EU travel ban hits EX-YU airlines and airports


The European Union plans on closing its boarders for thirty days as of later today to external visitors from non-EU countries in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19. The development will have a further impact on airlines and airports in the former Yugoslavia, which are outside of the block, and is expected to bring the majority of air operations to a halt.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

A large portion of flights from Sarajevo Airport have been affected. In a statement, Sarajevo Airport’s General Manager, Armin Kajmaković, said, “We still don’t have any official information whether the airport will be closed due to existing circumstances. We will see what happens next, but it is a fact that the number of passengers has declined dramatically. In the last two weeks, aircraft have been flying out half empty for the most part”. Start-up FlyBosnia has suspended all operations and has indefinitely discontinued services to London. The airline logged its last flight on February 29. Meanwhile, Wizz Air has suspended all operations from Tuzla Airport until the first week of April. 

Croatia

The EU travel will only partially affect Croatia. Under the plan, only visitors from non-EU states will not be allowed to enter the region unless they are long-term residents of the EU, family members of EU nationals, diplomats, cross-border commuters, or essential workers like doctors, nurses, and researchers. The majority of Croatia Airlines’ network is concentrated within the EU, however, plummeting demand and various national restrictions will see the carrier cancel at least nine return flights today, among which are services to cities outside of the block such as Sarajevo and Skopje. Furthermore, flights from Zagreb to Copenhagen, Vienna and Munich have also been cancelled so far today. Despite the new circumstances, Aeroflot, Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways will operate their flights to the Croatian capital today.

Kosovo

Pristina Airport remains closed until further notice for all commercial flights.

Macedonia

Skopje Airport will close at midnight on February 18 for all commercial flights. Ohrid Airport was closed late last week. Effectively, there will be no commercial flights to and from Macedonia until further notice.

Montenegro

Montenegro Airlines has suspended all operations until April 1 inclusive. Podgorica and Tivat airports remain open, although both are expected to see little traffic.

Serbia

Air Serbia continues to maintain operations at this point, although with all non-Serbian citizens banned from entering the country and all Serbian citizens without EU residency banned from entering the bloc, the carrier is unlikely to be able to maintain the majority of its operations. The airline has suspended on-line check-in and so far cancelled 23 flights today. The new EU measures are also expected to have an impact on Wizz Air’s operations from its Belgrade base. Foreign carriers continuing to maintain services to the country at this point include Turkish Airlines, Aeroflot, Belavia, Etihad Airways, Flydubai, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa and Tunis Air.

Slovenia

All commercial air traffic has been suspended until further notice, resulting in the closure of the country’s airports to the general public.

European airlines that have suspended all operations (so far) include: Austrian Airlines, airBaltic, Czech Airlines, Lauda, La Compagnie, LOT Polish Airlines and Montenegro Airlines.




Comments

  1. Anonymous09:02

    Depressing. Seems like JU is operating only 5 flights from Belgrade today.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:05

      Makes you wonder if it would be better for them just to suspend all ops for the time being.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:05

      Which ones are operating today?

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    3. Anonymous09:08

      Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Athens, Zurich, Moscow and Vienna. So it's not five flights.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:14

      I'm guessing some flights will be kept symbolically. The airlines that "temporarily" grounded their flights won't be able to do it for a long time otherwise their crew risk loosing their licenses due to inactivity. Back in the day JAT created MAT and Air Srpska with the sole purpose of keeping its crew flying.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:33

      Who will inject some cash then? Is it the GoS or Abu Dhabi? JU will be hit quite hard as it relies heavily on EU flights especially Germany and Italy.

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    6. Anonymous09:34

      Abu Dhabi has not invested anything in Air Serbia in years.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous09:37

      How come? It holds almost 50%, no?

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    8. EY owns half of JU but Serbia is 100% responsible for providing subsidies and covering losses.
      It was a fantastic deal that was made between us and Abu Dhabi...
      Thank you Vucko!

      Delete
    9. Anonymous09:46

      Who knows what will happen of that 'partnership' after this.

      Delete
    10. Anonymous09:48

      Just wait until the Etihad Airways Bonds become due next year and in 2021 - something like USD100M which the great former Chairman signed off on. Can't wait to see how they handle that one

      Delete
    11. Anonymous09:52

      Thanks, Plane Mad. I didn´t know the contract was that restrictive. Clearly the GoS will need to deal with this difficult situation.

      Delete
    12. Anonymous10:43

      Anon 09:48
      It will happen what everyone expects to happen. The state will pay for it.
      ie: the tax payers.
      EY group in Serbia unlike in every single other country that is made investments made a great agreement. For themselves!

      Delete
    13. Anonymous10:50

      what bonds, can you please give more information?

