Serbian aviation hit by millions in Covid losses

Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, has said the country’s air transport industry has so far been hit by tens of millions of euros in losses as a result of the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak. Commercial flights have been halted to and from the country since last Thursday. “At this point, we estimate the transportation industry has lost some 120 million euros, of which the majority is in the aviation sector. We stipulate the total loss will amount to some 800 million euros”, Ms Mihajlović said.

The Minister noted that on March 22, 2019, Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport handled 14.500 passengers during the day, whereas on the same date this year there were 79 travellers processed at the airport (although it was closed for commercial traffic). However, Ms Mihajlović said the Serbian government was planning a stimulus package to help both the aviation and other industries. “We will do everything to weather this crisis as best we can and help industries in need”, she noted. The Serbian President, Aleksandar Vučić, added, “We will outline a package of significant economic measures within ten days and see what can be done. I can guarantee that all stakeholders in the economy will receive significant state assistance”.

Air Serbia suspended all commercial operations on March 20. It has since run a number of rescue and humanitarian flights for stranded passengers, as well as to transport medical aid and equipment. So far, the airline has flown rescue flights to Istanbul, Amsterdam, Moscow, Paris, Thessaloniki, Larnaca and Doha. The carrier will today deploy an aircraft to London Heathrow. It is currently operating an average of two rescue flights per day. The airline has also been flying almost daily flights to China, predominantly to Shanghai, in order to transport medical supplies. “At a time when our fleet is grounded, we have actually soared to our greatest heights”, the company said, commenting on the humanitarian nature of its operations over the past week.


  1. Anonymous09:05

    Good luck to every Ex-Yu-Airline in this crisis! Hopefully everybody will survive this!

  2. Anonymous09:07

    I can only imagine how much help Air Serbia will get, on top of all the financial help it's gets when everything is normal.

    1. Anonymous09:13

      They will get enough to survive, don't worry

    2. Anonymous09:37

      Every airline in the world will get some money after corona.

    3. Anonymous12:21

      I kinda agree with all you but there are no worldwide or at least european-wide standards in place such as for a
      - 30-60 seater government can allocate A thousand EUR
      - 60-100 seater B thousand
      - 100-130 seater C thousand and so on for
      - 130-160
      - 160-200
      - 200-300
      - 300+ categories.
      This would be fair, if also economical situation of country was taken into account as a multiplicator.
      Therefore some by EU uncontrolled governments may give huge amounts, some will give less. Within EU, Brussels will surely come up with some guidelines or conditions.

  3. Anonymous09:08

    Serbia recovered from much worse, it will recover from this as well.

  4. Anonymous09:11

    This is more than expected and the losses will be seen by all airliners.

    Especially difficult will be for countries that have huge income from tourism

  5. SMFH09:14

    Dear citizens prepare to pay hundreds of millions of Euros more in taxes.
    The fact that your own job and your livelihoods are at risk is irrelevant.

    1. Anonymous09:17

      And you think citizens around Europe won't be doing the same?

    2. Nemjee09:18

      And how much of our tax money has been thrown at foreign investors who contributed little to the well-being of the country? Interesting how no one minds that.

      At least Serbia and its market have clear benefits from supporting and investing in Air Serbia.

    3. Anonymous09:30

      The tax payers have their right to express themselves. After all 800 million euros is a LOT of money for a country like Serbia. Just imagine what you can make with all this money.

    4. Anonymous09:31

      Who said they were giving 800 million euros? She said the estimated loss would be 800 million euros.

    5. Anonymous09:34

      Hahaha Anon 09.30 please read the text once again

    6. Anonymous09:56

      @Namjee This subsidy economy (Fiat, Geox, Rauh or AirSerbia), love it or hate it, gave Serbia the largest economic growth in Europe. The subsidies for AS will not kill us.

    7. Prepelica10:11

      @anon 09:30 The taxpayers have right to express themselves at least every 4 years so it seems majority is ok with it.

    8. Nemjee10:32

      AS is Alaska, JU is Air Serbia.

      My point is that if people did not complain about foreigners getting millions in subsidies then they shouldn't complain when a local company gets it.

