Airlines prepare for three-way battle over Serbia - Norway market


Competition between Wizz Air, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Air Serbia is heating up over the Serbia - Norway market just days before the three carriers begin progressively linking the two countries. It all began two weeks ago, when Wizz Air announced its major network and capacity expansion from Belgrade would include two weekly services to Sandefjord Airport from mid-July, to fill the void left by Norwegian Air Shuttle which suspended operations between Oslo’s main airport – Gardermoen - and the Serbian capital due to the coronavirus pandemic. Just a day later, Norwegian shortlisted Belgrade as part of its new limited network of destinations, to resume this Saturday, albeit at a reduced volume of one flight per week. This was followed by Air Serbia, which announced it too was launching two weekly flights to Gardermoen Airport in mid-July. The three airlines have since continued trying to one-up each other, with Wizz Air rescheduling its service from Belgrade to Sandefjord, which is 120 kilometres from Oslo, in order to operate on exactly the same days as Air Serbia’s Norway service. Not to be outdone, Norwegian Air Shuttle has since scheduled four weekly flights from its Oslo hub to the Serbian capital from the start of the 2020/2021 winter season in late October.

Last year a total of 50.000 two-way point to point passengers flew between Belgrade and Oslo. In addition, a further 7.000 travellers flew indirectly between the two cities. Air Serbia is hoping to attract transfer passengers on its flights from Oslo, with services to Sarajevo, Tivat, Tirana, Podgorica, Skopje, Bucharest, Sofia and Thessaloniki timed to connect onto operations from the Norwegian capital. Collectively, the eight cities saw around 95.000 passengers to/from Oslo last year.


By mid-July, there will be a total of 934 weekly seats available each way between Belgrade, Oslo and Sandefjord. Wizz Air will offer 460 one-way seats per week on its Airbus A321 aircraft, Air Serbia will have a capacity of 288 one-way seats on board its Airbus A319 jet, while Norwegian Air Shuttle will offer  186 one-way seats on its Boeing 737-800 aircraft. All three airlines have previously operated these flights. Norwegian Air Shuttle launched the Oslo - Belgrade route in 2007 and maintained the service until the start of the coronavirus crisis in March. In 2008, Air Serbia’s predecessor, Jat Airways, launched short-lived operations between the two capital cities. In 2014, Wizz Air commenced operations between Sandefjord and Belgrade, but the service lasted just five months before it was terminated.

Comments

  1. Anonymous09:03

    This is great and essentially what competition looks like. Good news for passengers which will have a choice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:16

      True dat but it is bad news for JU. The LCCs have far lower costs and few people will pay more just to enjoy Cacanski chips.

      Delete
    2. Nemjee09:22

      How exactly is this bad news for JU when they are the ones who picked a fight with the LCCs? Plus, JU's costs are not that high to begin with so I don't know what you are going on about.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:44

      LOL, Nemjee and his rose tinted glasses on everything ASL!
      JU's costs are much much higher that W6 and DY. Both airlines are strong in the Oslo market and passengers know them.
      JU will need to come very close to their prices and that means offering loss making fares.

      Delete
    4. Nemjee10:27

      Don't you get tired of all that negativity? It's been like what, six year now? Can you please provide a link where it shows that DY has lower costs than JU? Thank you in advance.

      Delete
    5. Nemjee 100,% agree. People are soo negative on here and nothing can make them happy.

      Delete
    6. Anon 9:16

      People who opt to give extra 40-50 euro to Air Serbia and fly with them consider factors that have absolutely nothing to do with "cacanski chips". Your understanding of air travel is inversely proportional to the amount of cynicism and hate you spread on this blog on daily basis.

      Delete
    7. Good for Serbia!

      Delete
  2. Anonymous09:04

    I do not understand the point of W6 and JU operating the flights on exactly the same days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:09

      They are trying to kick them off the route.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:05

    The market will be way over saturated. Someone will have to give up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nemjee09:23

      Or those that carried transfers will lose the most, my guess is LO and LH.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:44

      JU will have to either offer cheap tickets or it will exit the market first.

      Delete
    3. Nemjee10:28

      Like they exited LCA?

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:29

      Well they exited Malta.

      Delete
    5. Nemjee10:34

      Funny thing is that Wizz already once exited 'Oslo' when they had less competition, a smaller plane and there was no Corona. But hey...who cares about that.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:47

      And they fly to airport 200 km from Oslo city.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous10:48

      It was a different time then, as they exited several routes because they withdrew an aircraft from their Belgrade base over aid and preferential treatment given to JU.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous10:49

      So why they are back now when nothing changed in BEG treatment of JU? ;)

      Delete
    9. Anonymous10:50

      @10.47. The cities of Oslo and Sandefjord are actually 120km apart. The two airports are 170km apart. But remember Gardermoen is 50km from Oslo city center.

