Air Serbia to axe Niš - Budapest service


Air Serbia will cancel one of the twelve state subsidised services from its base at Niš Constantine the Great Airport, based on a decision made by the Serbian government. The two weekly flights from the south-east Serbian city and Budapest will be discontinued at the start of the 2019/20 winter season this Sunday. “The decision was prompted due to scarce interest from citizens of Serbia’s southern region for travel to the Hungarian capital, as well as to prevent this flight’s negative impact on the sound results achieved by the other services of public interest operated from Niš. Namely, despite only three months of operations from Niš and the disappointing results of the Budapest flight, the average load factor on all twelve routes has reached almost 70%”, the company said in a statement.

Air Serbia won a tender to operate eleven year-round and one seasonal service from Niš earlier this year. The contract is valued at five million euros per year for a period of five years. As a result, the carrier has stationed an Airbus A319 at Constantine the Great Airport. “After consultations with representatives of local authorities and relevant state institutions, the Serbian flag carrier has started to initiate activities in order to implement the decision and terminated all activities on the Budapest route, based on the agreement between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and Air Serbia, specifically Article 11. All passengers holding tickets for flights between Niš and Budapest after October 27, 2019 will receive a refund”, the airline noted.

During the first three quarters, Niš Constantine the Great Airport handled 295.578 travellers, an increase of 10.7% on the same period in 2018. In September, the airport welcomed 44.376 passengers through its doors, an improvement of 47.7% on last year. The national carrier said, “Since the start of scheduled operations from Niš, Air Serbia, together with the competent institutions, has been closely monitoring the parameters of all flights of public interest operated from this city. The company has planned and is undertaking activities aimed toward improving operations from our second base airport Niš, acting in the interest of the citizens of this part of Serbia and of the Serbian national airline”.

This week, the Serbian government launched tender procedures for the launch of services of public interest from Kraljevo’s Morava Airport.




Comments

  1. Never understood the point of this route.

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  2. What other route could they launch instead?

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    1. It's not about JU. It has to do with government's willingness to pay for another route.

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    2. INI-ATH makes much more sense than BUD.

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    3. Are saying AS has to return money now that they will no longer be flying to BUD?

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    4. Nope, the government was paying the bills so they are no longer going to be doing. They realized it made little sense to do it for 10, 15 passengers onboard.

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    5. True dat about INI-ATH.

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    6. I thought AS was already given 5 million € to fly all of the 12 routes, and now that one was cancelled they have to return 1/12 of the cash.

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    7. A subsidized route to ATH from INI could hurt JU's yields from BEG, especially in high season when it can easily cost 200€. But it also would attract pax from SKP and SOF.
      I too think that the demand is there for this route unlike BUD.

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    8. Actually I think not many from the south drive to BEG to catch a flight to Athens, Sofia or Skopje are closer. Plus I think most just go to northern Greece because it's so close. INI-ATH could create a new market.

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    9. Good points Deki.

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    10. SKP and SOF have both (very cheap) flights to ATH with A3

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    11. Cheapest return on Aegean from SKP to ATH is €88 and only if you book well in advance. Most tickets are €56 one way which I wouldn't call cheap for a turboprop flight under an hour.

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    12. SOF also has daily FR flights to ATH. Can't see many Bulgarians driving all the way to INI (especially in the summer) to fly to ATH, when they have FR and A3 flights.

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    13. Point is that Serbs who went to SOF to catch those flights won't be doing it anymore if they had flights from INI.

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    14. Neither FR nor A3 would offer 50€ tickets to ATH from SOF, especially in summer.
      A 50€ flight would attract a lot of travelers to INI. It would even take away pax from bus companies.

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    15. Bulgarians aren't the richest people in Europe, but I doubt many of them would like to endure the pleasentries of BG-SRB border crossing in the summer to save 5 EUR.

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    16. I doubt that they could find a 55€ SOF-ATH flight during summer.

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    17. Aegean is €400 in summer from SOF to ATH!!

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    18. SOF - ATH is 40 eur one way in July, either ryanair, bulgaria air or aegean.
      Who on Earth would drive to INI to catch a flight to there?

      INI should focus on Scandinavia where SOF is super weak!
      Like Oslo flights.

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    19. You think €55 isn't cheap? To board a multi-million euro plane in a highly regulated industry with enormous overheads, for any length of flight? Only way it can get cheaper is to do so at a loss.

      If you expect to travel for peanuts, get a bus.

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    20. €55 ONE WAY so 110 return.

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    21. They should launch Krakow instead.

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  3. 70% average LF on flights from Nis on an A319 isn't that bad at all.

