El Al to maintain Belgrade flights as travel bubble ends


The one-way travel bubble between Israel and Serbia, which saw a record number of flights between the two countries, has ended after mandatory quarantine was reintroduced for Israeli nationals returning from Belgrade as of this Monday. However, El Al will continue to maintain its service between Tel Aviv and the Serbian capital, introduced ten days ago. Frequencies will be reduced from the initially planned six weekly flights to two per week, each Thursday and Sunday. They will continue to operate with the Boeing 737-900 aircraft. Israir and Arkia, which also maintained flights between the two cities will temporarily suspend their operations, although both have tentatively scheduled their return to the city from next month. 

Israeli carriers expect for travel restrictions to ease by mid-December. At this point, Israir plans to restore its operations to Belgrade on December 9 with five weekly rotations, with Arkia expected to follow suite. Air Serbia does not plan to resume flights between the two cities until March 29, 2021, which have been scheduled to run twice per week. Entry into Israel is not permitted to foreigners at the moment. Israeli citizens are now required to quarantine upon their return from most countries across the world, although Serbia remains one of the few not requiring quarantine or a negative PCR test for the majority of foreigners crossing its boarders. 

This October saw a record number of flights between Israel and Serbia, with Belgrade being among the top ten most frequent destinations out of Tel Aviv, behind destinations in Greece. Similarly, it was the eighth most frequent route out of Belgrade, behind only Zurich, Podgorica, Tivat, Istanbul, Frankfurt and Paris. In order to return all its nationals before the introduction of new quarantine rules, the three Israeli carriers operated a total of eight flights to Belgrade this past Saturday.

Comments

  1. Anonymous09:02

    Great to see El Al is sticking with the flights.

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  2. Anonymous09:03

    It was good while it lasted. But still nice to see flights will continue.

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  3. Anonymous09:04

    Do Serbian tour operators sell Israel packages (in normal non covid times).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:06

      They do but it's mostly to visit Jerusalem. It's not one of those leisure summer tours.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous21:06

      They should try Eilat.

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  4. Anonymous09:04

    This is great news. El Al keeps its flights.

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  5. Anonymous09:06

    Belgrade Airport must have felt more like Tel Aviv on Saturday with 8 fights!

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:08

      There was one day when there were ten flights!

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    2. Anonymous09:10

      Crazy

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    3. Anonymous10:41

      Probably the only city in the world with so many TLV flights at the time.

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    4. Anonymous10:46

      I thought they didn't fly on Saturday/shabbat?

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    5. Anonymous10:52

      El Al doesn't fly during the day on Saturday. It flies from sundown (which it did on Saturday from BEG). Other Israeli airlines fly normally.

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    6. Anonymous10:55

      And just to add there was huge pressure on El Al, as national airline not to fly during sabbath. The airline is really against this.

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    7. Anonymous21:07

      Really crazy decision. Poor El Al.

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    8. Anonymous21:17

      Don't cry for them. They get huge state funding.

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  6. Anonymous09:06

    Good development despite the end of the bubble.

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  7. Anonymous09:07

    Great to see a high profile, legacy carrier committed to Belgrade. Only shows the true potential of the Serbian market and why Vinci is going ahead with the massive expansion plans!

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:40

      It's a good job. Especially in these difficult times.

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  8. Anonymous09:07

    Will they keep these flights in summer?

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:09

      Hopefully. I wonder what happens when Air Serbia resumes the flights.

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    2. Anonymous09:10

      I don't see JU returning with all this competition.

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    3. Anonymous09:12

      JU caters for different sort of passengers. There was a considerable amount of transfers from/to Tel Aviv and also all Serbian tour operators book with JU.

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    4. Anonymous09:22

      I don't think JU will return either. The other airlines have a much superior level of service.

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    5. Anonymous09:23

      LOL I can guarantee you have never flown any of the said Israeli carriers. Or Air Serbia for that matter.

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    6. Anonymous09:29

      Arkia and Israir offer less service than JU. El Al on the other hand offers a full hot meal service in economy (free of charge)

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    7. Anonymous09:35

      Their business class and service seems quite good on the B737-900

      https://thepointsguy.co.uk/reviews/el-al-737-business-class/

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    8. Anonymous09:40

      ^ Looks very good. Definitely ahead of JU on this route.

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    9. Anonymous11:25

      I think in BEG, JU is ahead in terms of onboard product only from Wizz Air, Pegasus and easyJet.

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    10. Anonymous11:53

      OS is terrible from BEG and I always fly rather with JU than with OS. Transavia also offers zero as well as Norwegian.

      Starting from March this year TK offers only water.

      So JU is far better in service comparing to all above mentioned airlines.

      Delete
    11. Anonymous11:57

      Really? You compare service on LCCs with legacies?

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    12. Anonymous12:02

      Yes, really because their prices are very much comparable from BEG.

