Air Arabia to launch Belgrade service in June


Air Arabia, the Middle East and North Africa’s largest low cost airline, will launch flights from its hub in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates to Belgrade this summer season, becoming the third airline from the country to serve the Serbian capital. Operations are scheduled to commence on June 28 and will run four times per week with its 168-seat Airbus A320 aircraft. Sharjah, one of the seven Emirates that form the UAE, is some twenty kilometres east of Dubai Airport. Air Arabia will indirectly compete on its services to Belgrade against Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi and Flydubai from Dubai.

Air Arabia put tickets for its new Belgrade service on sale yesterday. Flights will run each Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday with a split schedule. The Tuesday and Friday service will depart Sharjah in the mornings and return to the city in the evenings, while the Thursday and Saturday operation will depart in the afternoons and land back at its hub the following morning, allowing passengers to transfer onto a number of flights within its network. In addition to Air Arabia, Etihad will run double daily services between Abu Dhabi and Belgrade during the peak summer months, while Flydubai will maintain five weekly flights until July 1, after which services will be increased to daily.

Air Arabia has had mixed success in the former Yugoslavia. It currently maintains seasonal summer flights to Sarajevo which were initially scheduled to run throughout the year. The carrier will operate double daily services to the Bosnian capital this summer. On the other hand, in 2011, the budget airline introduced two weekly services from Dubai to Tuzla, which were cancelled a month later due to extremely poor loads. A year later, in 2012, the airline introduced two weekly flights between Sharjah and Pristina. The service was also discontinued within a month. Air Arabia currently operates a fleet of 53 Airbus A320 aircraft, serving over 150 routes from four hubs - Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE, Alexandria in Egypt and Casablanca in Morocco.

Further flight details for the new Sharjah - Belgrade service can be found here.

Comments

  1. wow that was unexpected

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  2. That's going to be a lot of capacity to the UAE.

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  3. Belgrade becomes truly regional center for ME flights
    Etihad, FlyDubai, Qatar Airways and now Air Arabia!
    Well done Belgrade and well done Vinci!

    p.s. the visa regime with UAE is going to be lifted soon so it is to expect traffic between Serbia and that country to be additionally improved

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    Replies
    1. 25 weekly flights from Belgrade to the UAE next summer.

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    2. I expect Purger to create once again his well known spreadsheet about capacity to Middle East from main ex-Yu airports.

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    3. I think Sarajevo still has more capacity on offer to UAE and Middle East in general during the peak summer months.

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    4. Let's not forget that BEG has also TLV (3 carriers) and BEY.
      It is also Middle East

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  4. Hmm I just checked there prices and they are similar to Fly Dubai. So I don't think they will be too competitive but we will see. Nice news overall.

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    Replies
    1. I think it's still too early. They just published their fares and it's possible that the lowest sub classes have not been added in the system yet.

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    2. A couple of years ago Pristina - Sharjah return ticket cost 299EUR taxes included.

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    3. So what are the current prices for BEG-SHJ-BEG?

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    4. I randomly selected a return ticket in July (one week apart) and the price is 462 euros.

      Same dates with Flydubai and the price is 441 euros.

      So I don't think Flydubai has anything to worry about.

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    5. And in 2011 I paid 705 euros return ticket to Dubai in August with Jat Airways :D how times have changed.

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    6. They literally just published their fares, these are not the final ones.

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    7. Agree with last anon. Wait a week and I'm sure we will see some great fares, especially in the beginning when they will probably have promo fares.

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    8. How it changed still woth air ser ia is 700+

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    9. Air Serbia doesn't fly to the UAE so I don't know what €700 tickets are you talking about.

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  5. The more the better.

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  6. They offer pretty good transfer options to India.

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  7. Nice! So this is the third new airline to announce flights to BEG next year?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Air France, ASL France and Air Arabia so far.

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    2. Should be a good year for BEG.

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    3. Not just BEG but it's whole catchment area. We all profit from all of these extra flights as prices go down.

