Hainan Airlines to suspend Belgrade service

China's Hainan Airlines has discontinued the sale of its two weekly flights between Beijing and Belgrade via Prague as of late November, indicating the route's imminent suspension. However, it is yet to remove the flights from Global Distribution Systems. According to the "Airlineroute" portal, Hainan Airlines' last flight to Belgrade is currently scheduled to operate on November 23, after which ticket sales have been suspended. It comes just over a year since the route's launch in September 2017. In a short response, the airline told EX-YU Aviation News it "has no answer at this moment" concerning the route's fate but would follow up on the inquiry. Flights between Beijing and Belgrade via Prague operate with the 292-seat Airbus A330-300 aircraft. The airline has fifth freedom rights on the Prague - Belgrade - Prague sectors, allowing it to also sell tickets between the two cities.

Hainan Airlines recently said the majority of its bookings to Belgrade were made by Chinese tourists, who can travel to Serbia visa free. During the first three quarters, 77.543 Chinese nationals visited the country, representing an increase of 103.2% on the same period last year. As a result, Chinese visitors were the third most common in Serbia, behind only those from Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Chinese carrier previously noted it would consider upping frequencies on its flights to Belgrade or introducing nonstop flights to the city, depending on demand. Furthermore, the airline concluded a codeshare agreement with Air Serbia two months ago, which has seen it place its flight numbers and designator code onto its Serbian counterpart's service between Belgrade and Skopje, while in return, Air Serbia codeshares on Hainan's flights from Belgrade to Beijing. Previously, Serbian officials said they were in talks with Hainan Airlines over modifying the service in order for it to operate with the routing Beijing - Belgrade - Sarajevo. The Chinese Ambassador to Serbia also said negotiations were under way for the introduction of flights between Shanghai and Belgrade.

Hainan Airlines' sales office at Belgrade Airport

Hainan Airlines is considered to be one of China's best carriers and has been consistently ranked as one of the top ten best airlines in the world. Subsidiaries of Hainan's parent company, the HNA Group, which is involved in aviation, real estate, financial services, tourism, logistics, and other industries, placed a bid, as part of a consortium, for the 25-year concession of Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport last year, however, pulled out in the final stages. The Group has been struggling with debt of 95 billion US dollars and has been selling off both its Chinese and international assets in order to balance its books.


  1. Anonymous09:00

    Well, that was a short intermezzo and a pretty sudden plug in the middle of the winter timetable. But it was pretty obvious this would not work from the beginning, as many here were claiming and dreaming of further and non stop destinations to China. Maybe Air Serbia will be forced to fly the route now for some not to lose their faces.

    1. Anonymous09:04

      Then at least that old, expensive, wet leased A330 won’t be parked on apron 5 days in a week. :)

    2. Anonymous10:15

      It's good to see at least two persons whose soulfood and lifeblood arrived with this morning's news.

    3. Anonymous10:22

      It is rather the reality that has struck than any kind of soulfood which is rather found in the comments by those that really believed BEG can sustain those flights without Government support and solely based on the abolishment of visas...

    4. Anonymous10:53

      If Hainan could not work via PRG and with so many connections in China and Asia, for sure Air Serbia have no chance on that route non stop.

    5. Anonymous11:00

      Remember the situation with IR, don't rush to dismiss Hainan or PEK just yet.

      Also Hainan via Prague was not competitive compared with SU, TK, QR...

    6. Anonymous11:24

      What is with IR? are they coming back definitely? Thought just unconfirmed rumours..

    7. Anonymous11:26

      Yes Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate is spreading "unformed rumors"


    8. Anonymous11:31

      oh, ok so the article should have read..."..iran-air-resumes-belgrade-ops-from-November"

    9. Anonymous11:39

      The reason the article says "likely to resume" is probably because the author/admin does not believe they will resume the flights even if they applied for permit.

    10. Anonymous12:33

      Or maybe it's because they are waiting for the government to give the green light since Serbia and Iran don't have an Open Skies Agreement.

      That's like saying 'TK announces four more flights and a widebody to BEG' before they get the permit for those.

    11. Anonymous12:38

      ok so it is not confirmed or bookable, but working status.

    12. Anonymous04:13

      That was eventful, Hainan ends service after 14 months, hm. I guess political projects never last, especially if there's little commercial demand.

    13. Anonymous07:25

      Or maybe they didn't meet the needs of the 'commercial demands?'
      As in why would someone fly with them via Prague when they can have faster flights and more flexibility with someone else?

  2. Anonymous09:02

    Odd. We will see soon if the route is actually being discontinued. Easy Jet also closed reservations for Geneva - Belgrade flights at the start of the year for over a month and then put ticket sales back on. They fly the route to this day. So we will see.

    1. Anonymous09:09

      Yes I would wait too before giving a final comment. Reason - reservation for this route opened 2 weeks before flights started even though Chinese tour operators could book directly with the company. So let's see. I'm apprehensive simply because they filed a whole winter schedule with BEG airport.

    2. Anonymous09:16

      Their response is weird.

  3. Anonymous09:05

    I flew Turkish Airlines two weeks ago (evening flight from Belgrade, return morning flight from Istanbul) and on both occasions there were at least 30 Chinese passengers. On the one from Belgrade there was an entire tourist group accompanied with a guide. I'm assuming the Hainan route just wasn't convenient.

