1 2016: 72.066
      Q1 2017: 73.839
      Q1 2018: 74.934

      Q2 2016: 97.092
      Q2 2017: 100.713
      Q2 2018: 110.051

    7. Anonymous14:43

      Great! Thank you very much

    8. Voja15:08

      Hi Nemjee. It is a big question is LX responding on JU moves or their management is responding to graphs and data produced by their Business Intelligence department which are showing an increase in demand and in advance sales :-)

    9. Anonymous15:08

      That is good steady growth.
      Is there a way to find out the share of this traffic that JU carried?

    10. Nemjee16:10

      Voja, well, maybe their business intelligence department informed them that they were losing customers because JU offered more flexibility. :) JU might not be the best run business out there but they do have convenient schedules to most European destinations (morning-evening ones).

      That said, I think there are several different factors here such as growing O&D demand, more transfers overall and some that are being shifted away from FRA.

      Almost all foreign carriers are increasing BEG this winter meaning that they are all recording improved loads.

    11. Nemjee16:35

      I have some free time so here are some other numbers for BEG.


      Q1 2016: 45.469
      Q1 2017: 47.259
      Q1 2018: 47.840

      Q2 2016: 62.737
      Q2 2017: 63.700
      Q2 2018: 66.024


      Q1 2016: 27.913
      Q1 2017: 29.911
      Q1 2018: 28.206

      Q2 2016: 29.884
      Q2 2017: 32.737
      Q2 2018: 39.112


      Q1 2016: 7.658
      Q1 2017: 8.017
      Q1 2018: 9.025

      Q2 2016: 8.239
      Q2 2017: 8.531
      Q2 2018: 12.800


      Q1 2016: 12.181
      Q1 2017: 8.989
      Q1 2018: 9.319

      Q2 2016: 12.635
      Q2 2017: 13.821
      Q2 2018: 16.887


      2015: 138.848
      2016: 155.315
      2017: 159.887


      2017: 75.025


      2015: 41.359
      2016: 44.912
      2017: 47.323


      2015: 161.643
      2016: 158.189
      2017: 157.596


      2015: 30.523
      2016: 32.24
      2017: 33.527


      Q1 2016: 18.846
      Q1 2017: 20.368
      Q1 2018: 35.360

      Q2 2016: 32.852
      Q2 2017: 40.482
      Q2 2018: 54.532


      2015: 32.692
      2016: 32.567
      2017: 39.413


      2015: 59.739
      2016: 56.457
      2017: 66.261


      2014: 84.066
      2015: 84.536
      2016: 88.509
      2017: 92.447

    12. Voja16:36

      Nemjee I agree with you. Yes JU have more convenient schedule if you are looking on departure times from BEG. But LX have more convenient schedule if you are looking departure times from ZRH. You can't have both :-)

    13. Nemjee16:43

      Voja, true but JU does really well so it seems the market is large enough for two players.

      That said, one airline that could use a morning departure out of BEG is LO.

    14. Voja16:52

      Nemjee I agree completely. I already wrote in one post above that I think the market is big enough for both.

    15. JATBEGMEL17:16

      Thanks Nemjee for posting numbers. Im surprised your still doing that since I gave up on posting loads for the same reason.

      ATH seems like another route that could do with another morning departure. This summer JU had additional rotations to ATH with a morning charter which Im sure they could make as scheduled, however block seats for the agencies and offer additional seats for transfer pax to JFK.

      LHR seems to be growing really well and I wonder weather its worth restarting LGW as JU cannot get additional slots in LHR, or starting a new UK destination.

      Growth in AMS I think is thanks to Transavia, however I wonder if it would be worth JU increasing to double daily.

      CDG decrease in numbers I would assume is due to JU dropping their frequencies.

    16. With ZRH being a great performer out of BEG, it's interesting how GVA is nowhere near it.
      LX and F7 couldn't make it work, JU dropped its plans to launch it, while U2 almost ended the route.

    17. Nemjee17:47


      I stopped posting for a while as well, seems like that one person has started taking his meds.

      ATH morning flight was there just because of JFK and loads were just ok, not too spectacular. I guess that's just another symptom of JFK's premature launch.

      I think CDG also saw a reduction of capacity as the A320 was moved around, especially on flights to AMS and LHR.

    18. Anonymous18:16

      Nemje, would you have BEG-LTN by any chance, just to get the entire picture for London. I imagine that Wizz handled ~50k to/from Luton ( 3 flights per week x 180pax x 52 weeks x 90% lf) . I see that they added 4th flight from April '19.

    19. Nemjee18:27

      Sorry, from what I could see there is only LHR. Interesting about the 4th flight, didn't they have that many some years ago?

    20. Anonymous19:12

      Great to see numbers. Thanks Nemjee.

  23. realan16:37

    AS pod hitno mora krenuti sa letovima do Toronta i Čikaga. Tako će sigurno oduzeti dobar deo transvera Swisu,a samim tim smanjiti i konkurenciju na direktnoj liniji do Ciriha.

    1. Voja16:50

      Jedino ako će ti letovi biti svakodnevni ili u najgorem slučaju 5 puta nedeljno. U suprotnom neće mnogo da im zasmeta. Takođe transferni putnici iz BEG koje LX ima nisu samo za severnu ameriku već na gomilu drugih destinacija tako da bi JU morala da uvede letove na većinu od njih da preuzela transferne putnike.

      Što se tiče severne amerike moj subjektivni utisak, pošto nemam nikave zvanične podatke, je da najveći broj putnika koristi TK preko IST. Takođe veliki deo ide preko AMS koristeći kodšer JU i KLM-a.

    2. realan17:22

      Ju nažalost može da krene jedino sa letovima gde ima dijaspore što srpske što iz regiona,sve ostalo je nerealno.

    3. JATBEGMEL17:27

      If JU was to have any effect on their competition, they need to boost their regional fleet so as to boost regional frequencies. O&D pax between the ex-YU republics is there, and JU has a decent amount of destinations it can attract transfer for. ATR's are not expensive to lease nor are they expensive to operate. Obviously there is demand for N American destinations from the Balkans, however not enough for all to have them. JU could easily route them via BEG just boosting their ATR fleet by a couple of aircraft, which they already have a shortage of.

    4. Anonymous18:41

      Would anyone know monthly dry lease rates for AT7, up to 15yrs old ?

    5. Anonymous20:46

      Exactly JATBEGMEL

    6. TheBosnian00:58

      lease rates for ATR 72:

      -500 series older contracts 60-80k, newer contracts 110-130k
      -600 series older contracts 125-150k, newer 150-180k.

  24. Anonymous18:20

    From what I see, the flights will be downgraded from A321 to A220. Morning and evening flights. So capacity is not that increased, clearly indicating transfers and not business.

    1. Anonymous18:23

      Swiss uses mix of equipment. A321 have never operated exclusively on this route. Neither are they operatong with A321 at the moment and it is summer season.

    2. Anonymous19:34

      Filling 3 daily A320s is quite difficult. Most logic is to send smaller planes.

    3. Anonymous20:47

      It is key to get frequencies.


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