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    4. Third new airline for summer and first to announce flights in 2019. More to come ;)

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  8. And here I was hoping they might start flights to Ljubljana. You can send us one of those flights please :D Good news for BEG.

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    Replies
    1. Someone wrote a few days ago that they planned to fly SHJ-BEG-LJU a few years ago.

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  9. I think there will be too much capacity for ME, but, maybe I'm wrong.

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    Replies
    1. I also think the market might be a bit oversaturated especially with Air Arabia launching 4 weekly but who knows.

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    2. Time will show

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  10. Middle East is getting pretty well covered now - Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Dubai, Doha, Sharjah, as well as Tel Aviv (if you include it). Pity there are no more Tehran flights.

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  11. Good news but the market will simply be oversaturated. So many seats to the Gulf is just not so normal. Also EY double daily, QR daily, FZ daily + Air Arabia = 32 weekly flights.

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    Replies
    1. Obviously it worked up to now as long as EY increased their traffic to BEG and they are usually conservatiove about it.

      Obviously the market is going to support it, do not worry

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  12. Very nice. And when to the Sarajevo flights resume?

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  13. I would have preferred if their Moroccan subsidiary started flights.

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  14. Has anyone flown with them? What sort of service to they offer? Do you have to pay for baggage and stuff like that?

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    Replies
    1. LCC.
      You need to pay extra (something like 20 eur per flight) for 20 kg of luggage

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    2. Ok, thank you

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    3. Are they a real lowcost airline or one of those hybrids?

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    4. True low cost.

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    5. You do get 10kg of free hand luggage though.

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  15. Knowing how they cancel services, I think this is rather a bad news.

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    1. You are right, an airline announcing new flights is bad news for the airport. But it's already 9.30 and I haven't read "This is bad news for Air Serbia" and I'm getting worried now.

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    2. Instead of it you got "this is a bad news for BEG".
      C'mon, you can't have everything :-)

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    3. It is an LCC carrier that primarily serves the Dubai market.
      So it will dilute the marketshare for Fly Dubai and make it even more difficult for EK to launch flights.
      In that way you can say it is bad news for BEG in terms of not having such a prestigious airline flying. But it is good news for travelers, AIr Arabia is much cheaper than EK.

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    4. Anon 10.45

      How about you do some research before posting. Air Arabia is also after transfer passengers which is why they have a split schedule to BEG.

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    5. The post by Anon @ 10.45 perfectly shows the worst of Balkan provincial mentality.

      He literally claims that it's better to have a "prestigious" airline, fewer pax, fewer connection options and less competition than a healthy mix of legacy and low-cost, more pax, more connection options and more competition.

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    6. More airlines = more choice = lower ticket prices = more people can fly = demand grows.

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    7. If only that would be the winning formula. But it is not.

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  16. Did not see that one coming.

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  17. Transiting trough Dubai offers you much more opportunities than Sharjah. Many people haven't even heard of the place.

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    Replies
    1. Therefore there will be both alternatives in BEG, Dubai and Sharjah.

      Anyone can make a choice.

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    2. Sharjah Airport is terrible but it's close to Dubai and if you are going to Dubai it is quicker to go through Sharjah then through Abu Dhabi where traffic on the highway from to Dubai is terrible.

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    3. Nice, so we will soon have more opportunities to spend our money.

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    4. Like I said a few days ago on the Ljubljana topic, Sharjah is becoming more popular because hotels there are much less expensive than Dubai, yet it is very close to Dubai and you can go there every day.

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  18. Congrats BEG! Hoping to see 6 million pax in 2019!

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  19. Good luck to them but I don't think there is room for three players here and I think Fly Dubai/Etihad are in a much better position.

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  20. It is worth keeping in mind that there has been a considerable increase in UAE passport holders visiting Serbia in 2018 and I just read the other day in one of their news that Serbia, Azerbaijan and Georgia will see biggest growth in terms of UAE visitors this year.