    1. Anonymous09:54

      Too little frequencies loosing out to competition.

    2. JATBEGMEL17:14

      I recently flew the midnight SU flight to SVO and noticed ALOT of the pax were connecting to PVG. There was soo many, I thought at least half the plane is connecting to PVG.

    3. Anonymous07:27

      How was the overall load on that flight to SVO?

  4. Anonymous09:07

    What will they do with the plane now? It will sit in Prague for six hours?

    1. Anonymous09:09

      So? Less expensive than send it almost empty on short route like PRG-BEG.

    2. Nemjee09:10

      PRG is no longer on sale, flights are routed via BRU in cooperation with OK.
      BEG is routed via FCO.

    3. Anonymous09:11

      I was just asking what will they do with the plane in form of a question.

    4. Anonymous09:14

      Yes! Its like most Asian and African carriers do at all airports in Europe..

    5. Anonymous09:17

      its 8 hours, interesting the schedule for PRG didnt changed so far

    6. Anonymous09:21

      Another HNA Group airline - Sichuan Airlines has a similar schedule to Prague. They fly

      They fly Chengdu - Prague - Zurich. They added the Zurich tag when Hainan added Belgrade.

    7. Anonymous09:55

      So they're cancelling Prague?

    8. Anonymous10:55

      From May Hanan will open 3pw Beijing-Prague-Zagreb.

    9. Anonymous11:01

      Even that routing would make no sense. Either you fly it direct or you chose EK, QR, LH, TK or SU.

    10. Anonymous11:13

      You do realize that Zagreb has 17 flights per week by Air Canada Rouge, Air Transat, Emirates and Korean in top season?

      So would it be strange that for 250.000 Chinese tourists (2018) what will be at least 300.000 in 2019 they would open some Croatian routes? And Zagreb is most realistic option.

    11. Anonymous11:29

      I am not saying that it would make no sense to fly to ZAG! Just wrote that THAT ROUTING would make no sense when there is strong one stop daily options already.

    12. Anonymous15:50

      I doubt Hainan will fly to Zagreb is they suspended Prague. Prague is bigger market for the Chinese than Zagreb. This year 220 000 Chinese visitors to Croatia, 80 000 to Zagreb alone, Prague had 492 000 Chinese visitors last year. Although Croatia is catching up fast, and could surpass Czech R in terms of Chinese visitors by 2025, as Chinese visitors numbers grew 40% yoy for past 3 years in a row.

      China Eastern might be more likely airline that will start flights to Zagreb, it'll be direct and it'll happen in 2020, not sooner. Korean Air has excellent loads on Zagreb flights, in high 90s. ANA and few Chinese carriers are taking notice. Emirates also had good numbers on flights to Zagreb, an average loads above 90%.

      Visitor numbers so far this year.

      Non European visitors 2018/1-9:

      USA - 518.233
      S. Korea - 316.494
      Australia - 226.007
      China - 173.732
      Canada - 158.956
      Japan - 128.163
      Taiwan - 82.448
      Brazil - 59.940
      India - 57.298
      Argentina - 48.872
      Singapore - 41.723
      New Zealand - 40.216
      Malaysia - 37.423
      Hong Kong - 28.054
      Thailand - 24.160
      South Africa - 23.391
      Mexico - 15.528
      UAE/Qatar/Kuwait - 22 000
      Chile - 12.275
      Indonesia: 11.012

  5. Anonymous09:07

    Waiting for Aeroflot to increase Belgrade to 4 daily now ... You heard it here first.

    1. Anonymous09:13

      Because of 2 weekly flights with roughly 60 seats sold between PEK and BEG, SU would introduce another DAILY? Does not make too much sense.. SU is rather fighting to squeeze out Red Wings and JU with its third daily...sames as they do with their codeshare partner JP ;)

    2. Anonymous09:56

      Majority of Chinese tourists to Serbia come via Aeroflot.

  6. Anonymous09:09

    To be honest, why would someone fly from Belgrade to Beijing over Prague and vice versa. I would rather take Turkish or Aeroflot for a much better price.

    This is an opportunity for Air Serbia to start flights to Beijing (and knowing how the thing works, it could be a part of an overalls agreement).

    1. Anonymous09:10

      Shanghai would make much more sense.

  7. Nemjee09:10

    PEK-PRG is no longer on sale either so it only makes sense that BEG is also discontinued.

    1. Anonymous09:16

      Not true, PEK-PRG is on sale.

    2. Anonymous09:19

      PEK-PRG is on sale 3 times a week on Hainans website, whereas BEG is removed.

    3. Anonymous09:25

      PRG is the jewel of Eastern Europe and always has so much demand. Why would they cancel it? Furthermore, PRG is connected to several Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Xian and Chengdu. Crazy!

    4. Anonymous09:50

      PRG is not in Eastern Europe.

    5. Anonymous10:01

      It is politically :) Geographically however its more Central Europe :)

    6. Anonymous10:14

      All former Warsaw pact countries are considered Eastern.

    7. Anonymous12:17

      @Anonymous 8 November 2018 at 10:01
      And I consider Cyprus Northern Europe. Prove me wrong :)

    8. Anonymous12:34

      "All former Warsaw pact countries are considered Eastern."

      By whom?

      "It is politically"

      How so? They are classified as a developed country and have a GDP per capita that most Eastern European countries could only wish for.

