Air Serbia registers stable long haul results


Air Serbia has seen its passenger numbers decline 1.4% on its signature route between Belgrade and New York during the first five months of the year, in the face of a decline in capacity, however, other metrics improved. A range of factors impacted its figures, including less capacity being offered on the route when compared to last year, as well as frequency reductions on connecting short haul flights during the first quarter when compared to last year. Based on data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the United States, the airline carried a total of 22.117 travellers between the two cities during the January - May period, down from 22.429. Its average cabin load factor stood at 76.5%, down 1.4 points.

Air Serbia’s capacity on the Belgrade - New York - Belgrade service decreased during the first quarter of 2019 in part due to the usage of Etihad Airways’ Airbus A330-200 aircraft between January 12 and February 14, while its own jet of the same type underwent scheduled maintenance checks at Etihad Airways Engineering in Abu Dhabi. Over the same period, Air Serbia’s European network was exposed to a number of frequency cuts, as the carrier consolidated its network in the lead-up to a significant expansion from June onwards. 

During the first five months of the year, Air Serbia uplifted 931.119 kilograms of freight on the Belgrade - New York service. For the whole of 2018, Air Serbia handled a total of 79.657 passengers to and from New York with an average annual cabin load factor of 80.8%. Since launching operations between the two cities on June 23, 2016 until June 1, 2019, Air Serbia handled a total of 219.915 travellers on the route. Air Serbia previously said its JFK service is a “long-term investment”. "The introduction of flights to New York is a long-term investment for Air Serbia. Such routes usually take three to five years to achieve optimal results. What you get from the service to New York is an important air bridge between the United States, Belgrade and other destinations”, the company noted.

MonthPassengers carriedChange (%)Load factor (%)
JAN4.862Decrease 4.478.5
FEB2.599Decrease 2.363.0
MAR3.935Decrease 10.578.7
APR5.282 3.880.0
MAY5.439 4.782.4

Data provided by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the United States




Comments

  1. I think this winter loads will be better due to more regional flights especially to places like SKP and TIA.

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    1. This summer I was on a flight from TGD (733) and total passengers were 126 and around 120 connected to JFK. I was told that by my cousin who works at TGD.

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  2. Ouch... they should consider making flights seasonal, winter is not working out for them even after few years

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    1. With more regional flights it will improve.

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    2. Lol haters are delusional. Nearly 77% LF during the absolute slowest part of the year and you want to make it seasonal. JFK isn't going anywhere because the flights will very soon be breakeven. Keep dreaming.

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  3. Operating the loss making New York route is the biggest waste of money ever. The vast amount of public money being squandered on this just to show off. Air Serbia should concentrate on improving its European network, and get rid of those ancient Boeing 737's and upgrade it's Atr's.

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    1. You make it sound as if they are not doing exactly that.

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    2. They should look east to Thailand, Bali, China and Australia. That's where it's at. USA simply doesn't have the pull it once had during the 80s JAT DC10 era.

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    3. Yes, the low-yielding mass-tourism markets such as Thailand and Bali are where it's at. Please.

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  4. Very interested to see how the big sunset expansion influenced their New York numbers from June.

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  5. Even three and a half years since the route was launched many are bothered by the fact JU flies to JFK. Good luck Air Serbia, this is just the beginning.

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  6. Route results are stable. That means they will not significantly improve with time. This is it, and it won't get better.

    Etihad doesn't seem to support this route any more. Expansion of Air Serbia long haul is no longer an option. Majority owner can decide to support this route for years but it is becoming more likely even they are aware the effort is futile. Most likely scenario is Air Serbia ending JFK service in early 2021 and returning A330 plane.

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    1. So you are saying that even with more flights to Montenegro, Skopje and Tirana the route won't improve? Nice to see your crystal ball is working overtime.

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    2. Sorry to disappoint you, Nostradamus but the JFK flights aren't ending. Load factors and yields have improved every single year and next year might be the first break even year. Sorry to disappoint you. :(

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    3. Without expansion of long haul destinations Air Serbia remains at risk of eventually shutting down JFK service. As Air Serbia supporter I don't like that possibility but it can't be ignored.

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    4. They will be shut down if they don't have regional feed for those long-haul flights. Also no new flights should be added until there are more gates available.

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    5. Regional feed is healthy and growing. Second question about gates should be directed at Vinci.