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    1. This is 100% LF for SSJ100

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    2. is "almost 70", remember lcc aim for <90%

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    3. JU is not LCC and these routes are subsidized so what's the point of that comment?

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    4. SSJ100 would be a disaster for Air Serbia.

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    5. Ok Anon 10.33

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  4. Paris-Beauvis instead?

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    1. Why Beauvais instead of CDG or ORY?

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    2. Because it's cheaper and they are mostly operating Nis flights to secondary airports.

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    3. Nis flights would stand a much bigger chance of being financially successful if they were in main airports. Eventually state subsidies will stop and the routes will have to support themselves.

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    4. Not necessarily, AS is not after transfer pax from main Euro airports via INI. They are mostly after O&D pax in both directions. Plus main airports are much more expensive.

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  5. Budapest is always bad decision for Air Serbia

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  6. And when people claimed on here INI-BUD was underperforming they were attacked and labelled as haters. Like the other day when one poster asked for facts, well here they are.

    However this route never made much sense. Who in southern Serbia cares about Budapest anyway?

    Congrats on all other routes performing well!

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    1. i wouldnt say LJU is performing that well but I only had two flights so who knows

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    2. How do you know? From all accounts it is performing quite well.

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    3. LJU killed it in summer, winter is not as good but loads are still ok for first season. Lots of O&D between the two cities. It's a market that needs time to mature.

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    4. well i flew in Sept.

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    5. What kind of loads are we talking about here?

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    6. In summer LJU had between 85 and 110 passengers.

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    7. LJU route could even support a frequency increase with the demise of JP and no direct flights to it from SKP.

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    8. Well all O&D that flew from LJU to SKP and PRN will switch to INI-LJU.

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    9. SKP - Nis is 4,5 hours with Nis express. LJU-ZAG is 2hours with Flix

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    10. Anon at 09:38
      Correct BUT ZAG-SKP is not subsidized. LJU-INI is.
      And we all know that people in our region are willing to spent a lot of time in the road to catch a cheaper flight.

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    11. Let's compare the options for November which is right around the corner.

      04.11-11.11

      OU ZAG-SKP €136
      JU LJU-INI €50

      Mind you, OU leaves SKP at 05.50. If you want to fly at 15.45 then you have to pay €178!

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    12. no slo businessman (and 99% of O&D JP flights between SKP and LJU were business people) is gonna take the 5 hours Nis ekspres bus. they either fly direct from ZAG or via BEG with JU

      P.S to catch the 11.30am INI-LJU flight you have to take the 5am bus from Skopje and even then you are knapp. hillarious!

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    13. Anonymous24 October 2019 at 09:48

      This is truth... so sad...

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    14. I think they were talking about non-business O&D.

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  7. I think INI will definitely have 400.000 passengers this year and 500.000 next. Let's please not forget that they are getting FR from Malta soon!

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    1. Since you ask so politely I will not forget that FR are launching Malta soon.

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    2. Last Anon :D :D you made my day <3

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    3. and scrapping one other destination which you will read on here soon

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    4. They are also launching Hahn and it will be interesting to see what kind of results they achieve. If they are good it makes the Hahn route being subsidised by the government pointless because it is commercially viable.

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    5. Yes but if they cut it after a year then what happens? They did that with Weeze.

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    6. Nothing happens. The world keeps on spinning.

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    7. Anonymous at 09:20
      +1
      If FR or anyone else can fly one of these routes without state subsidies then JU should give it up and try some other routes.
      I also think ATH would make great sense. Also they could try AMS or Paris.

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    8. Honestly I don't think JU cares about INI flights, it was something they were forced to do by the government. They might redirect the plane elsewhere but it's not the end of the world for them.

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  8. It will be interesting to see if Hahn route will stay operational after Ryanair launches it in January.

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    1. Never understood why FR decided to launch Hahn. I think the market is big enough, I mean Malmo will have four weekly next summer, why couldn't Frankfurt? Lots of Serbs, Albanians, Bulgarians and North Macedonians there.

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    2. JU should have launched FRA instead.

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    3. The idea is to keep costs low, which is why they introduced Hahn instead of FRA.

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  9. "almost 70%" for a lcc is debatable but good luck!

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    1. They are subsidised flights which are subsidised because they can't be profitable on their own. So it's difficult to expect that they will have a 100% LF.

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    2. Why can't they be profitable on their own?
      Maybe after a year or two the route matures enough to be self sufficient.

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    3. If someone pays you to fly somewhere and then you actually make some money on the route, 70% is not bad at all. Not to mention this is first season and flights were started just a few months ago.