      W6 keeps terrible prices to GVA although they fly to secondary airport and JU decreased prices to BER and AMS as soon as U2 opened BEG from BER and Transavia opened BEG from AMS.

      So, the answer on your question: Yes, very much.

      Delete
    13. Anonymous19:20

      LCCs have lower prices then legacies in theory. If Wizz has higher prices out of BEG that doesnt mean they always have. Thats why LCCs and legacies are not comparable in service. On other way, if JU has LCC style prices with 50€ one way, it is obviously they are losing money.

      Delete
  9. Anonymous09:10

    It shows the importance of keeping borders open. If you needed a PCR test for entry they wouldn't keep the flights.

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  10. Anonymous09:10

    How many seats does the B739 have?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:13

      El Al's have 175 seats.

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    2. Anonymous09:35

      Thanks

      Delete
    3. Anonymous21:09

      16 in business, 159 in economy.

      Delete
  11. Anonymous09:11

    Fares are quite reasonable.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:43

      Yes, they would be very competitive against JU.

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    2. Anonymous08:42

      Agree, prices are very good.

      Delete
  12. Anonymous09:11

    This was the expected when it became clear Wizz and Ryan cancelled their flights to many cities in November and postponed to December.
    Eilat has long disappeared from the Wizz network as well. I really doubt flights to Israel will be fully operational until March. Plus, if this route will be operated by 3+ carriers, it will become saturated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:12

      It was operated by 3 airlines without issue up until corona.

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    2. Anonymous09:18

      True and Arkia even operated scheduled flights which you could freely book.

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    3. Anonymous09:20

      Because Serbia was the few countries open for travel, hence this boom.

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    4. Anonymous11:27

      It's a bit misleading to say that Serbia was only popular because of corona. Remember that Israeli tourists started arriving some 7-8 years ago and numbers have been stable since. This boom happened because of corona but not demand itself.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous11:56

      It is much easier to accept the fact Serbia has so many direct flights with Isreal if you comfort yourself that it is only becase of pandemic.

      No matter it's wrong.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous13:07

      Well, these are some quite unusual circumstances that enable us to test validity of certain claim.
      In this case, there is a very clear evidence (no. of flights and pax before, during and after the bubble) that support the claim that this temporary pick up is due to the fact that Israelis were free to enter Serbia and were also not made to isolate upon return.

      I mean, this is really self evident and not really something that we should be arguing about, but people in this blog are really super defensive and local patriotic most of the times that they will even support the narrative that it's not that surprising that BEG had 10 flights to Tel Aviv on a single day.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous13:36

      If it weren't for Covid then how come suddenly TLV became the most popular destination for a month? If LY wanted to launch BEG they could have done that a long time ago. They fly to all surrounding capitals for decades now. Which is again, a good thing.
      Time will show how mature this destination will become as time goes by.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous13:38

      Since when have they been flying to Sarajevo, Podgorica Pristina, Skopje?

      Delete
    9. Anonymous15:40

      Of course they don't fly to all surroundig capitals.

      It is easily forgotten here that Arkia and Israir for years have been flying to Belgrade and that many, many months before pandemic they kept increasing their number of flights to BEG.

      Now, seeing it LY just wanted to get some piece of that cake. Logical.

      Was the pandemic also the excuse for Arkia and Israir in 2019 and earlier to keep increasing their frequencies to BEG? Following the logic of some people here, there is no doubt!

      Unbelievable how some people can't accept the fact Serbian capital can be attractive for tourists fom rich countries, but they will simply have to live with it.

      So sorry.

      Delete
    10. Anonymous18:09

      lol ... its quite simple - before in 2019 growth was organic due to normal demand and in 2020 this demand grew due to very well known facts. if you think that its normal to have such a growth in such short period you are simply naive. nobody is saying that Serbian capital cant be attractive but Belgrade as a product didn't change that much since last year to generate such a demand for flights. But on the other hand global travel circumstances did. and if you are right and i am wrong, than after this pandemic, we will see again 8-10 flights a day from israel. but i think this wont be the case.

      Delete
    11. Anonymous19:02

      Last year there were 90.000 passengers between BEG and TLV, it was hardly a tiny market. Corona slightly boosted the numbers which were already there.

      Delete
    12. Anonymous00:31

      15:40 Dude, how old are you?
      Nobody is saying that BEG is not growing as a destination. The subject today is Tel Aviv. Arkia or Israir have flown to BEG but like quite thoroughly and we went from lets say 4-6 weekly flights to 4 or 5 times as much in a couple of months.
      Again, I suggest you look YouTube and realise that Serbia was one of the very few countries open for travel to Europe during the pandemic for many non-EU and especially North American visitors.
      Remember JU success with JFK recently? Well, the reason is the same.
      So, grow up. Covid brought positive stuff for Serbia because of the closure of BUD, EU-US restrictions and so on.

