Belgrade - Pristina service to launch this summer


Flights between Belgrade and Pristina are expected to commence this summer season after authorities from Serbia and Kosovo signed a US brokered “Belgrade - Pristina Special Air Route” (BPSAR) Letter of Intent earlier this week. Details of the new service, which is to be operated by Eurowings, have emerged, and will be implemented “with the support of all sides”. The main sticking points for the resumption of flights in the past, such as air traffic oversight and taxes, have been addressed in the document. The Letter of Intent states, “Agreements on Freedom of Movement and IBM [Integrated Boarder Management] Agreement reached within the Belgrade - Pristina dialogue shall apply to the passengers, mail and cargo carried on this air route. The Civil Aviation Authority in Kosovo and the Airport of Pristina confirm that the operation to/from Belgrade/Pristina and vice versa shall operate without any additional taxes, fees and charges for a service on a BPSAR. In any case, tax, fees and charges shall not be discriminative”.

Under the agreement between the two sides, passengers flying point to point from Belgrade to Pristina and vice versa will not use their passport for travel. Instead, they will use their National Identity Cards. Furthermore, Kosovo passport holders will be able to transfer through Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport to onward destinations using their passports. The Kosovo Civil Aviation Authority has confirmed that flightpaths used prior to the 1999 conflict will be utilised again, meaning there will be no need to fly over Macedonian airspace before entering either territory. The Letter of Intent, signed between relevant authorities from both Serbia and Kosovo states, “KFOR [Kosovo Force] retains the authority in the airspace over Kosovo pursuant to internationally recognised agreements on NATO’s mission in Kosovo. Pursuant to the Agreement and Arrangement, the Civil Aviation Authority in Kosovo and KFOR will harmonise and sign the Coordination Procedures on the execution of BPSAR flight. At all times, the Civil Aviation Authority in Kosovo, the Airport of Pristina, and KFOR will ensure safe flight operation, including landings, of the BPSAR.

Eurowings has been given the freedom to determine fares, select codeshare partners and the equipment it will use for the flights. “The filing of codeshares with a carrier with the Lufthansa Group on the respective service shall be granted at any time, provided that all regulatory conditions have been met. Eurowings, or a carrier of the Lufthansa Group, have the right to use services from wetlease partners for the operation of the respective services, with prior consent of the said authorities”, the document states. It adds, “Eurowings and carriers of the Lufthansa Group shall have full authority to sell tickets, define its passenger fares and cargo, as well as mail rates only for the respective services between Pristina and Belgrade and vice versa”.

The two sides are tomorrow expected to commence talks on the resumption of a railway line between Belgrade and Pirstina as well. Eurowings boasts a base in Pristina and handled 343.701 passengers on flights to and from the city last year. On the other hand, the low cost carrier, which currently has no services to Belgrade, will commence three weekly flights from Stuttgart to the Serbian capital on May 21.




Comments

  1. Interesting about the cofeshare. Would JU add its codes onto Eurowings?

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    1. Doubt Eurowings would be interested

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    2. I don't think anyone is going to ask EW. They are getting paid to fly this and the government will want JU to benefit. With the taxes about to be suspended Serbian companies will continue to dominate the market. JU is part of all this scheme.

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    3. Agree. JU can't be avoided here and only with JU code share it could work

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    4. Always skipping bih

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    5. Without codesharing that flight would be always empty

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    6. There are very many other airlines too that they could codeshare with.

      I doubt LH Group is that stupid and feed one of their main rivals in the region.

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    7. LH doesn't have a say here, this is the US pushing it so they don't want to risk anything especially now when Trump wants to introduce a 25% tax on European cars.

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  2. "Eurowings, or a carrier of the Lufthansa Group, have the right to use services from wetlease partners for the operation of the respective services"

    Something tells me the flights will operate by WDL Aviation and their Q400s.

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    1. WDL has no Q400s. You might have referred to LGW?

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  3. Any idea what the frequency may be?

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    1. My guess is 2-3 weekly.

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    2. With connections onto JU's booming network they could go even daily.

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  4. And then politicians say how it's all just tentative and in early stages.... whole they've pretty much agreed on everything already.

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  5. “with the support of all sides”.

    Does this mean financial support from all sides???