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    4. Anon 09.26

      That's the idea behind this whole thing, they are basically doing what SKP did. Routes like INI-BLQ will be popular because of a strong Albanian diaspora in Italy but it will take time for passengers to get used to it and to find out about it. That is why it takes a long time for a route to mature.

      Same with JU flights to places like BEY. They have been flying there for like five years now so people got used to their product, times and transferring in Belgrade.

      Same needs to happen in INI.

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    5. Will be popular ..., needs to happen... pomolimo se

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    6. BLQ - INI did pretty well during the summer considering how it was launched, a number of people I know that flew the route all said the LF was between 60-80% on the A319. That one has definitely done way better than expected and will keep growing.

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  10. I thought the Budapest route was put there only to potentially interest Wizz Air in bidding for the flights.

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  11. My friend travelled on 13th October from Niš to Budapest. The one way ticket was about 25 EUR...and there were only 9 passengers onboard.

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  12. As we said before: hungarians do not have the slightest clue where Nis is and why to go there. You can't sustain a flight with no interest from one side.

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    1. This is not true. Many Hungarians know, where Nis is. In addition, many Hungarians to/from Greece make a stopover in Nis. We planned with some friends to fly to Nis next spring for a weekend, but without AirSerbia's service, we won't go :(.

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    2. INI is a good and cheap option for Hungarians, imo, but only in summer.

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    3. Re Anon 09:53: the facts do not prove this. That's why there were no passengers. The ones travelling to Greece by car making a stopover anywhere are the poor ones from the XXth century...

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    4. Daj covece bas siromasni Englezi putuju sa RA i Izijem i napijaju se i heftaju po plazama Grcke i Turske.

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  13. INI-BEG should be the obvious choice - to have connected passengers and push LF from BEG base up.

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    1. That would hurt the load factors of the rest of INI flights though.

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    2. it doesn't need to be win-lose situation, it could be win-win, just giving connection to destination they do not fly from INI and BEG and you have connecting passengers in both bases
      e.g. BEG-INI-SZG

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    3. Good points. If the flights are timed properly connections would go both ways and not hurt either airport, bu rather compliment each other.
      The ideal aircraft would be a 30-40 seater.

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  14. I think INI - Moskva would work.

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  15. seasonal INI-OHD could work too, even Kraljevo-OHD with the ATR

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    1. Niš is just too close to Ohrid, there is no way that route would work.

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    2. sure it could

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    3. no it couldn't, period, full stop.

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  16. Many LCC is able to stimulate market demand for destinations, that were almost unknown before. Both W6 and FR are successful in stimulating the market. Why was AirSerbia not able to do that? AFAIK, Hungarians are price sensitive and they like value for money destinations (such as INI). I am said, the route was closed and hope, it will be reopened next summer and AirSerbia is going to advertise INI for Hungarians and BUD for Serbians. Both cities are worth to visit. In addition, if they got money from the state, they should start with LCC prices.

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    1. INI BUD had LCC prices, the market is just not there. I guess people from Nish rather went to Tivat, Bologna, Nurnberg... than to Budapest.

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    2. I didn't see return price below 60€. LCC price starts at 10€ each way.

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  17. The obvious thing to do would be to use the free capacity to increase frequencies on those routes from INI that are particularly popular, eg Salzburg.

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  18. In the EU when you susidize a route, first you ascertain that it is vital for the public/economy that the route is operated despite lack of interest from the airlines. The route being vital to the public/economy means there is a demand on that route. If there is no demand, the route cannot by definition be vital.

    This cancellation shows there was no such analysis whatsover here and the whole story was just a farce. Just give the money straightforward to JU, if you wish so, and stop this cover-up. Otherwise it is just wasting 40 euro out of each 100 euro spent, to make sure 60 euro benefits JU.

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    1. One route has been cancelled and all the others have 70% LF, but we still hear "This cancellation shows there was no such analysis whatsover here and the whole story was just a farce".
      Congratulations!

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    2. Nonsense regarding the EU. If that were true Ryanair wouldn't be forced to pay back subventions they got from some regional authorities.

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    3. the whole story was just a farce...

      So every time Wizz or Ryan cut one of their subsidized (in one way or another) route anywhere in Europe it also means it was a "farce"?

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  20. Better use it to provide an extra rotation to Malta from BEG...i can't believe twice weekly with Wizzair is enough in the winter season..and it is evident that flights are quite full looking at the exorbitant prices asked even for 1 leg

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    1. First they should extend the route to year round. If LCA can work, so can MLA.