      Delete
    10. Anonymous10:54

      @10.49 things have changed. Wizz Air will be able to qualify for volume fee reductions because they will be able to handle over 1 million passengers from BEG now. Also JU no longer receives fee reductions to such an extent at BEG as they did 6-7 years ago.

      Delete
    11. Anonymous11:54

      OSL has both a high speed train to the city as well as a cheaper regional one. Sandefjord doesn't.

      Also Wizz will have 1.3 million with INI, in BEG they will be around 900.000 seats

      Delete
    12. Anonymous13:29

      Wizz will fail like they cut so many flights from Romania which is richer and has larger diaspora

      Delete
  4. Anonymous09:06

    Have no idea how Wizz will fill A321s on this route.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:11

      It is obvious from their schedule that they want to make it unprofitable for JU to continue to fly on the route ... will be interesting to see how it shakes out ....

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:17

      By offering very cheap prices ad having better brand recognition in Norway. So will Norwegian.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:18

      500000 teenagers with vine glass in hands and 100000 hipsters waiting to go to Norway and 4M waiting to go to Balkan. Who else will go to Turku?

      Delete
  5. Anonymous09:10

    Too small of a market for 3 players in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jatovac09:45

      That is why this will be great fight

      Delete
  6. Anonymous09:10

    This is Geneva all over again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:29

      +10000!!

      I wuz thinkin da same, bro. GVA den suddenly disappeared. Tink da same ll happen wit Berlin and Western Germany village airports already damn saturated. I getcha point tho...

      Delete
  7. Anonymous09:11

    That's fantastic news!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous09:11

    Had no idea Norwegian has been operating this route for so long. In the end, it will prevail.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous09:13

    The important question is who has the best fares.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:18

      We all know that JU has the higher cost base but hopefully extra subventions will allow them to stay competitive.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:22

      Anon @ 9.18 - if the state supports JU to fly routes at unprofitable levels, it will go against the grain of what state aid is meant for. It can't be used in such a way to so blatantly distort competition. They should use such subsidies for other purposes.

      Delete
    3. Nemjee09:25

      Do you have a source to back that argument? I highly doubt an airline based in Serbia has higher costs than the one based in Norway.

      The things you will read on here.....

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:31

      JU's CASK is double that of Norwegian

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:33

      Source?

      Delete
    6. Anonymous09:37

      A PwC benchmarking report in 2019

      Delete
    7. Anonymous09:39

      Nemjee - do you have a source that shows that it isn't ?

      Delete
    8. Anonymous09:47

      Nemjee stop trying to paint a rosy picture about JU.
      JU is wayyyyyy overstaffed for its size and it also flies much older and thus expensive to fuel and maintain aircraft than the LCCs.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous09:52

      ASL has two or three times the number of employees per aircraft compared with W6 and DY.
      How can you compete with that.

      Delete
    10. Anonymous10:00

      Anonymous 09:52
      +1

      Delete
    11. Nemjee10:31

      I am amused to see all of you predicting doom and gloom for JU while ignoring DY's state, an airline that almost went bankrupt a few weeks ago.

      Delete
    12. Nemjee10:38

      ...also one that just cancelled 97 Boeing planes and fired almost all of its staff. But hey, that's bad news for JU, right?

      Delete
    13. Anonymous10:48

      It also depends what Norwegian you talk about. They have almost illegal contracts for their New York crew. Those might be lower but not the ones for DY which are Norway based and have Norway contracts.

      Delete
    14. JATBEGMEL14:02

      @ 09,47 and 09,52

      JU isnt as overstaffed as it once was. While it probably could still cut back, they still have a lower count per aircraft (65) than other competitors around such as OS (85), OU (83), RO (71).

      @ 09,31

      Would you mind sharing the numbers and a link to them.

      Delete
    15. But do people understand Norwegian staff is payed at 3x higher rate then AiSrrbia ? Operating cost is way too high and that is the reason why they are struggling financially for a long time .

      Delete
    16. Nemjee14:31

      These are official numbers they submitted to APR.

      Air Serbia employees:

      2016: 1.601
      2017: 1.466
      2018: 1.370

      Delete
    17. JATBEGMEL14:42

      Good point on salaries.

      There was outrage last month when Ryan Air gave an ultimatum for 850€ crew salaries or the VIE base closure.

      850€ is a decent salary in Serbia.