    9. Anonymous11:19

      Does anyone know how much percentage is charged from the taxpayer? If yes, how does it appear and in which form? Is it Air Serbia tax?

    10. Aэrologic11:37

      I don't understand the need to destroy the world's economy for a disease that's nothing more than a strong flu and harmless to most of people of good health.

  6. Has anyone noticed unusual flights on BEG website? There are JU flights to Los Angeles and some flights arriving from Kyrgyztan. Interesting thing to see. I assume they are medical goods and Serbs being brought from around the globe, but still...interesting to see it.

    1. Anonymous04:13

      Yes they are that what you wrote. The La flight is paid by US ambasy to transport us citizen to LA and probably picking up serbians in LA. Honululu air had a flight 15 daya ago I think they brought serbian workers from a ship.

    2. Anonymous07:10

      It's not Honolulu Air. It's Wamos Air

  7. Anonymous09:18

    Everybody in aviation will be hit hard.

    Still I don't entirely understand this calculation. JU's income for 2018 was 290 mln euro. Assuming it grew since then by 30% in income (kind of optimistic), it would mean forecasted income for 2020 of 380 mln euro. That gives 31 mln euro income per month on average. It is however clear that months like March give much less income than June, July, August, September. So losing 100% of income for the entire March - and having the same costs - could mean losing like 25 mln euro.

    And having all planes grounded would mean not paying for fuel, for overflight, for landing/pax etc. So the loss would be for this reason lower.

    1. Anonymous09:22

      Perhaps they included BEG airport in their estimate. Maybe VINCI will not be asked to pay the concession fee for several months. In many concession clauses you have that if there is some disaster beyond the control of the concessionaire they are exempt from paying the fee.

    2. Anonymous09:28

      But the concession fee is like 1.5 mln euro per month. Even if that would be waived for a couple of months, it hardly adds up to make majority of 120 mln euro lost in aviation.

    3. Anonymous09:30

      It's not just the concession fee. They probably included airport revenue that has been lost, losses from a lack of overlights etc.

    4. Anonymous09:38

      Maybe they included losses Чачански чип, Ноблице and Тото made from not making any of their products for JU?

    5. Harbin09:44

      Guys, it isn't just AirSerbia and BEG. Read again, she said transportation industry. Among other things, highway tolls and so on.

    6. Anonymous09:48

      Bus companies as well. Trains too.

    7. Anonymous09:52

      Yes include JAT Tehnika and all the other related companies...

      Anyway, this will have a long term impact on air travel and our lives so I will not be surprised if VINCI wants to renegotiate the concession contract.

      The world will not be the same after covid19.

    8. Anonymous09:57

      Guys, what is with MTU investment? It is also part of the aviation industry. I am a bit worried.

  8. Taff time runing to aviation. Not much diference in activity on airports, in regards where they are. After all, we have to fly.
    As we have fly before. And much more...
    Rodney ✈
    Kings Park, Sydney

  9. Anonymous09:37

    I agree that in time of corona there should be state help. But two points are most important:
    1. Aviation comes at the End, after all other sectors, because its not crucial and it already lives on the from the tax-payers. If for the whole economy are planed 3-4 Billion, so 800 Million is to much.
    2. This numbers are to high. It indicates that someone want to have a part of the cake!!!

  10. Anonymous09:37

    Air Serbia had ~EUR 250 million revenues in 2018. (They haven't published 2019 results yet).
    Belgrade airport had ~EUR 80 million revenues in 2018

    (I'm not talking about profits, but about revenues).

    If we look at 2 months ('so far') these companies have lost EUR ~55 million. However, given that these are 'slower' months in general, the loss so far is probably EUR ~40 million.

    Of course, if it continues, the losses will grow... however, it cannot reach EUR 800 million (directly) anyhow, as simply, it never had revenue that high.

    1. Anonymous09:39

      It's the same math formula Wizz Air and Ryanair use when saying how many people they employ when they add flights or planes to a new city.