      "Geographically however its more Central Europe"

      Geographically, it's smack in the middle of Central Europe.

    9. Anonymous13:13

      Nemje,if you tried to search for the PEK-PRG flights on Hainan website, there are still there, even after 23 November. You have to scroll the table of all the connection found a bit down - oddly the first choice comes via Brussels, but PRG-PEK flights are there, lower. My judgement is that the list of flights is shown according to the departure time from PRG... regardless of non-stop or transfer flights.

    10. Nemjee16:07

      Thank you for that, that's why I immediately assumed it was suspended. I don't know of any airline that ranks connecting flights over non-stop ones unless you specifically change your search criteria.

  8. JU520 BEGLAX09:15

    During the winter season tourist flows decrease everywhere even in cities abroad, also flight loads decrease (in ZRH many airline struggles in Nov to mid Dec and mid Jan to mid March. In this period u live mainly fm Business Travel. So here we go: How many Business travellers generates BEG to China per flight? 2, 5? 10?
    Seems not enough to operate the route. Hopefully BEG will be back for SUTT 2019

    1. Anonymous10:36

      Which none ZRH based airline live mainly from Business travel in Q4 and Q1?

    2. Anonymous11:06

      The thing is that ZRH is a high yield market. For airlines flying to ZRH winters are slower but they can still rely on Pax flying in Biz and First which brings money.

  9. Anonymous09:18

    This is good news for ASL and BEG-PRG route.

    1. Anonymous10:27

      But bad for passengers flying that route.

    2. Anonymous10:27

      We will see now if JU increases frequencies back on PRG route next summer.

    3. Anonymous10:33

      Yet another monopoly route where the rates will immediately increase meaning less Czechs visiting Beograd and vice versa.

  10. Anonymous09:21

    So, all the euphoria regarding the flux of Chinese tourists was a myth. BEG tops the charts when it comes to new airline arrivals lasting for a very short period.
    Previous examples: TP, BT, U6, IR, QB, W5 and probably much more.
    This just shows how solid the position of JU is in the airport and high reliance on it.

    Anyway, thank you for the short ride, HU and hasta la vista.

    1. Anonymous09:23

      I think the euphoria is justified considering that numbers of Chinese tourists are up over 100% in a year and that Chinese are now third most populous tourits (second if you remove BiH).

    2. Anonymous09:28

      The number of Chinese tourists exceeds the number of seats offered by HU meaning that they were never popular. There is a reason why QR is sending its A321 this winter, why Aeroflot increased flights to three daily and why TK requested to increase flights to 18 weekly and to send the A333 on the route.

      Btw IR requested to resume flights if you didn't know.

  11. Anonymous09:28

    What are the costs for an airline to operate an A333 on such a short sector? Those costs must be horrendous if you calculate the per seat costs. Can they really compete with the likes of TK and Middle Eastern carriers?

  12. Anonymous09:32

    It's unfortunate because although there were quicker ways to get to Beijing the price was quite good. 520 euros return ticket.

    1. Anonymous10:26

      They were also a great alternative to JU's Prague flights. For the same price you get to fly the A330 to PRG :)

  13. Anonymous09:33

    That is a major loss for BEG.
    We were discussing only recently that the route was doing so good and that Belgrade had become a hot destination for Chinese tourists and businesses that the flight would become direct.
    What a let down.

    1. Anonymous09:38

      Does not have anything to do with Chinese visitors. Their number will certainly continue to grow. We have much more visitors from China here in Croatia and no direct flight. They will find their way and come on TK and others ;)

  14. Anonymous09:34

    Vinci is not off to a very good start now, is it?

    1. Anonymous09:36

      Why? pretty much every airline has increased frequencies to Belgrade this winter.

    2. Anonymous09:41

      A flight to China is both more important and more prestigious than say LO or RO increasing capacity to WAW and OTP.

    3. Anonymous09:43

      Well it's not just LO or RO. There are the likes of Aeroflot adding a third daily flight, Red Wings flying 4 times per week (new), Lufthansa announcing new daily flight to Munich next year, Austrian increasing frequencies, Aegean increasing frequencies, Bel Avia increasing frequencies, Etihad increasing frequencies and the list continues. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying loosing Hainan is not important but I hardly think it's Vinci's "bad start", and they haven't even started. Not for another month.

    4. Anonymous10:25

      The sooner Vinci takes over, the better! French managers are already swarming around the airport and "observing" from what I hear for a friend working there.

  15. Anonymous09:37

    HNA as a group is in deep financial troubles.
    Also the Chinese government has ordered companies and individuals to reduce spending abroad.
    So weaker destinations like BEG get cut first.

    1. Anonymous11:27

      Their boss suddenly died in Paris.
      HNA also pulled out of Plovdiv after winning the concession.

  16. Anonymous09:38

    They make space for AS :D at the end of the day, there is noch much economical logic in AS long-haul flights anyway

    1. JATBEGMEL17:31

      I don't think the A330 is burning too much money now that it has established itself onto the market. They did after all increase it to 6 p/w, and this summer seems as if they were filling the aircraft really well. Cargo seems to be doing well even if pax numbers may have stagnated.

      Another A330 could easily do 3 p/w YYZ and 2-3 p/w PVG. Ties with China are growing, tourism from China are growing in large numbers, business is growing between the 2, the question is whether JU could pull it off. It wouldn't be the worst idea.