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  6. If there is a direct link between Tel Aviv and Cairo, there certainly should be one between Belgrade and Pristina.

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    1. Can you elaborate please...?

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    2. Well Egypt and Israel where at war once, that should be the connecting thread.

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    3. The first TLV-CAI charter flight was operated for Egyptair on 19 November 1977 by an Inex-Adria DC-9.

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  7. This will be great also for Serbian population that want to go to BEG and visit friends and family. Gracanica is 25 minutes from the airport, Mitrovica sounds 50. Beats going by bus to Belgrade.

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    1. If the price is right.

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    2. I doubt it will be an expensive flight.

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    3. Anything over 50 euros will be too expensive since you have the buss for less than that.

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    4. It will probably be like the BEG-BNX-BEG flights. You can literally buy tickets for 40 euros on JU on this route.

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    5. The only difference is that BNX is connected by highway with Belgrade, PRN isn't. It takes 7 hours by bus from Belgrade.

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    6. Yes that is true, should be taken into account.

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    7. It can be as convenient as you like, but it cannot make me or my family land on airport as long as it holds this name. 7 hours by bus is fine.

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    8. Anon 13.09

      +1000

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    9. Last three Anons: this is so incredibly backwards and shows your mentalities, unfortunately.

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  8. If JU gets the codeshare that will be horrible news for OS which already lost P2P to Wizz.

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    1. I see no other choice but JU to get code share

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  9. What with environmental concerns, is this link really sustainable? What are road/rail links like between the two cities? Are there long passport/customs checks?

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    1. Who cares about the environment if there is potential for JU to make money from this codeshare.

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    2. You can't enter Serbia with Kosovo car plates.

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    3. And I think it's the same viceversa.

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    4. Not true, you can enter Serbia but if you try to enter Kosovo and Metohija with Serbian car plates they tend to make stupid and unnecessary problems. A while ago they tried to ban people from entering with Serbian IDs. When it comes to relations, Albanians are constantly coming up with ways to create complications. If it wasn't for the US this deal would have never happened.

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    5. I'm neither Serbian nor Albanian but I was travelling last year with a friend of mine from Albania to Hungary with a car which bore Albanian car plates and we got stopped at least 5 times from the police, doing checks on IDs and car and asking what was our intention in Serbia or where are we going. Don't know if it was our face that was suspicious or was just the fancy car plate.

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    6. the comment on problems for Serbian license plate holders are ridiculous. I am a regular on the Belgrade-Pristina route to visit family and I can tell you that 1) There are no problems for Serbian license plate holders in Kosovo. There are quite a few, mainly from Bujanovac and Vranje. In addition, my own car, which has a BG license plate has never been stopped or smashed or anything of sorts. 2) The bus that runs from Belgrade to Pristina uses a Kosovar license plate for all of its journey, although you will see some ppl changing their license plates for fake ones on BOTH(!!) sides of the integrated checkpoint.

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    7. I also travel quite often from Vranje to Pristina and Prizren and I can say that the situation is not like you present it. Very often they are looking for problems where there are none. There is no standard rule what is required and most of the time it depends which Albanian works on the administrative crossing. Some are great and don't create problems others traze dlaku u jajetu.

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    8. Three days ago the Albanian side blocked the entry to basketball players from Trstenik who were supposed to go there and play a match.

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    9. You CAN enter Serbia with Kosovo plates that don't indicate the status of the issuing authority. Any Kosovo citizen can request these plates from the local police. There is no need to have any other plates alongside these, neither Serbian nor Kosovan.

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  10. Flights will without doubt be subsidised, especially if they are also resuming rail lines.

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  11. It's a good thing this is moving forward.

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  12. Why is everyone talking about JU codeshare? It seems most logical to me that Eurowings feeds LH group's flights out of Belgrade.

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    1. It really doesn't because this is primarily for local passengers and I am sure the government will force them to sign an agreement with JU. Why should Germans profit from this especially when they will get subsidies to operate the route?

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    2. And why exactly should they not?

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    3. Why they should get subsidies or codeshare with JU?

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  13. So when in summer can we expect the flights to start?

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    1. Since this process was revealed to the public in January I would not be surprised if they start at the very beginning of the summer season, at the end of March.