      Delete
    18. Anonymous15:24

      DY crew in OSL probably earns close to €3.000 compared to JU's €1.000 .

      Delete
  10. Aэrologic09:25

    Air Serbia should have gone three weekly in order to offer more flexibility for transfers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:32

      Agree - this would have been a better way to tackle W6

      Delete
  11. Anonymous09:31

    Bloodbath :D

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous09:32

    I fear Air Serbia's decision was too reactionary. They should have tried Oslo as early as last year, (instead of Helsinki) when Norwegian was already weakened by its financial position. We probably wouldn't have seen Wizz Air on the route then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:45

      +1

      Delete
    2. Dejan09:48

      +1000
      I am afraid this route will be another case of you snooze you lose!

      Delete
    3. JATBEGMEL14:53

      JU was definitely reactionary. However DY is near bankruptcy, so I see them pulling out first. JU would likely be eating into the W6's loads. A full JU A319 is way below the optimal load for W6's A321.

      As for opening OSL last year, I dont think that would of mattered that much, as seen with BCN where W6 have jumped in. I think it was a bad move on JU temporarily suspending HEL.

      Delete
  13. Anonymous09:35

    Any idea how many Serbian people live in Norway now? I know there has been considerable emigration to Norway in the last couple of years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:04

      The 2019 estimate is 7.985. But The Norwegian census data includes immigrants with country of birth (first-generation) and Norwegian-born with immigrant parentage (second-generation), but does not include ethnicity so the total number of ethnic Serbs in Norway is hard to define.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:52

      Thanks. I wonder where the majority lives. If they are all concentrated in Oslo or live elsewhere? That could also have an impact on the success of this route for Wizz Air for example.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous13:29

      I'm sure JU will have an interline with SK in OSL

      Delete
    4. Only 8000 from Serbia in Norway? Number is too low imo. DY had full flights every single time I flew to BEG and back. Summer was always packed, we had to buy tickets in February to get "low price". Even ppl from Croatia/Bosnia used DY to BEG, then highway towards Zagreb/Banja Luka etc. Serbs are mostly in big cities (Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger). Others have to travel to Oslo anyway to catch a plane. Maybe interline, right. Used JU few times with SK via CPH and ARN, price rocketed after first 2 times.

      Delete
  14. Anonymous09:51

    I think it is also worth mentioning BCN as there are also 3 carriers in the route one of which almost pulled out which is VY. The clear initial winner seems to be W6. Really doubt VY will return to BEG in 2021 and how they will beat a 321 flying on the same days as they do. W6 is just an old Eastern European cunning fox knowing what they are doing.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous10:01

    Don't see the problem. Competition is good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:04

      I don't think anyone said it was a problem.

      Delete
  16. Anonymous10:05

    I hope all three will be able to stay on the market so people can have greater choice. It's just a bit dumb that JU and W6 are now operating on exactly the same days.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous11:19

    Good luck to all three

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous11:20

    So this is the fourth route from Belgrade we will have more than 2 competitors?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:20

      The others being Moscow, Istanbul and Barcelona

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:56

      Yeah but only TLV and BCN are to the same airport.

      Delete
  19. Anonymous12:43

    Good to see competition building up in Belgrade. At least passengers will benefit though I think Wizz is the weakest link here.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous14:23

    Instead on focusing on OSL, DY should have tried BEG-JFK instead and have only 1 competitor on the route. There is already year-round traffic to the Big Apple. Though, the biggest challenge may become winter when there are 2-3 weekly flights. The ideal case will be to base a Dreamliner in Belgrade and launch more long-haul flights similar to CDG or MAD for instance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Izvini a kakvu si ti glupost napisao ovo? Šta buncaš čoveče???

      Delete
  21. Anonymous16:27

    Another way in which JU managed to trick Wizz is by resuming Milan flights tomorrow while they will launch their ones in more than two weeks. JU will once again manage to outsmart them. Like someone wrote the other day, the pink muffin is no match for the eagle!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JATBEGMEL20:21

      Trick by how exactly? JU has a backlog of passengers for the past couple of months who were not able to travel. Its not as if JU is only now launching a new route to MXP just to spite Wizz.

      Delete
  22. Anonymous16:35

    Great news! The EC has just allowed for Serbs and 14 other nationalities to enter the EU freely from tomorrow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous17:15

      It's good but the unanimous decision by the European Council is not legally binding, so states can choose not to open up to all those countries.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous18:32

      Greece announced that it will allow Serbia and all other states suggested by the European Council.
      Albania and Turkey not yet.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous18:34

      Greece has been allowing entry from Serbia for weeks.