  17. Anonymous09:39

    I know a lot of people who travel to Beijing and none use this route. Mostly fly via Arabs (the ones I know).

    Anyhow, maybe we get a direct line sometime in the future. The amount of investment from China has increased significantly this year. They just bought gold mine, copper mine, refinery etc. We will see.

  18. Anonymous09:47

    Since Serbian media have all just published this story as well, I will be interested to see if their is some reaction from Serbian government.

    1. Anonymous09:50

      The worst thing in those stories is that in the comments you can read that people are actually happy the route is being suspended as a spite to the government. Nuts o.O

    2. Anonymous10:44

      Interestingly even the worst pro-government tabloid sites like Telegraf and Srbija Danas are reporting it.

    3. Danas is pro-goverment tabloid? I wouldn't say so.

    4. Anonymous11:08

      Not "Danas" but "Srbija Danas" different ones :)

  19. Anonymous09:48

    They would have been much more competitive without the Prague stop.

    1. Anonymous10:08

      ...and at a higher frequency.

  20. Anonymous10:21

    Gonna laugh so hard at yall when direct line is announced in a few days.

    1. Anonymous10:27

      Might happen. But then Hainan is really stupid in their public relations. If you are a normal airline, you would communicate in a positive way. "Hainan makes BEG direct" for example...

    2. Anonymous10:31

      If you are a normal airline your PR department does not respond like this:

      the airline told EX-YU Aviation News it "has no answer at this moment" concerning the route's fate but would follow up on the inquiry.

    3. Anonymous11:48

      Yes, I thought that too.

      They signed code share with JU, Chinese ambassador said the second route to China will be open from Belgrade, number of tourists is growing, business ties are stronger, no visa regime...
      We might expect direct line to BEG

  21. Anonymous10:28

    This just makes no sense especially since just a month ago they signed a codeshare with Air Serbia for this route.

    1. Anonymous10:30

      Yes, now JU can fly the Pax from PRG to BEG on a HU flight number.

    2. Anonymous07:52

      Was there any regional feed on those flights?

  22. Anonymous10:40

    Major fail for BEG - the route is closed for the summer 2019 as well.

    Now it is obvious that there are not so many Chinese tourists visiting Serbia. The buble has burst.

    1. Anonymous10:46

      You can see the number of Chinese tourists visiting Serbia. It's actually in the text. It's not as if someone is hiding it.

    2. Anonymous11:05

      That is not a big number. Serbia will have 90.000 Chinese tourists in 2018 what is to small number for direct line.

      Croatia will have 250.000 Chinese tourists in 2018. but still no direct line.

    3. Anonymous07:32

      In the first nine months of the year, there were 77.543 Chinese tourists in Serbia, +203% compared to last year.

      In September there were 12.552 or +197% more than last year.

      In other words, this year Serbia will have between 105.000 and 120.000 Chinese tourists. As mentioned someone earlier, there are far more tourists than Hainan offered seats meaning they were not the primary carrier for them but SU, TK and QR were.

    4. Anonymous08:54

      90000 or 105000 not a big difference. Still modest number. But for sure it will not be more than 90.000. If in first 9 months there was 77.543, that is 8.600 per month, and in those were the best months, so it will be average less than 5.000 per month in last 3 months of year.

  23. Anonymous10:42

    Winter time is almost identical in Beijing and Serbia so it is challenging to maintain fair load factors unless the Serbian government were to give subsidies.

    1. Anonymous10:49

      There is much less smog in BEG ;)

    2. Anonymous10:56

      Maybe Serbia should try to give cash to foreign air carriers from so called "udruzeno oglasavanje" fund

    3. Anonymous11:17

      Yes it should. But "udruženo oglašavanje" is just 8 millions EUR, Serbia is spending 20 millions to Air Serbia. They should spent that money to other carriers instead of Air Serbia.

    4. Anonymous11:18

      No, I would rather we support our own airline and Serbian employees than foreigners.

    5. Anonymous11:37

      You keep forgetting it is not the only source of income for airlines in Croatia?

    6. Anonymous11:43

      AA flies 1 route seasonally
      KE flies 1 route during the winter through ZRH
      EK flies 1 route seasonally
      AC flies 1 route seasonally
      TS flies 1 route seasonally

      So 8 million for 5 seasonal routes = 1,6 million per route to go to foreign countries
      JU case 20 million for year round 40 routes = 0,5 million per route to stay in Serbia

      I really wonder what is better

    7. Anonymous11:59

      Your forget it is 21 weekly flights in summer and 3 in winter. 21 long-haul flights in summer (3 per day) for 8 million? Sorry but you have double standards. What more, GoS said that most money of those 20 million is used for New York flights.

      1,6 million for intercontinental route for sure is better option than 0,5 for average 1,5 hours flight inside Europe and just one route to New York.

    8. Anonymous12:37

      Shouldn't we also factor in the Croatian discounts to the airport operator at ZAG? Didn't they already lower the concession fee? That's also a form of subsidy.

    9. Anonymous12:45

      Yes all airlines are receiving discounts in ZAG and virtually pay nothing or get money from the government to fly there ---

      --- but the highest charges among EU airports are deterring LCCs and others from flying to ZAG. Wonder what direction the wind will be blowing in the next artice on a different story...