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  14. Since Air Serbia does not cooperate with the Lufthansa group, I don't know if it is possible but it would be good for them to have their codes on this flight. Would benefit them.

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  15. A319/A320 will be too big for this route.

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    1. It seems this flight will either operate with a PRN based plane or they will wet lease equipment like it stipulates in the agreement. I looked at the Stuttgart-Belgrade schedule and the turnaround is short, meaning the plane goes straight back to Stuttgart.

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  16. Interestingly Eurowings is ending some scheduled routes from Pristina and turning them into charters where you can only buy tickets from the tour agencies.

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    1. Which ones are they terminating?

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    2. It is probably much more profitable that way then selling tickets directly. A very weird system is in place for most airlines flying from PRN that I haven't seen elsewhere.

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    3. @11.05

      Frankfurt and Munich of all routes.

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    4. Does it mean PRN is losing connections to those cities?!

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    5. No they will still be operated by Eurowings. You just won't be able to buy a ticket on Eurowings' website.

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    6. Ha it's true on the site you can't buy tickets past March.

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    7. What about connections onto LH? Do those still work? Wow this is a major shock to me.

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    8. No, connections will no longer be possible through FRA and MUC. Which goes to show that they might direct transfers via LH in BEG or it might have hurt OS in PRN so they are trying to help them.

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  17. Why on earth is this being operated by EW and not JU? If there is no JU code on this I can't see this working or making sense. How long are they being paid to operate the route for? Maybe JU will get the contract next time round.

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    1. Well the Serbian president said he fought tooth and nail for the flights not to be operated by Air Serbia and that he wanted the Germans to fly it.

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    2. JU would have to apply to the civilian authorities in Kosovo in order to fly to PRN.

      Applying to them would mean recognizing them.

      Recognizing them would mean recognizing Kosovo.

      Simple as that

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  18. I’m curious to know if all carriers flying in/out PRN can cross the Serbian airspace or only this particular flight.

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    1. Just this flight.

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    2. Since Eurowings wet leases aircraft from LGW, I suppose they'll do the same on this route too... operate with Dash 8 Q-400 of LGW.

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  19. This will probably be the most important route in the Balkans. Why?
    1. It will bring economic prosperity to the region
    2. It willl bring more peace.
    3. Neutral airline means neutral thoughts just like Ryanair doing domestic Romanian routes.
    4. No taxpayet involved as it's the case with JU.
    5. More connections to the LH group and Boomerang points from PRN.
    6. More options for Kosovars to fly = cheaper.
    7. More organic traffic and not so LCC compared to SKP.
    8. Belgrade wil be connected to 3 important cities in the same area: SKP, PRN and SOF. Also a good point to launch domestic flights to INI.

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    1. If you think this route will not get subsidies then you are mistaken my friend.

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    2. They probably wanna check how it will go first. EW will most likely place a Dash or A319 on some days to try it. I do think there is room for more potential.
      There are routes in the Balkans that are hidden gems and need an air connection soon especially the ones out of PRN, SJJ and TGD.
      After BEG, PRN needs a connection to Moscow and New York.

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    3. PRN can fly to JFK from BEG, no need for a direct flight cause it will not be full and also the PRN airport can't handle a wide body aircraft...

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    4. What about this>

      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2016/10/pristina-airport-eyes-new-york-service.html

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    5. 500.000 Koreans in Croatia and 3 weekly Seoul only seasonally. Almost 250.000 passengers from ZAG to the US and not a single flight. Do you really expect PRN to get JFK based on 27.000 passengers?

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    6. Yeah 500.000 Koreans in Croatia and how many of them visit only Croatia and return directly to S. Korea? Its a known fact that most of Korean visitors in Croatia, visit it as a part of bigger trip, and their entry and exit points out of Europe are outside of Croatia.

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    7. PRN doesn’t need BEG for connection flights like in the 1990’s.
      PRN will have direct flights to JFK possibility.

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    8. Well they had the JFK possibility for the past 20 years and nothing has changed. Let's face it, PRN will not be connected to JFK by plane any time soon. Even Sofia, Bucharest or Thessaloniki don't have them and you expect PRN to get them?

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  20. Does this mean other commercial flights are allowed to use Serbian airspace and vice versa or this is the only exception?

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