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    6. @Anon 9:22

      Any data to support the claim that they are going to break even on this route next year or you just made it up in the sake of discussion?

      Would be really disappointed if the latter was the case.

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  7. January, February and March 2020 will be interesting to see since JU has more flights to offer connections to New York.

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  8. Toxic doom and gloom predictions coming in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

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  9. LF was greatly improved in JAN and FEB compared to last year.

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    1. How much was it last year?

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    2. 69% and 52,4%
      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2019/06/air-serbia-registers-growth-on-us.html

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    3. No it hasn't.
      Read the report before commenting.
      Overall loadfactor for the JAN-MAY period stood at 76.5%, down 1.4 points.
      For JAN and FEB is down 4.4 and 2.3%

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    4. How on earth is it down. Look at the data from last year for January and February (on the provided link)
      JAN 2018 LF 69.0, JAN 2019 LF 78.5
      FEB 2018 LF 52.4 FEB 63.0

      So can you explain to me from where did you make up that the load factor in January and February was down?

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    5. But half of January and half of February they did not fly. The worst part of year. So they cancel worst 30 days and make LF better. If the would fly just top season LF would be even better, but yield will not, as you pay for everything (crew, lease, parking taxes, insurance...) for not earning a penny.

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    6. Again that's not true. Air Serbia used Etihad's equipment and flew throughout January and February. Stop making things up.

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  10. I think this period will considerably improve because the Serbian market is growing and there is more demand. Just look at LH and SU which are regularly sending A321s this winter. LH alone had 2 yesterday. BEG needs to start working on expanding its facilities because the current ones can't satisfy the demand which is booming and all airlines are doing extremely well.

    BEG is really developing nicely. 6.2 this year is a reality, 7 next year.

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    1. How is your comment related to Air Serbia's New York flights?

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    2. Because JU flight to JFK is fueled by local demand which seems to be booming with more and more airlines announcing flights. The stronger the local market gets the better their performance will be to JFK. It's all related.

      Like LX cutting flights left and right while adding another 5 weekly flights to Belgrade shows how far our market has come. No?

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    3. I think LH and LX adding capacity to their hubs and their big transatlantic networks is increasing competition for JU501.

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    4. Well JU 500 had more passengers even after LH added the third daily to MUC. I think market is growing faster than airlines can add flights. Crazy.

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    5. Anon at 09:27
      JU flight to JFK is fueled by connections to the rest of the Balkans and the Middle East.
      It is usually the cheapest option.

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  11. Didn't people say HEL and KRR will fail as well? Yet both seem to be doing well even in winter. Some people on here just don't want JU and BEG to succeed. We should all be happy an airport and its airline in ex-YU are doing exceptionally well.

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    1. I don't think there was a single JU route that haters didn't claim would fail. Do any other longtime readers of this site remember how amendment so many were that TIA would instantly fail and that nobody would fly that route? Now it's up to 9 weekly flights with an upward trend. Major source of transfer pax.

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    2. They also claimed no one in Croatia would fly them and that their ZAG flights are going out empty.

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  12. Serbia keeps winning!

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  13. With that much of cargo movement, Air Serbia is already making money on that route.

    In my opinion, JU should expand to Middle East, North Africa and definitely China.

    Belgrade is packed with Chinese tourists. This is probably the most unserved route in a whole of Balkans.

    BEG is long due for a complete renovation and a new terminal.

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    1. Who makes money on what, except for insiders, nobody knows.

      It's not only about LF, which is more or less public, but also about fares and costs.

      You may have a 60% LF and still make money, if your plane is very business heavy.

      You may have a 100% LF and still lose money: if you sold tickets to JFK for 100 euro, LF would not be a problem, but you would not be profitable.

      The same about cargo.

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  14. After so many bad news from the region it's nice to see at least some goods news from our airlines. JU is on the right track in building this volume.

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  15. Let's see what happens next year, when LOT's BUD-JFK flight will become 7 weekly, with BEG, OTP, SOF connection flights + possibile TAROM JFK flights.

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    1. LO is not after connections to JFK from BEG via BUD.

      LO is offering connections from BEG to JFK via WAW. Every day except Thursday and Saturday you have a 1 hour connection on the flight onward. So if at all only Thursday and Saturday, where you would have a 2:20 hour connection in BUD. Coming back from JFK you have every day except for Tuesday a 2:05 hour connection in WAW.