    10. Anonymous12:46

      I was talking about the routes not weekly flights and talking about weekly flights surely does not go in favor of Croatia as 20 mil eur for all JU year round (not only May-Septembar as AA does) network is much much less than 8 mil for only 5 routes of foreign airlines that all except KE fly seasonally to Croatia.
      But if you wish to think it is better deal for Croatia, I have nothing against

    11. Anonymous12:49

      Now they did not. This proposal is not even present to Government. For now it is just and idea.

    12. Anonymous12:51

      with no doubt it is much better deal for Croatia.

      But once again, why you ignore the fact that Serbia said most of those 20 million is help for New York route. One and only New York route. Not 5 of them with 21 flights per week, but one whit 5 flights per week.

    13. Anonymous13:32

      Well if you believe that 8 million for 5 mostly seasonal routes is better than 20 mil for whole year round network then I think it makes no sense discussing it further.

      I have not seen that article you are talking about. Can you please send the link?

    14. Anonymous13:57


      "Furthermore, the state provided a twenty million euro subsidy, which is half of what the company used to receive from its majority shareholder, although the carrier was also granted twelve million euros for the "development of tourism". The Serbian Finance Minister, Siniša Mali, has said that the payment credited under tourism development is primarily for the support of the carrier's long haul service to New York. "As part of our tourism development strategy until 2025, the Serbian government has decided to extend its support to whatever contributes to tourism growth. In this case, it is flights to North America. Without that support there would be no service to the US. However, Air Serbia's financial performance would remain unchanged", Mr Mali said recently."

      So, Pssssssst! 12 million for tourist development + part of those 20 million for one route to JFK with average of 5 flights pw in top season and 3 flights pw in winter, compare to 21 flights in top season + 3 flights per week in winter fof JUST 8 million!

    15. Anonymous14:29

      Ok, so it means all the JU routes to Europe are profitable unlike OU.
      Well done. At least no LHR slots need to be sold.

    16. Anonymous14:33

      Both of your countries have peanuts in terms of long haul flights. I wouldn't be bragging. Either one of you.

    17. Anonymous16:00

      Compare to UK, Germany and France your are absolutely right. But compare to Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lethonia, Albania, Slovakia, Malta, even Hungary you are not right.

    18. JATBEGMEL17:07

      I don't understand what normal person would believe what is said by this (Serbian) government. 20 million was certainly not given to keep JFK, however I'm not saying that the A330 is making money for JU.

      I find it hard to believe that JU is not making good money during the summer time with the A330, being sent to JFK 6 p/w during the peak summer months (lets say for 3 months). Then there is periods of 5 p/w, 4 p/w, and for 2-3 months maximum 2 p/w. As I said, I don't believe that the A330 is making JU money overall, however I'm sure that during the summer they earn enough to handle some of the lower earnings from the slower winter season, and don't believe that 20 million is spent on JFK.

      JU keeps on transforming itself every several months and I believe that is where these millions in losses is coming from. Reconfiguring newly configured aircraft is not cheap, and they reconfigured 10 Airbuses! wifi installation was not free, lounge set up was not free, neither was the transfer of their reservations system free either. Add onto expensive aircraft leases, expensive Etihad "know how", need I say more?

    19. Anonymous08:57

      20 was not. But as said in article most of 12 million did.

  24. Anonymous10:43

    And Hainan province and Vojvodina just signed a strategic cooperation agreement :D

    1. Anonymous12:06

      LOL Hainan and Vojvodina brothers for ever!

  25. Anonymous10:47

    Will be a pitty not seeing their A330 parked at BEG.

  26. Anonymous11:11

    Not good for Belgrade.

    Iran Air - stop flying
    Hainan - stop flying

    Now, Belgrade has just 2 flights per week to New York on most of winter (few more flights during two weeks around New Year), and 3-6 pw in summer.

    Zagreb here really win long-haul
    Air Canada Rouge one more flight from 4 to 5 pw
    Emirates 7 pw
    Air Transat 2 pw and one of those to Montreal from next year
    Koran 3 pw nonstop
    That is 17 long-haul flights pw in summer
    + Air Transat to Split 1pw
    + American to Dubrovnik 3pw

    1. Anonymous11:12

      Iran Air starts flying to Belgrade from November.

      Also none of Air Transat's flights are from Montreal next year.

      Best to check your info again.

    2. Anonymous11:36

      All the long haul flights to ZAG are direct and year-round?

      How much money did Croatia or certain Croatian funds pay for these airlines to operate to your country?

    3. Anonymous11:40

      Hey guys ;) Mine is the biggest ;) you lost out.. :D

    4. Anonymous12:02

      Today it is 8th November. You really think they will start to fly in another 20 days without selling tickets already? No way!!!!

      Air Transat will open Montreal-Zagreb route. This year they had some flights as tasting market, next season they will have regular flights to Montreal.

      They pay much less than Serbia to Air Serbia for JFK and to Hainan.

    5. Anonymous12:04

      Sorry to burst your bubble but Air Transat has already published its summer season timetable for its entire network. No Montreal flights.

    6. Anonymous12:05

      @ 12.2 Who paid Hainan exactly?

    7. Anonymous12:07

      No one. But he had to make up something. You see his trying to show how big he is?

    8. Anonymous12:08

      Clearly Croatia wins.

    9. Anonymous12:09

      Wins what?