      Delete
    14. Anonymous12:06

      ^^^
      First it was this:
      https://www.ifre.com/story/1397553/emerging-emea-bond-ea-partners-us700m-five-year-bond-ppxt5khz5l
      And then it was this:
      https://www.reuters.com/article/etihad-airways-bonds-idUSL5N18M1UL

      Delete
    15. Anonymous19:32

      The bonds were issued at a crazy +7% interest ... can you imagine that when interest rates are running at something like 2% or less today ?

      What a scam !

      Worse, with the state of the industry as it is today, how on God's earth are they going to repay USD100M + when these bonds mature this and next year ?

      Good luck Govt of Serbia !

      Delete
  2. Anonymous09:02

    Why does AS continue flying, is flying empty planes more economical than grounding them for the time being?

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:04

      I doubt that the routes that the few routes they are flying are empty. They are probably full of Serbs trying to get back home.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:19

      The Govt will end up "topping" things up for them anyway, so why shouldn't they keep flying under such circumstances ?

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    3. Anonymous09:49

      This will hit the economy so hard that I am not sure topping up JU will be their prime priority.

      Considering that it was loss-making anyway, better invest support money in companies that are healthy (in normal times)...

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:16

      There are still people trying to get back home...make sens to have few connections to major hubs.

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    5. The loss made by JU is peanuts compared to losses made by most state-owned enterprises.

      Delete
    6. Nemjee10:34

      Tourism industry in Serbia (read Belgrade) has developed quite nicely over the past several years. We are seeing how badly they are affected these days and how much income they lost due to travel restrictions. Air Serbia has played one of the most important roles in increasing connectivity and accessibility of the Serbian market.
      Losses JU made were more than compensated by the spending of tourists that came to Serbia. Don't forget that no matter what they buy while in Serbia, the government gets 20% from the VAT. So why should the government shut JU down? What benefit is there? Air Serbia gets around €20 to €25 million per year which isn't that much.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous10:53

      Sorry but no.

      Belgrade is mainly visited by ex-yu guys + some other Balkanians (BG, RO, TK), no need to fly to visit the city. THe bigger issue here is the closure of the borders and people reluctant to travel in general and has very little to do with the connecting flights JU is offering.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous12:16

      Sorry but look at the statistics of visitors and how many Italians, Turks, Germans...come and visit Serbia. Number one tourist group are the Chinese and they are not from our region the last time I checked.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous19:48

      If the Chinese are the no. 1 tourist group, then how are they getting here - with Air Serbia all the way from China ? Yeah right .... so much for your argument

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:03

    I'm surprised at how well Croatia Airlines is holding up all things considered. They have just cancelled a handful of flights.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:08

      It's a big question how many passengers they have. If they average LF is around 68% in normal circumstances imagine it now.

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    2. Anonymous09:19

      *their

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    3. Anonymous09:24

      I can confirm you that LF 15 - 25% on my routes.
      Pax just no show. We inside don't understand why are we still flying.

      Delete
    4. It was ~70% LF on the late afternoon FRA-ZAG flight last Saturday.
      I'd estimate ~45% on the evening ZAG-SJJ ; more than I expected honestly. That's about the same as I've experienced on the route a few times during the winter.

      Delete
    5. I'd say it was ~70% on late afternoon FRA-ZAG last Saturday.
      ~45% on the evening ZAG-SJJ, which is only a bit worse than the "usual" from my experience.

      Delete
    6. How anybody here does not understands ? They have sold tickets, passengers simply do not show up. They have sold entire plane, they do not care if they fly empty. It Is better if they are empty, they will consume less fuel.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous15:46

      @Anon 10:33
      This is complete nonsense, all airlines including Croatia have introduced free of charge cancellations. So if anybody is not flying they can cancel & get full refund.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous20:10

      Croatia Airlines as well as other airlines return money only for flights that have been cancelled. For flights still operating refunds are not aplicable. However what is free of change.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous09:09

    Looks like TK continues to operate 2x daily to BEG. Probably will end soon.

    I wonder which airlines in Europe will be able to survive after all of this.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:11

      LH also seems to be continuing its double daily Frankfurt flight.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:19

      There were 7 passengers on my flight from Belgrade to Istanbul the other day. Just saying ...

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    3. Anonymous09:23

      Ironically Turkish is dumping prices and advertising exotic destinations.

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    4. Anonymous09:25

      Let's be happy that they are still flying. I know of several people who are stranded around the world and are having difficulty getting back home. Hopefully the mid-east airlines continue flying for another 10 days or so, so they can all get back.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:26

      You are going to have a massive loss anyway. Better fly those 25% then give up and cancel everything.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous09:32

      Is OU still flying domestic flights? Like Zagreb-Zadar and so on?