    2. Anonymous09:49

      they incude the whole effect of stopping aviation for the economy, eg tenants at the airport selling nothing, this was not included in the revenue of the airport (just the rental amount)

    3. Transportation sector as mentioned by the lady minister includes much more than just BEG and JU. Thin of all the trucks, ships, trains and especially busses that are sitting idle now, tolls on highways and many many similar items.

  11. Anonymous09:38

    One thing Serbia has going for itself is the fact JU carries a lot of transfers through BEG. This is good because it brings in a lot of foreign capital into the country. This helps in stabilizing Dinar.
    Just imagine, 130 passengers coming in from KRR, LCA or ATH... connect in BEG and all of their tickets have been paid in Euros that are deposited in JU's bank accounts in Belgrade.

    This is extremely important going forward and investing in JU will have a positive chain reaction on the rest of the country.

    1. Anonymous09:48

      propaganda ok

    2. Yes Anon 09:38, we all know that we subsidize the tickets that Bulgarians, Albanians, Greeks, Lebanese, Israelis pay to travel to and from their countries to Europe and to JFK.
      We are all really proud of helping them fly cheaply!

    3. Nemjee10:35

      This whole argument of subsidizing cheap air travel is getting old, do you have a valid source to back your claim that somehow JU is offering considerably cheaper tickets to these passengers than the competition?

      Aviation transfer business can be extremely profitable if done right. JU is on the right track but it needs more time to stabilize and build the necessary volume.

      Air Serbia might not be loss-making because of transfer passengers but rather because it has way too many employees.

    4. Anonymous15:52

      Happy taxpayer, I clearly remember you objected to some proposals to use your tax money to rescue Adria. That means you are paying taxes in Slovenia. You are not subsidizing Air Serbia.

    5. Anonymous17:14

      Last Anon, thank you. I didn't know he's Slovenian. I guess from what he writes on here that his issue is with JU and Serbia.

  12. Anonymous10:22

    I am a Serb, so you can't label me a "hater", but this will destroy all gains that AS created over the last few years.

    I understand we wish to tell each other stories how AS will do better than other Ex-Yu airlines, but I disagree.

    AS will fair just as bad as all Airlines if not worse, because if OU needs tourism, AS also needs transfer passengers which are also majority linked to transfer tourists.

    We are not in the EU, therefore after this mess, AS will have to start over as a "basic" small national Air Carrier with minimal routes to serve their citizens, but we unfortunately grew a large fleet and overhead which won't fly for the medium to long term.

    (Un)fortunately, OU and other regional airlines in our neighborhood, that are in the EU, will enjoy protectionism from Brussels, that will most certainly rise after the crisis, to ramp up the EU economy, and they are still flying ONLY because they are in the EU.

    If Serbia was in the EU, they would still be flying, for sure....

    1. Anonymous10:37

      Your comment makes absolutely no sense at all.

    2. Anonymous10:57

      Being a Serb does not mean you aren't a hater. Or wannabe hater.

      AS is Alaska, JU is Air Serbia.

      Air Serbia has the most passengers, the most destinations in its offer and is the only one from ex-Yu flying TATL. So we do not have to tell anyone that Air Serbia is the best in ex-Yu region, becuase it actually is.

      The fact Serbia is not in EU is actually quite helpful for Air Serbia as GoS could donate to its national carrier as they wish.

      After this crisis is gone the people wil have again to fly tranfer flights and diaspora will even more fly to Serbia.

      Air Serbia has the biggest fleet among ex-Yu carriers so they will be able to recover quicker than others.

      Are you sure that airlines from EU are flying only because they are in EU? It seems you haven't checked lately the status of LOT, Austrian Airlines, air Baltic etc.

      As anon 10:37 said, your comment really makes no sense.

    3. Anonymous11:25

      His comment does make sense. Serbia could´ve benefitted if it was an EU member. JU today could´ve been operating flights to BRU, ARN, AMS, etc. It is currently restricted to fly to EU soil. OU still flies today thanks to Croatia´s EU membership.
      RO also operates, the same with W6 and FB for example.