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  21. They will last a month again

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    Replies
    1. Exactly. That is why they have 53 planes in a fleet - in order to fly everywhere just for a month.
      If they failed in PRN does not mean it will be the same case in BEG

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    2. The Tuzla flights had little to do with Air Arabia. They were just chartered by a tour operator to perform flights from Dubai (which is not even their base). They did however fail in Pristina on their own merit.

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  22. wow well done Belgrade!

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  23. It begs the question what is flydubai's long-term strategy in Belgrade. Etihad has considerably boosted its presence in Belgrade by having double daily flights next summer. Air Arabia will surely take away a share of O&D market while Qatar is not going anywhere and they are still as aggressive as always when it comes to transfers to Asia and Africa, same market FZ/EK are after in Belgrade. In addition to all these, we have Aeroflot which added a third daily flight making it even more convenient for flights to China, Japan, South Korea...

    The worst thing that could happen to FZ is TK somehow getting the extra flights/seats it wants in BEG. To me it seems that slowly DBX is losing its importance in BEG, not because it's a low-quality hub but rather because others have been more aggressive and more committed to the Serbian market.

    Maybe it's time for FZ to respond by upping its own frequencies? They could use an evening departure out of BEG in order to boost connectivity in Dubai. Then again, given the runway reconstruction and the overall congestion in DXB, don't know if it's really an option at this point.

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    1. The only way I could see them getting on top of the competition is by getting Emirates to fly the route during the summer.

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    2. They could, of course, but I don't know how effective it would be. Don't forget that when it comes to the Middle East, I doubt anyone from BEG transfers in DXB since hubs such as IST, SAW and even ATH are becoming increasingly competitive.

      Emirates would have to rely on India, east and south-east Asia as well as Africa and Australia to fill its widebody. I think for now they are ok with flydubai.

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    3. With EY/EK getting closer and closer in their relationship who knows what the future holds for the BEG market. Flydubai is popular on the BEG route with leisure travelers mostly. Transfers from Australia really dislike this combination and most are now flying Qatar/Etihad.

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    4. Exactly last Anon!!! That is why EK needs to step in because others are taking away its cake!

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    5. I have checked that their connections via SHJ aren't very convenient to "nicer" destinations such as KTM, CMB, MCT (no connections on the outbound flights) and if there are such, the price is around 490€ without luggage and catering, which is what you will pay for with SU, QR, EY, etc.
      Also like somebody mentioned above SHJ is not the best airport around. Imagine all the poorer people from even poorer countries making transfer.
      Anyway, I am not a fan of UAE or KSA because of the terrible exploitation of its workers and the way they are treated. I prefer to give my money to the Turks instead.
      Pegasus has an excellent service and SAW airport is decent, clean and organised. I travelled to TBS with them and service was amazing.

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    6. Service on Pegasus? I didn't know LCCs have any service. ;)

      I am surprised Pegasus isn't adding more flights like KK. I guess they are not doing that well.

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    7. Turks are treating their workers better than UAE??!
      LOOOL

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    8. Turks are at least mistreating their own citizens, UAE and others are torturing Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshi, Philippino...

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    9. SU just announced second daily flight to ICN, I think they might become one of the stronger players on the Europe-South Korea market. Flights depart at 07.30 and they perfectly connect to the morning arrivals. It's the flight that leaves BEG at 00.50.

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    10. @12:02 - Because people from Turkey are somehow less human than Pakistanis, Bangladeshi or Indians?

      You made me wondering...

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  24. They seem to be expanding in Europe. They stared Prague a couple of months ago.

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  25. Excellent news. So we have Air France, ASL and Air Arabia confirmed for this year. On top of that some 30+ additional frequencies from airlines already flying to BEG compared to last summer. Now all that's left is to see what will Air Serbia do.

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    Replies
    1. I really wonder if this is the result of Vinci or is it just a coincidence and would have happened anyway.

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  26. There is a considerable market between Serbia and the UAE. I'm sure they will do ok.