    10. Wins the scheduled wide body game, as for the next summer, at the moment Serbia has 6 wide body flights by Air Serbia , and Croatia has 3 by Air Transat, 5 by Air Canada Rouge, 3 by American Airlines, 7 by Emirates and 3 by Korean Air, altogether 21. So it's 21 flights against 6 in favour of Croatia which is not only win, but significant win. And this is not "my is bigger", these are the numbers and facts, no matter how much you dislike them

    11. Anonymous12:31

      What prize do you get?

    12. Anonymous12:35

      "no matter how much you dislike them"

      Who said I dislike it? Even with Hainan flights it would have more. Maybe fix your tone a bit. Neither did I start comparing nor did I say there were less flights. It is your countryman that started comparing on his own. Needed an ego boost for some reason, obviously.

    13. Anonymous12:38

      All of them year-round?

    14. Anonymous12:39

      And in the end BEG almost reached six million passengers despite all your bigger 'aduti.'

    15. Anonymous12:54

      Compared to almost 11 million passenger Croatia has? But unlike Belgrade, here in Croatia we think all regions should develop not just Zagreb. And we support this.

    16. Anonymous13:00

      @Anon:12:54- why those provocations?

    17. @An.12.38
      No, they are not all year-round, but Korean Air is 3 weekly year-round, the same or in some periods even more than winter JU BEG-JFK. Still, I believe it's better to have 21 in summer and 3 in winter compared to 6 in summer and 3 in winter. In addition to that I believe Croatia has much more potential for long haul flights. Am I right we shall see soon.

      I was speaking about numbers in Croatia and Serbia, not ZAG and BEG. And here we go again, Croatia has 4 million more than Serbia. I don't know where your frustrations come from to speak about general BEG numbers when we discuss other stuff here. Btw. BEG is the BIGGEST and most important airport in ex-yu, it has always been and will probably always be. I never denied it, and I have absolutely no problems with it. But I believe some people have problem with denial of the facts that Croatia is more interesting for carriers from distant markets than Serbia. As simple as that.

    18. Anonymous13:13

      It is quite interesting nobody compared year round widebody flights at the time 3 airlines from Iran were flying to BEG including Hainan to PEK and JU to JFK.
      Now suddenly all of dear neighbours rememberd to count them.

    19. Anonymous14:06

      Jest some did. Purger even made article on it. Here are numbers of long-haul weekly frequencies:

      Mach and April
      ZAG 7
      BEG 3

      ZAG 9
      BEG 5

      ZAG 14
      BEG 8

      July and August
      ZAG 13
      BEG 14

      Septmeber and October
      ZAG 16
      BEG 7

      ZAG 10
      BEG 5

      December and all winter
      ZAG 3
      BEG 3 (2 weeks 4, most of winter 2)

    20. Anonymous14:20

      ZAG-DXB is long haul and BEG-DXB isn't ,right?

    21. Anonymous14:43

      long haul = wide body flight? The discussion is about Wide Bodies = BIG PLANES ;) A321 flying to the USA from Europe still is long haul operated by an narrow body ;) so pay attention about what is being discussed, and calm your feeling down.

    22. Anonymous16:03

      No, long haul is not wide body flights. But by Eurocontrol long haul are flights over 4000 km, what Zagreba-Dubai is, but Belgrade-Dubai is not. And Eurocontrol is authority in air traffic!

    23. Anonymous16:10

      Guys, get real, Croatia is still light years behind Bulgaria in terms of passenger numbers in the world of tourism.

    24. Anonymous19:48

      Croatia had 17 million tourist arrivals in 2017, Bulgaria had 12.

    25. Anonymous21:38

      In terms of airport traffic, look at those numbers. BG is way ahead of Croatia.

    26. Anonymous22:56

      Bulgarian airports had 11.5 million passengers in 2017, Croatian airports had 9.6 million passengers in 2017. Wouldn't exactly count that as "light years ahead" or "way ahead". Specially when you consider Bulgaria has population of 7 million people versus Croatia's 4.1 million. Or when you consider the fact that Bulgaria is twice as large as Croatia and that Bulgaria is much further away from EU's population center so not nearly as much people will choose to fly rather than drive.

    27. Anonymous07:44

      Of course, so many excuses all the time.

      Back in 2015 both countries were more or less tied:

      Bulgaria: 7.951.752
      Croatia: 7.255.234


      Bulgaria: 11.535.096
      Croatia: 9.626.021

      On top of that Bulgaria isn't advertizing itself as much as Croatia is nor does it have seasonal intercontinental routes not to mention that EK doesn't fly there. So what if they have seven million people? Population has very little to do with tourism stimulation. You have Rhodes with 115.000 people but it's airport handled 5.3 million passengers last year.

      Albania is now heavily promoting itself in tourism and even its numbers are rapidly growing despite having TGD next door and OHD nearby. In the first nine months of the year they had 2.291.883 passengers, very close to 2.569.296 ZAG handled.

      So you see, when you look at numbers from a different perspective things aren't as impressive.

    28. Anonymous08:03

      @Anonymous9 November 2018 at 07:44

      massive difference between Croatia and Bulgaria is, LCCs. Sofia's air traffic is dominated by LCCs, in Croatia LCCs are present but they constitute small segment of overall traffic. In Zagreb it is less than 5%, in Split, Dubrovnik it is less than 50%, in Bulgaria this percentage is nearly 65%.