      Delete
    13. Anonymous09:27

      Hhehe, talking about age. Don't. Simply don't. Better for you.

      So, "dude", it is obvious you really have a big problem with El Al flying to BEG at the time when all the other airlines close their destinations especially in your country.

      So, I tried to explain you that they want to have some piece of the cake called BEG at the time when Israir and Arkia only had it for themselves. Nobody is saying that openess Serbia has with other countries does not help but it is for sure not the main reason why El Al decided to fly to BEG.

      After all, all these passengers returning from Serbia need to stay 14 days in quarantine after they return to Israel and they would not surely do it for some city break destination they simply visit as they have no where else to go.

      I am sorry, "dude", but you will have to cure your frustrations about BEG somewhere else.


      Delete
  13. Anonymous09:17

    Don't know if many people are aware but El Al has been considering Belgrade for years. They even publicly stated so in 2017. So it's good that it finally launched. Who would have thought it would happen during the biggest downturn in aviation.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous09:19

    This week it will be 3 flights (they had one yesterday), from next 2 weekly.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous09:19

    Did Arkia use the A321neos to BEG?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:24

      Yes

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:51

      Yep all of their flights were on the neo, plus on some days they had a second daily flight with the Embraer.

      Delete
  16. Anonymous09:29

    Good. Hope they keep flying.

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  17. Anonymous09:33

    Unlike Israir and Arkia, you can actually book flights on El Al.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:49

      You could on Arkia but before covid

      Delete
  18. Anonymous09:34

    Hopefully JU won't be discouraged from the competition and they actually resume TLV.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous09:39

    That was unexpected. Nice to see

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous09:41

    Will JU codeshare on these El Al flights?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:43

      They are not at the moment.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:50

      But El Al codeshares on Air Serbia flight.

      Delete
  21. Anonymous09:43

    Hope they stay after covid too.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:44

      This is probably best indication that they will.

      Delete
  22. Anonymous09:49

    I'm surprised El Al never flew to BEG before.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:52

      There have been problems with the bilateral air agreement for years. When that was resolved in 2017 Israeli airlines started flying to BEG and tourism between the two countries started to take off.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:49

      I believe they flew for a few months in 1991/1992.

      Delete
  23. Anonymous09:51

    Can someone clear up for me is Israir owned by El Al?

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:59

      No, they don't own Israir.

      Delete
  24. Anonymous09:58

    So no more 24 hour downtime at BEG for El Al's B737?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:01

      I took a pic of it last weekend
      https://i.ibb.co/28b1Vqf/20201107-112131.jpg

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:01

      And no, with Thursday, Sunday schedule there is no need for it any more

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    3. Anonymous10:08

      @10.01 nice

      Delete
  25. Anonymous10:02

    Scheduled days are perfect for a short citybreak

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:09

      Only issue you have to go to quarantine when you come back...

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:28

      So the real question is who are they carrying now on these flights? Are there maybe some people who don't mind going into quarantine when they are back in Israel?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous11:30

      I think it is that. There are almost no countries they can go to without quarantine back home. Plus Serbia is one of few that has no entry restrictions.

      Delete
  26. Anonymous10:39

    Nice to see more airlines at BEG.

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  27. Anonymous10:41

    Are any foreign airlines still flying to TLV?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Anonymous10:42

    "Similarly, it was the eighth most frequent route out of Belgrade, behind only Zurich, Podgorica, Tivat, Istanbul, Frankfurt and Paris."

    @EX-YU could you tell us what was the 9th and 10th in October?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tirana was ninth and Skopje and Larnaca were tied at tenth.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:11

      Thank you

      Delete
  29. Anonymous10:43

    This is great to see in these difficult times.

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  30. Anonymous10:46

    Air Serbia should have used this opportunity to get transfer passengers from Tel Aviv to LHR, CDG, AMS, BRU and others reasonable fares.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:56

      +1

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    2. Anonymous11:12

      What is Air Serbia waiting for? Why don't they launch flights?

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    3. Samo treba pročitati dalje od naslova.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous11:29

      I guess JU thought, like their neighbors, that it's too early to react.

      Delete
    5. JATBEGMEL14:46

      JU has been the only carrier in our region to adequately react to anything. We also saw Wizz with their grand expansion announced from BEG, which ended up magically getting delayed for next year. Meanwhile, JU relaunched OSL. There is only so much airlines can do in these times, as we have seen with many route cancellations.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous15:42

      +1 @JATBEGMEL

      Delete
  31. Anonymous10:56

    Good luck with the new flights

    ReplyDelete
  32. Anonymous11:12

    Nice development.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Unexpected money for belgrade tourism. Leaving open borders was good move of our govermant

    ReplyDelete

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