      Delete
    4. Nemjee19:40

      On Friday Cyprus started allowing Serbs as well, JU resumes LCA (4 weekly) on 03.07 and Wizz Air (2 weekly) resumes the day after.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous19:56

      Croatia is also reopening borders for Serbian citizens tomorrow.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous21:27

      Yeees but there is still a quarantine. Given that there are just 66 tourists in Hvar right now it makes no sense to keep away the few Serbs who want to go there.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous18:51

      ^ there is no quarantine anymore

      "Croatia will still maintain some minor restrictions on all citizens of non-EU countries, the Interior Ministry in Zagreb told BIRN. Visitors must state their purpose of entry, for business or tourism-related reasons. All European Union and European Economic Area nationals, on the other hand, may enter Croatia freely from Wednesday without restrictions."

      Delete
    8. Anonymous18:58

      EU countries Serbian citizens can enter without any restrictions as of today are Spain, Bulgaria, Greece, Latvia, Portugal, France, Croatia, Hungary and Czech Republic

      Delete
  23. Anonymous16:44

    Wizz Air methods are disgusting and not beneficial for the customer having several flights on the same day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous16:46

      They will also miss on many one way pax who would use W6 then return on JU and vice-versa.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous16:48

      They were stupid to change their flights to the same days as JU. Air Serbia has flights later on at night and they operate out of the much nicer OSL. Personally, since all of them are cheap, I wonder why someone would chose W6 over JU or DY? What would be their competitive advantage since price won't be for a long, long time.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous16:51

      Perhaps they live closer to Sandefjord. Somehow I doubt the majority of the Serbian diaspora in Norway lives in downtown Oslo.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous16:58

      Hello friend. Could very well be but that area where the airport is located is home to only around 440.000 people. I doubt there are that many out there really. I guess in that area most are in and around Oslo city.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous17:23

      While you are writing this, W6 just announced new flights from JMK in Greece and BEG was not included :(
      We need flights to warm destinations not Oslo or Turku!!

      Delete
    6. Anonymous17:25

      That's because Wizz refuses to work with local tour operators who fill planes to warm destinations. So Wizz has no market for JMK out of Belgrade. You can always fly on Aegean via ATH and enjoy their award winning onboard product.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous17:31

      But what about Aviolet destinations? Also Ellinair used to do BEG-HER so I don't think it's about the tour operators. It's not normal to have those strange waves when suddenly 3 carriers fly on some route. There should be a chance not only for gasto routes!

      Delete
    8. Nemjee19:41

      I think Ellinair was filled by Mouzenidis agency which had an office here in Belgrade.

      Delete
  24. Anonymous16:50

    Here you can see a short clip of Torpp, looks like some Polish provincial airport.

    https://www.aviontourism.com/en/airport/oslo-sandefjord-torp-TRF

    ReplyDelete
  25. Cancel Wizz18:39

    Latest generation of NEO aircraft ordered by LCCs produce about 30% less emissions than generation it replaces.

    Primary market for Wizz is East Europe to diaspora areas of West Europe. Typical diaspora used traditional airlines to visit families and relatives once or twice a year. Goal for Wizz is for them to go back home 3,4,5 times a year. Reduction in emissions per seat of 30% is more than offset by increase of travel by 200-300%.

    While Wizz offers newer aircraft with low emissions per seat it contibutes far more overall to airline polution growth by marketing and promoting unnecessary travel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your assessment is a little harsh. Wizz offers destinations and pricing according to it's operating structure and to be financial sound, that is, to make as much profit as possible. All within the rules and regulations. Like just about every other airline.

      Does it mean that if some gastos comes back home for say for a funeral, wedding, anniversary and some other celebration that is considered necessary travel? But if another gasto comes home four times in a year for no other reason than than to spend a few weeks, or even long weekend at home, that is considered unnecessary travel? What's the difference? Same rate of emissions for both travelers.

      You make it sound like the NEOs cause more pollution than older planes.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous21:01

      NEOs emit less per seat km.

      Global polluters also claim they are operating within regulations with a goal of making a profit. That's not good enough. Earth can't survive their increased activity so regulations will have to curb expanding consumption in industries that have no available low/no carbon alternatives. LCCs are key drivers of carbon emission growth in Europe. City breaks based on 19EUR ticket will have to become thing of the past.

      Delete
  26. Anonymous07:40

    Nice to see BEG thriving, I guess our time is only coming now.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anonymous21:27

    Interesting advertising from Air Serbia today asking people on social media do they know where Oslo is and saying it is close to Gardermoen from where they will be flying to. Trolling Wizz Air I guess.

    ReplyDelete

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