      Sofia's rapid growth in past few years, well since 2008, is driven by LCCs, Sofia will handle around 7 million passengers this year, 65% of that traffic due to LCCs, Wizz air and Ryan air in particular. if we had so many LCCs in Zagreb, you'd see massive jump in traffic, over night, Zagreb would hit 5 million pax in 2020 and over 10 million by 2025.

      Reducing the costs for LCCs so they can fly out of Zagreb would be unfair to other carriers who are generating traffic for the airport and pay their fees and taxes.

    29. Anonymous08:58

      Well if there was more demand for LCC then they would be flying to ZAG. Norwegian just discontinued some flights and easyJet has not returned in a while.

      Coast might have 50% LCC but most other flights are operated by charter airlines, not legacies.

    30. Anonymous09:20

      There is demand but the condotions are not right for the LCC business model in ZAG, this has been confirmed by at least one airline and the airport operator themselves.

      @Anon 7:44, they’re not excuses, what is there to excuse anyways? They are explanations and responses given to another comment which said that Bulgaria is light years ahead.

      Also, while population size may not affect inbound tourism traffic it sure does affect overall air traffic. You don’t know how much of 11.5 million of Bulgaria’s passengers are tourists, nor do you know how much of Croatia’s 9.6 million passengers are inbound tourists. What we can assume, based on the sizes of two countries, socio-economic similarities and, yes, their populations is that Bulgaria surely has more domestic and outbound tourist passengers than Croatia.

    31. Anonymous10:17

      Any airline that flies to ZAG gets massive disounts to fly there as claimed here by many, that is why LCC do not fly to ZAG because ZAG is soo expensive as is claimed by others.

    32. Anonymous10:18

      I wish I could fly to ZAG for 60€ return as I did recently on FB from Franfkurt to SOF.

    33. Anonymous12:09

      @Anonymous9 November 2018 at 08:58

      Actually Norwegian is doing excellent in Zagreb, but they only offer two destinations Stockholm and Copenhagen, in fact Norwegian also cancelled Belgrade and now only flies to Copenhagen, like in Zagreb.

      Problem isn't the passengers, it is the airline, offer of destinations. Many Croats go to Budapest, Vienna, Ljubljana and Venice to get cheap flights. Something like 3 million pax is lost every year in Zagreb region due to no LCCs with good number of destinations.

      When Monarch flew to Zagreb they had load factor above 80% year round, London Gatwick was over 90%. they went bust....
      It is all relative, who flies and what destinations. German Wings is very busy in Zagreb, serving Stuttgart, Cologne, Berlin, Hamburg and Dusseldorf, Cologne 69000 pax last year, out of Zagreb, Stuttgart was around 50k and so on.

      Problem is not the customers but the airlines and destinations on offer. There are now over 170 000 Croats in EU, and over 20 000 EU nationals in Zagreb, with unemployment in Croatia at all time low, @8.4% and falling, there'll be more EU nationals coming to work in Zagreb, especially from Spain, France, Italy and Portugal, where high unemployment pushes many to work in other EU member states.

      Things are moving in the right direction we just need more LCCs ...

    34. Anonymous12:14

      Stats guy, in fact you are talking utter rubbish.

      Norwegian has NOT cancelled anything in Belgrade. It flies year round from Oslo and Stockholm. In fact this winter it has even increased frequencies while it has completely left Zagreb. Also Norwegian has never flown from Copenhagen to Belgrade. It always flew from Oslo year round and Stockholm seasonally but now flies year round from both destinations.

  27. Anonymous11:21

    Love some of the comments. When the route was announced comments were - this means nothing for BEG no one will fly this route, it's going to be empty. When route is suspended comments are - this is a massive loss, number of tourists will slide and so on. Make up your mind :)

    1. Anonymous11:37


    2. Anonymous11:39

      haha- But you do realize that those where/are opposing opinions? ;)

    3. Anonymous11:42

      Opposing opinions by same people. They change their mind depending on the news for dramatic effect.

    4. Anonymous12:50

      hahah yes! But this is in some way human ;)

  28. Anonymous11:42

    I am happy when each and every ex-yu airport records growth. And especially happy to see good airline companies and wide body planes arriving to ex yu. And as much I am happy when they come, I am sad and sorry when they leave. So I am sorry about BEG and Hainan today.
    But at the same time I am now happy about all those bad people who are happy when "some other's" airport sees some small reduction, and present it as huge downgrade, as for example Emirates in ZAG this winter. Maybe this will teach them a lesson not to be happy when bad things happen to others as the same can always happen to you, too. Cheers!

    1. Anonymous12:26

      Nice try to present yourself as unbiased. Better luck next time!

    2. Koliko je tuzno kada ljudi mrze. I to bez razloga. Sedi jedan. Nisi naucio lekciju.

  29. Anonymous12:00

    Serbia's market is still not mature enough to sustain the long-haul market given that there are other players in the game.
    BEG needs to entirely dedicate itself to transform itself as a regional player and think regional as it is now covering most Balkan cities, it can start to focus on Caucasus, CIS countries, Iberian peninsula.
    So many cities need to be connected before Beijing>>>>>>

    Astana, Baku, Yerevan, Tbilisi, St. Peterburg, Almaty, Perm, Lisbon, Madrid, Mallorca (summer), Krakow, Batumi (summer), Riga, Ankara and such with no competition.