    4. Anonymous11:31

      How can't you get it through your head. The airport in BEG is closed for ALL commercial traffic. EU membership makes no difference, as it doesn't for Poland, Austria etc which did the same. How difficult is that to understand?

    5. Anonymous15:31

      keep on dreamin’ that the crisis will circumvent JU, this “magical” company that will bounce back in a jiffy infront of all others, and that GoS will inject billions ....please, spare me the emotional talk. JU will NOT recover to pre-covid19 numbers for a loooong goes for all other airlines.

    6. Anonymous15:46

      Everyone will be affected but some airlines will recover in shorter time and will return to market stronger compared to other airlines of the region. There are strong indicators Air Serbia will be that airline in the ex yu region. If that happens Air Serbia will have even more advantage over other airlines of ex yu region (in terms of fleet size, number of passengers, destionations) in the next couple of years.

    7. Anonymous16:10

      please provide the source for these HARD facts! enough with emotions...hard facts please! what source can you possibly be tapping, that no one else has that you can make these “crystal ball” predictions about JU bouncing back in front of all others? There is no way you can make these predictions and be considered as a serious post... admit tou HOPE for this, but don’t sell us on your wishes as beeing hard facts.

    8. Anonymous16:17

      @anon 15:31

      You will be so negatively surprised to see how JU will recover.

      But of course you won't come here to admit it.

    9. Anonymous16:24

      typical answer of someone which posts their wishes, and not hard facts. Nobody is denying you hope for your wishes that JU is the strongests, but I can’t take wishes to a Bank for instance and get a loan!! LOL

      Facts, Market Analysis and Business Plans get you the money, not your emotional wishes, and you have none to back your JU predictions.

      And yes, I will have no issues to admit I was wrong, rather you are avoiding my question, were are your facts?

    10. Anonymous16:50

      And JU up to now had no business plan, no development, no strategy?

      Where were you when new 15 destinations were announced by JU in only 13 months? Hidden in some corner hoping the reality will dissapear if you look at the other side?

      Please do not embarrass yourself anymore.

    11. Anonymous17:16

      Can you prove us with some analysis and facts that prove JU will not recover fast? Thank you in advance.

    12. Anonymous18:55

      -I will have no issues to admit I was wrong

      LOL. I know a certain self proclaimed aviation analyst who was presented with recording of his own predictions from a year before that were completely wrong about what really transpired. Despite that evidence he refused to admit he was way off.

      In line with that experience I have to ask: unless you have some certified, firm way to prove you will admit you were wrong, what incentive do I have to provide you with analysis that indicate Air Serbia will recover faster than others?

    13. Anonymous00:10

      facts please...still waiting

    14. Anonymous00:31

      Both you and that amateur analyst have the exact same trait: switching topics when you can't answer. Perhaps you are the same person? So in order to get facts, answer the question from 18:55.

    15. Anonymous00:40

      I asked the question long before 18:55, why can’t you answer? facts please?

      I honestly give up, no hope, I capitulate, Air Serbia will be the queen of the skies, she will recover formidably above all odds and all other troubling airlines....she will reign supreme of the skies.

      Once they resume flights in a month, Air Serbia will continue where they left off.

      There you have, I admit even before it happens that you are right!!

      Didn’t you say I wouldn’t admit thay I was wrong :-)

    16. Anonymous06:34

      Of course they will recover, everyone kept on telling you that but you stubbornly refused to listen. Nice to see you come back to your senses.

  13. Anonymous13:55

    And JU is not barred from flying to the EU, you did not understand/read what the directive is about - non-EU residents cannot enter the EU, but EU citizens and non-EU folks with EU resident visas can. But, as the anon above said, BEG is closed for ALL commercial traffic. Haters are on fire today, someone please pull out their batteries.

  14. Anonymous05:19

    YU-ARA has flow:

    21/03/2020 - BEG-PVG-CAN-BEG
    23/03/2020 - BEG-PVG-BEG
    24/03/2020 - BEG-PVG
    25/03/2020 - PVG-BEG
    26/03/2020 - BEG-LAX-SEA
    27/03/2020 - SEA-BEG


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