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    Replies
    1. It will only grow once visas are lifted in a few weeks.

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    2. It has been agreed.
      However Parliament of UAE just needs to confirm it

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  27. Interesting. Current CEO of Air Arabia is former Vueling COO. Both airlines started flying to BEG during his tenure :P

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  28. Departure at 21.45 is interesting, another example of how Vinci is pushing to fill the slow periods of the day.

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    Replies
    1. Which other airlines have added departures in the slow period?

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    2. 18.55 A3 - ATH - 2 weekly (new)
      19.25 YM - TGD - daily
      19.40 RO - OTP - 2 weekly
      20.10 LX - ZRH - daily
      20.20 TK - IST - daily
      20.20 SU - SVO - daily (new)
      20.25 JU - TGD - daily
      20.50 RO - OTP - 2 weekly
      20.50 U2 - GVA - 1 weekly
      21.30 DY - ARN - 2 weekly
      21.40 50 - CDG - 2 weekly (new)
      21.45 Air Arabia from today (new)
      21.50 VY - BCN - 1 weekly


      Some years ago we used to have only RO three times per week, TK and LX three times per week.

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    3. Nice! Thank you for the list.

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    4. You are welcome!

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  29. There is also Air Arabia Egypt and Air Arabia Morocco. Maybe they will operate those flights from Cairo?

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    Replies
    1. That would be great but they don't fly to/from Cairo at all. Their base is in Alexandria.

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    2. I believe the arrival of RAM in BEG in 2019 is more logical

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  30. Looking at the scheduling, I wonder if the crew working on the Thursday and Saturday flight has a layover in BEG?

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    Replies
    1. Qatar, flydubai and Etihad all change their crew in BEG. I think Arabia will as well.

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    2. Qatar and Etihad yes but Flydubai no. Flydubai doesn't have a layover at any ex-Yu destination. The other two airlines with layovers in BEG are Lufthansa and Austrian (evening flights).

      But it is a good question that anon 10.16 asks because Air Arabia's turnaround time on those days is 2 hours.

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    3. It's 2 hours because they want to optimize connections.

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  31. Interesting. Let's see how Flydubai responds.

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    Replies
    1. It is going to hit them more than EY or QR, so therefore they need to respond extremely well in order to keep their market share in BEG.
      Or to bring EK :-)

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    2. TK too. They launch Sharjah this summer. It will be interesting to see what their prices will be like from BEG for this route via Istanbul.

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  32. This is great news for some of us working in the Middle East in markets that are not directly served from BEG where options via Etihad and Flydubai turn out to be quite expensive.

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  33. I would love to hear their rationale for these flights.

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  34. Doubt they will be successful.

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    Replies
    1. Why do you think that buddy? Share your thoughts and analyses with us.

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    2. @anon 12:04
      Do you really think he has analyses?

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  35. I think INI-CMN can be their next Serb destination operating Air Arabia Maroc. They have good prices via their CMN base.

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    Replies
    1. And I think you are a troll

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    2. Well it's the only thing they have left now when they can't say anything against BEG. Given the diversity of airlines that fly here on a year-round basis, I would say BEG is the best ex-YU run airport.

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    3. BEG is easily the best Balkan hub for flights to Middle East.

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  36. I like their new livery and their new route. Good luck Air Arabia :)

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  37. Are they receiving any subsidies/incentives to operate the route? Why would they chose BEG over some much larger airports? It doesn't make sense.

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    Replies
    1. Because there is demand. Why do they fly double daily to Sarajevo over some much larger airports?

      And no, they don't receive subsidies. Other than Air Serbia which receives government funding as 51% state owned, no other airline gets paid to fly to Belgrade.

      Delete
    2. SJJ is different as there is a lot of tourist demand from the UAE, that's not the case. I mean I am happy if there is or there will be but you gotta agree with me that it's an odd city pair. I mean they don't even fly to BUD or OTP!

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    3. EK does not fly to OTP but they fly to much smaller ZAG.