    Forget about long-haul, leave it to the big boys from Lufti, Air France/KLM, LOT, Turkish, etc.

    1. Anonymous12:19

      In the same time TAROM are expanding rapidly in Caucas, ME and North Africa

    2. Anonymous12:21

      At the same time, TAROM is an airline of a country with a population of 20 million and a EU member for 10 years.

    3. Anonymous12:24

      These routes are for transfers. It doesn't really matter what the population is. Iceland have a population of 300K, but they own a market share of over 5% on TATL between Europe and North America.

  30. Anonymous12:22

    As far as I know there are far more tourists coming from Macedonia and Bulgaria than from China.
    @Ex-Yu aviation, please, explain me how come Chinese are third?
    "During the first three quarters, 77.543 Chinese nationals visited the country, representing an increase of 103.2% on the same period last year. As a result, Chinese visitors were the third most common in Serbia, behind only those from Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina."

    1. According to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, Chinese visitors are the third most common, as correctly stated in the article. The number of Macedonian visitors for the first three quarters stands at 46.646 and Bulgarian at 68.424

    2. Anonymous12:26

      Is this real statistics? The last time I passed from Serbia to Bulgaria I have waited on the border for 2 hours - it was the same both ways.

    3. Anonymous12:42

      That's because of Turks travelling to and from Western Europe.

    4. Anonymous12:44

      At a boarder crossing there are Serbian cars too and people just transiting through the country that are not considered tourists.

      Are you seriously questioning numbers by the statistical office on the number of visitors? You think they purposely lower the number of Macedonian and Bulgarian tourists in Serbia. lol.

    5. Anonymous15:20

      basically all Balkan countries on the W EU - Turkey route register huge tourist numbers from Turkey, I would also highly question those tourist stats. You can't do that with Chinese ones though, so those huge numbers are a great success for Serbia

    6. Anonymous15:25

      I don't doubt Turkey numbers one bit and you would have to actually live here to know why. You can hear Turkish on the streets of Belgrade everywhere and there is a reason 3 airlines fly from Istanbul to Belgrade. They have been the number one tourists since around last year ever since Turkish travel agents started selling 3 day packages to Belgrade. Same has happened with tourists from Greece.

      The necessity to belittle anything relating to Serbia here is stagerring. I even remember when that Croatian stats guy wrote how Belgrade Airport is making up its passenger numbers because he was unhappy with the growth. Crazy.

    7. Anonymous16:22

      staggering? you should read the comments under every SKP related article..

  31. Anonymous13:35

    Political route :-)))

    1. Anonymous13:45

      Ssht...don't say that. They will call you a troll ;) ;) ;)

    2. Anonymous14:01

      where ther any elections when HU started flights? ;)

    3. Anonymous14:04

      This is actually proof that the route wasn't political. You don't cancel political routes unless the political climate changes.

    4. Anonymous14:08

      yes you do if elections are not here any more

    5. Anonymous16:28

      "Political route" means for the political benefit of the country whose airline is operating the flights. I'm pretty sure Vucic didn't call up Xi and asked for flights to be launched just for one year so he can go through the campaign. So basically bollocks.

  32. Anonymous17:23

    No doubt Aeroflots new third daily flight is the reason for this - Hainan can not compete against that.

  33. Anonymous18:19

    Mislim da ce se letovi nastaviti na prolece a ako i ne bude tako,nista strasno. Vidim da se neki raduju ekspanzijom stranih prevoznika u njihovoj zemlji sto je njihovo pravo ali ja se nadam da ce vlada Srbije i dalje ulagati u AS dok ne postane profitabilna. U suprotnom...https://www.b92.net/biz/vesti/region.php?yyyy=2018&mm=11&dd=08&nav_id=1467004

    1. Anonymous20:07

      Mislim da ce ovo biti adminova glavna sutrasnja vest, ali ostaje da vidimo.

  34. Anonymous19:10

    Serbia cannot expect other countries and companies to place its interests in-front of their own. This is a strategic market seeing the highest increase in passengers overall. Air Serbia should be flying this route mainly to Shanghai and with decent frequencies. Same goes for India.

  35. Aэrologic20:32

    The route was victim of several factors. Extreme competition in BEG namely from Aeroflot, increasing fuel prices, extremely low-frequency along with stop in Prague eliminating any competitive advantage vs. SU/QR and others, HNA group indebtedness etc. It was poorly planned from the start after taking ages to launch, should have been 2/3 weekly non-stop. Code-share with JU was established only recently.

    This may be only the start of a wave of cancellations and bankruptcies in Europe in the next 6 months.

  36. Iskreno se nadam da ce sa ulaskom VINCI Airports u upravu i razvoj te Beogradske luke, dovesti vise avio kompanija, destinacija i putnika. Samo tri sedmice deli od novog pocetka aerodroma Nikola Tesla.
    Zbog ogromnog novca koji ulaze VINCI, sve sumlje i pesimizam padaju u vodu. Jedno je izvesno. Razvoj i uvecanje Beogradskog vazdusnog cvora. Ostalo su blogovske price...
    Pozdrav iz toplog Sidneja, Rodney pored WSA na Badjeri Kriku.


Post a Comment

EX-YU Aviation News does not tolerate insults, excessive swearing, racist, homophobic or any other chauvinist remarks or provocative posts with the intention of creating further arguments. A full list of comment guidelines can be found here. Thank you for your cooperation.