      In my opinion their strategy for MLA is totally wrong.
      They rely on O&D way too much. Local Serbian population is very price sensitive, and they are always going to lose that battle to W6.
      But there is a big potential for connections to Scandinavia, and you know how big demand is here for flights to STO and HEL, even KBP lately.

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    2. Is there really demand between Malta and Scandinavia?

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    3. Well if JU carriers tourists between Nordic countries and Balkans then why not do it with Malta as well?

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    4. Of course there is. All major European gaming companies have their HQ or at least a branch in Malta (for tax reasons obviously). And then there are dozens of smaller ones. And all of them have staff responsible for Scandinavian market.
      So tourist demand might be the dominant one during summer, but there is large business travel demand year round.

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    5. @Mario
      I didn't think there are Maltese visiting this blog. Prosit xbin :)

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  21. As there is almost no diaspora from Nis area in Budapest, business links are weak and visitors from Budapest are not likely to generate significant revenue visiting Nis this route never made sense.

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    Replies
    1. Slabo lete sa LOTom do Amerike Nislije su sve uspesni pa vise vole sa AF i LH da lete.

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  22. Why not Odessa (ODS)?
    Ryanair and Wizzair are starting to fly there in few days from: Germany, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.
    So it's not all seasonal an not all workers from Ukraine but tourism too.
    No coverage from Serbia to this area yet.
    What do you think?

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    Replies
    1. L O L
      They do fly to Germany, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland because of the Ukrainian exodus and the many people moving there for work.

      How many Ukranians immigrated to Nis for work and life? :D

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    2. BEG-ODS would work. Twice weekly at first. Just like KRR worked out.

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    3. BEG-ODS is same distance as BEG-PRG, they could easily operate it with the Atr meaning four weekly could easily work.

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    4. Last Anon - you should be punished with flying ATR to PRG at least once per week for getting such ideas :)

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  23. They could introduce a INI-ZRH flight since apparently Swiss is going to cancel flights to Nis starting from November 29th. In fact, it is not possible to book any flight between ZRH and INI between November 29th and March 29th except during Christmas period. Starting from March 29th it is possible to book them again, but they are too expensive (ZRH-INI-ZRH cost around 950EUR). It looks like Swiss doesn't want anyone to book those flights, so they can eventually cancel them. AirSerbia could introduce a Zurich-Nis service

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    1. In January they even sell ZRH-INI via LJU with JU. :D

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    2. They make space for Lufthansa most probably

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    3. Friedrichshafen flights by JU probably killed LX.

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    4. INI-ZRH at a decent price would work. Zurich is the busiest destination from BEG, and some of those pax are from southern Serbia. It might hurt BEG a little bit, but so be it.

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    5. Air Serbia should try to catch these ZRH-INI passengers from LX to get them on either their flights ZRH-BEG or to FDH-INI.

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  24. Another reason to fly JU in stead of W6 is that once again Wizz Air changed their luggage policy. Without priority you can't bring a carry on, only a backpack. Also Priority now costs 3.000 RSD. Seat selection has also increased.

    Wizz is really clueless when it comes to onboard luggage.

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    Replies
    1. American LCCs are doing the same and even some major carriers on their lowest rates.

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  25. How do Michelin bosses get to Pirot (tigar)?


    Via ZRH -> INI?

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  26. Znaci bez Budumpeste,LF bi bio preko 75% sto je odlicno za pocetak i imajuci u vidu kako su na brzinu pokrenuli letove.

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  27. Will be interesting if they add around end of december/ beginning of January any route from 2/7 to 3/7. Especially flight prices to Friedrichshafen (for example FDH-INI flight on 5th January almost booked out, less than 9 seats available), Salzburg, Hahn and Karlsruhe are pretty high in that period.

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  28. This could be the perfect timing for JU if rumours are true about LX cancelling Nish .
    Instead of flying empty to Budapest Air Serbia can introduce Zurich twice a week which would be a success because the Switzerland -Serbia market is massive even if that route is purely O&D .

    You have to congratulate JU for this opportunity, it is as if it was served to them on a silver plate ...

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    Replies
    1. Does anybody have the loadfactors for ZRH-INI?

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    2. They are not cutting it, they are just suspending it for a month and a half.

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  29. I just notice that AirSerbia has some new flights to Larnaca in Novembar. Flight number is JU508 . On some days is depart at 11:35 (Friday) and on some days at 6:30 (Mon,Wed) .

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    Replies
    1. That was published a while ago
      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2019/10/winter-201920-air-serbia.html

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    2. It's because of runway resurfacing. It will last about a month.

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    3. JU A320 packed to LCA last night ;)

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  30. AirSerbia has done the weirdest routes from Nis

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