      What is the point?

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    4. Yes but Zagreb unlike Bucharest is a tourist hotspot and is popular with tourists from all over the world. Romania is nowhere near to being a strong brand like Croatia

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    5. Etihad does not fly to BUD or OTP, Tunisair does not fly year-round to BUD or OTP, three airlines do not operate year-round flights between Tel Aviv and BUD or OTP, Air France does not fly to BUD, there are no 5 daily departures to Moscow from BUD or OTP but there is from Belgrade, so I don't see your point. I don't find it odd in the slightest. Many Serbs live and work in the UAE, tourism exchange is growing both ways and Air Arabia will offer transfer options too.

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    6. And how many passengers BUD and OTP have and how many will BEG have? :D

      Thank you.

      *mike drop*

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    7. I don't understand your point? You asked why some airline chose Belgrade over another. I listed you a number of airlines that do so. Because there is demand. Same way other airlines choose Budapest or Bucharest over Belgrade.

      Grow up.

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    8. That was his whole point. That the number of pax isn't the only factor taken into consideration when evaluating a destination.

      But some of us are born into this world with cheaper tickets...

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    9. Don't feed the troll, ignore ignorant people that have an issue whenever some airline launches flights to Belgrade.

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    10. Point I was making is that you can't compare BUD and OTP with BEG as they are in a completely different league, both are medium sized airports, BEG is a small airport.

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    11. @anon 13:22

      I am not sure if you wish to make this kind of comparison because in that case ZAG is faaaar behind BUD, OTP and BEG

      @anon 13:19
      Well replied. But probably in vain

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    12. The point that you asked is why someone launched flights to Belgrade over Budapest or Bucharest. Unhappy that I told you why you started comparing passenger numbers, which I did at no point, since that has little to do with why there is greater demand from certain markets then from others.

      I understand your point was in no way related to aviation. You were hear to belittle so whatever. Over and out.

      Delete
    13. I don't get why this is so painful for other countries in the region

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    14. O Bože, suzdržite se, barem na današnji praznik, od zlobe i zavisti..možeš misliti koja tragedija da su izabrali BEG, a ne mnogo veće aerodrome iz "turističkih velesila i svetskih brendova" .

      Delete
    15. I to uglavnom umisljenih "velesila"

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    16. Even if the route is subsidised, that's still not a bad thing.
      MK did the same with W6 and look - today they are celebrating a 2 million pax milestone.

      There are some European countries linked to more UAE airports: DXB, DWC, AUH, SHJ and RKT, which is very popular for Poles because of the cheap price:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ras_Al_Khaimah_International_Airport

      There was also once a project to launch their own Emirate carrier, but only existed for a couple of years>

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAK_Airways

      That said, I will not be surprised to see BEG connected to more UAE airports if it will be connected to 3 Emirates.

      Delete
  38. New aircraft deliveries begin January 2019 for Air Arabia aircraft Airbus321.

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  39. What a great add for BEG!!! This is the way it's done, you invite many airlines to stimulate demand and to make sure there is growth! Fantastic, just fantastic!!!

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  40. Those 25 weekly flights to UAE is more capacity than daily EK A380! When seat count from all three UAE carriers that will serve Belgrade this summer are added, they will have a lot more average combined daily seat capacity on Belgrade-UAE than daily Emirates A380 aircraft! Wow!

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    Replies
    1. Shame we don't have a daily A380 in stead of these smaller jets. Then again I don't think BEG is approved for the A380

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    2. No airport in ex-Yu is approved for A380.

      It is always better to have more narrow body flights per day than 1 wide body as it provides to the passengers much more choice and options regarding to the flying / connecting times.

      Delete
    3. Ok then instead of A380: one B777 daily and one FlyDubai 737 daily.

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    4. Yeah, that's almost like what ZAG gets. I think EK will ramp up some summer operations with FZ to increase connectivity.

      Delete
    5. I think Vinci might upgrade one BEG gate to be A380 capable.

      Delete

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