      BUD-BEG is about business travel from both contries.

      OTP-JFK will NOT happen.

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    2. OTP-JFK not happen? RO is going to order A330s and will renew thier fleet. They will soon have the newest fleet in the Balkans.

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    3. RO's CEO was fired a while ago, their Atr deliveries were uncertain, their losses are mounting and OTP is a mess due to a sharp rise in passenger numbers which was not followed by terminal expansion.

      If JU is not making money in JFK then RO won't either. Also RO has been announcing these flights for ten years now, it's nothing new.

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    4. New or old, it doesn't matter. When RO used to fly to JFK with their A310, JU was we all know where before 2013.
      RO has a fleet of 25 vs 23 in JU so lets give them a little respect, shall we?

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    5. Who exactly is disrespecting RO? They are just facts, neither RO nor OTP are ready to handle long-haul flights. Have you ever been to OTP? It's a mess.
      Furthermore, by that logic we can also say: when JU used to fly all over the world with their DC-10s we all know where RO was back then.

      RO of today is not a healthy or well-managed business. And btw I am someone who enjoys flying with them but let's be real here.

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    6. Nemjee24: OTP handles seasonal Air Canada Rouge flights to YYZ and YUL.

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  16. Air Serbia's April and May numbers improved from winter months, lets see how they did in the busier summer months.

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  17. Do we know what is O&D/transfer ratio? That would be interesting.

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  18. Very diff to make profit with 2 flights pw , this is not product for ethnic market in US , most of of Serbian in states including huge nmbr of students in US avoid to fly JU due to lack of frequency. Daily product is only profitable for long haul.

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    1. Well with more flights to the region they will have more transfer passenger which will allow them to add more flights. As for Serbian students, I am sure they are after the cheapest fare out there, usually offered by LH or TK which are queens of dumping.

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    2. Anon 13:06:

      To the contrary, due to limited frequency, this is the product for vfr and not for business. Vfr can easily adopt, fly on Wed instead of Fri, etc. Business rarely can do this, in particular if using various convenient transfer options they can fly any day they want. Vfr is also price sensitive.

      The discrepancy between summer frequency and winter frequency just shows how much vfr + tourism dependant is the route. Business does business more or less the same all year round.

      More transfer flights from the Balkans will not help winter frequences on BEG-JFK. These transfer flights bring to BEG-JFK primarily vfr and not business. Economy of Serbia is much more global than the economy of Montenegro or Albania, so much less demand for business traffic and more percentage wise demand for vfr from these countries. And this means summer travel.

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    3. There might be less VFR in winter but it's still there. With more flights to the region those VFR passengers from the region might find BEG and JU more appealing than in the past. Hopefully TIA goes to 14 in summer as numbers have been more than solid for a while now.

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  19. Shame they don't offer connections from DBV and SPU. I noticed that SPU will be on the A319 the whole season, that's quite an increase compare to previous years.

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  20. Any info on the profitability of the route?

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  21. Overall I think numbers will be up on an annual level.

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  22. I still think they should have introduced Chicago first.

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    1. New York is the single biggest market from BEG.

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    2. Chicago definitely should be the next long haul destination for Air Serbia

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  23. The most critical parts here are Q1 and Q4. Q2 and Q3 are packed.

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  24. I hope they keep working and improving this route.

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  25. Air Serbia will not introduce Chicago and Toronto. When New York route was announced in 2015 they said Chicago and Toronto would be launched in 2-3 years. It didn't happen. Today they are saying "such routes usually take three to five years to achieve optimal results". Next summer will be their fifth summer since launching JFK but Air Serbia is not announcing any long haul for next year. There has been a flurry of recent activity pointing to Air Serbia closing JFK service, here are some quotes:

    "Ekonomski analitičar Branko Pavlović ističe da je tehnički pregled aviona iskorišćen kao izgovor za postepeno ukidanje te linije koja zbog malog broja putnika beleži velike gubitke... To je veliki gubitak koji Etihad ne želi da ima i na ovaj način se javnost priprema na to da će u jednom trenutku linija do Njujorka biti ukinuta"
    Source: https://www.danas.rs/ekonomija/etihad-ostavio-er-srbiju-na-cedilu/