      Delete
    7. Anonymous09:33

      Yes they are. Why wouldn't they? They get paid for them. Virus or no virus.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous10:33

      TK is receiving massive hidden subsidies from the state. So they can afford to do whatever they want.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous11:28

      good that you know about hidden things. lol

      Delete
    10. Anonymous12:11

      TK is not subsidized by the Turkish state and neither are JU, OM, Ey and QR.
      Also Deda Mraz is real.
      LOL indeed!

      Delete
    11. Anonymous12:30

      You forgot OU

      Delete
  5. Anonymous09:09

    LOL love how Fly Bosnia suspended all flights 2 weeks before anyone else was thinking about suspending all operations.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:10

      I doubt they will come back after this. I think they are gone.

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    2. Anonymous09:19

      I wouldn't be surprised if the same happens with Montenegro Airlines.

      Delete
  6. Anonymous09:13

    Love that Tunis Air keeps flying Tunis-Belgrade. Who is even on these flights now?

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:26

      If Tunis hasn't introduced quarantine measures, I wouldn't be surprised some people are still going on holiday.

      Delete
  7. Anonymous09:22

    Will JU continue New York flights?

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:27

      So far they have not been cancelled.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:36

      Situation will worsen in Amerika during the upcoming days. It´s just a matter of time.
      Plus if this route is 95% transfer, then how will they survive...I don´t know.

      Delete
  8. Anonymous09:28

    Aeroflot is still flying to BEG, ZAG and TIV but they will probably end them soon since Russia has also banned all foreigners from entering (up to MAY 1!).

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:31

      Airlines like Aeroflot can at least still keep their domestic flights.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:35

      I doubt there is much demand for domestic flights either, as illustrated in the US.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:41

      Aeroflot flight SU2611 has landed today at Ljubljana airport but it was agreed evacuation flight for Slovenian passport holders in Russia as well as Russian passport holders in Slovenia.

      Delete
  9. Anonymous09:29

    That new route launches section on the right side will probably disappear soon :(

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  10. Anonymous09:34

    Skopje will close in the next two days they said last night.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous09:34

    JU still flying from Nis?

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:37

      it doesnt really matter literally

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    2. Anonymous09:46

      because they are burning money?? Maybe?

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    3. Anonymous09:48

      They are. But I doubt for very long.

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    4. Anonymous09:48

      The response above was to 9.34.

      Delete
  12. Anonymous10:10

    I think in terms of robustness and potential to survive all of this mayhem, the flag carriers can be grouped as follows:

    1. Air Serbia (moderate-high chance of survival)
    2 . Croatia Airlines (moderate chance of survival)
    3. Montenegro Airlines (low chance of survival)

    Any thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:14

      This forum obviously has a hard-on for JU, but I think they're not as "robust" as you think.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:59

      I think everyone defends their own. Far from saying it's the whole forum.

      Delete
  13. Anonymous10:13

    Watching UK Breakfast TV, this morning. According the WHO, 30 out of 31 Chinese provinces are virus-free with Wuhan past its peak. Italy peak is the most important indicator to look out for in Europe which has become the epicenter. I hope it will happen sometime this week and things can begin stabilizing after Easter. Closing inner EU borders between member states is idiotic. Contain the cities and regions affected not entire countries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:50

      It is a strange situation for all of us, and we might have different individual judgements about future development. In my “circles” we are joking, that flights (and not only flights) might be back in a month time, but that every travel will last at least 15 days, first 14 days in “self-isolation”, then one day to do the “business” and go home.

      Delete
  14. More or les hire on Sydney's KSA not much heppy time.
    Just landedfrom Belgrade. And14 days home isolation for all arrived. Dreaming about flights and airports. But maybe I have priviledge to thinking about re-construction of ANTB, Belgrade.
    Till time improve.
    Rod✈

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous14:07

    Just a thought, will these airlines actually return to these airports.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous15:27

      Many routes will be permanently discontinued. Remember how airlines culled their networks during the 2008/9 financial crisis? Ex-yu region was particularly affected.

      Delete
  16. This is an interesting topic. In situations like this, cash is king and if an airline has cash reserves, they can absorb disruptions. Problem with EX-YU carriers is that the balance sheet is close to zero or negative (do not count financial injection from larger carriers or government subsidies).

    While beneficial for a country to have a flag carrier for marketing, however in Europe, is only a want, not a need.

    Countries will have to deicide in choosing the national airline or country economy if the COVID-19 situation drags out for a prolonged period of time.

    The duration of COVID-19 will dictate which airline survives, and not the airlines themselves unfortunately.

    ReplyDelete

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