    Comment from airliners.net user with frequent and reliable insider information from Air Serbia: "JU has literally zero intentions of launching new long-haul destinations. They are focused on short-haul at the moment."
    Source: https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1435335

    In 2017 Air Serbia official said: "A final decision on the potential introduction of a new transcontinental service will be made in the coming period"
    source: https://www.exyuaviation.com/2018/11/air-serbia-flights-to-toronto-in-2019.html

    Air Serbia obviously made the decision NOT to expand long haul, but for some reason they never went public. Here's an open call to Air Serbia to issue an official statement on commitment to expanding long haul services. Avoiding this issue will just strengthen the talk of Air Serbia long haul, including JFK service, coming to an end.

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    1. Ahhhh... JU suspending JFK seems to be all the rage these days when it comes to conspiracy theories. It almost makes me proud that we have come so far. Long are gone the days when we chatted about JU being sold for cheap agricultural land or how Serbian women will now go to the UAE for prostitution.

      I guess conspiracy theories are evolving together with Serbian aviation.

      As for that article you posted, I am sorry but this is an aviation portal so there should be some intellectual standards. Something Branko obviously doesn't have given the nonsense he wrote in that article.

      On a more serious note, Air Serbia is finally focusing on regional flying which they should have done long before they launched JFK. Just because they are not adding long-haul flights left and right doesn't mean they gave up on the one route they have right now. As many have written before me, additional regional flying will help boost JFK flights and will make any future long-haul destinations easy to add.

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    2. "additional regional flying will help boost JFK flights and will make any future long-haul destinations easy to add"

      that is, unless they are already being served by others. Vinci is working on bringing long haul routes. Once merged Air Canada/Air Transat starts YYZ-BEG backed with impressive North American connection options and once American Airlines starts ORD-BEG (or even PHL-BEG) with just as impressive connection options it will shut JU out of ORD and YYZ but will also put pressure on JU JFK-BEG.

      Once Hainan or some other airline from China (re)starts flights to BEG, Air Serbia will not be able to add any viable long haul destinations without competition. That means JU long haul game over, unless JU has deep pockets to fight competition the way LO is fighting AC on YYZ-WAW and will fight AA on ORD-KRK.

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    3. LO and AC are both Star Alliance. Why would they be fighting on YYZ-WAW? Betting that they're coordinating on the route to the fullest extent allowed outside a joint venture. Just like LH and UA both offer ORD-MUC.

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    4. Anon 19.10

      Ok, if that happens then so be it. JU is not ready to expand its long-haul flights at the moment so if others step in what can we do? Also even if Rouge does launch flights, JU can easily defeat them especially since JU's onboard product on the A332 is far superior to the ancient, uncomfortable and outdated product Rouge has on its B767s.

      I don't think we'll be seeing any US or Chinese carrier launch Belgrade any time soon so at least JU is safe to a certain extent.

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    5. LO is not fighting AC on WAW-YYZ route. Each has its chunk of the market (LO much bigger).

      LO is fighting AA on KRK-ORD with a huge overcapacity now. 5 weekly by LO on B789 and 6 weekly by AA on B788. And this in a city of 800k and airport of approx. 8 mln pax this year.

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  26. LO and AC are both Star Alliance. Why would they be fighting on YYZ-WAW? Betting that they're coordinating on the route to the fullest extent allowed outside a joint venture. Just like LH and UA both offer ORD-MUC.
    يلاشوت

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  27. Well done Air Serbia.

    After 5 years still the only carrier flying from ex-yu to US year round.

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    1. Is it good or is it bad? Asking seriousely. Maybe others go with the expensive equipment where they can make money. This makes them rich.

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    2. I am sure it is good.

      And if there was the place where JU could in long haul make more money than in JFK I am sure they would be flying there

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  28. JU will also run charter flights to Malta around New Year. That's a first.

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  29. The New York Times just published an article '36 hours in Belgrade.' Hopefully this further boosts US arrivals to lovely Belgrade which is an extremely rich and exciting destination. JU JFK flight is important for this.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/21/travel/what-to-do-36-Hours-in-belgrade.html

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  30. Air Serbia really needs to fix the efficiency of it’s long haul program by
    -eventually replacing their sole A330 with the A321XLR
    -start offering flights to Chicago and maybe even Beijing




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