CEO: Air Serbia looking at China, US and Canada


Air Serbia is continuing to look at options to expand its long haul network but its main focus is returning to normality following the market-wide disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Responding to EX-YU Aviation News’ question concerning long haul expansion, Air Serbia’s CEO, Duncan Naysmith, said, “Our biggest focus at this stage is getting back to some sort of normality. At this point in time we fly 28 destinations, while pre-Covid it was 62 destinations. In addition, we are flying over 800 charter flights this summer as well. We continue to look at long haul destinations. We look at China, USA, and Canada as well. At this point in time we are counting on normality, but we always look for opportunities to expand our long haul flights”.

Competition on flights from the region to the United States is on the rise, with United to introduce operations from New York to Dubrovnik this summer, while Bulgarian start-up GullivAir recently received approval to commence operations from Sofia to the States. Commenting on increased competition in the region and the effect it may have on Air Serbia’s New York operations, Mr Naysmith said, “In terms of competition to the region, we welcome it. What you have to bear in mind is that we actually have a regional connectivity network. At this point we fly three times per week to New York and by the end of May we will fly up to four times per week. Our consistency is there, and our product proposition is one of the best in class”.

Mr Naysmith noted that New York has been one of Air Serbia’s most profitable routes in 2020 and 2021. “Despite the pandemic, our transatlantic flight has continued to deliver positive results. We were one of the few airlines that have flown to New York throughout the pandemic. New York in 2020 and 2021 is one of our most profitable routes”, the CEO said. Based on pre-pandemic data, in 2019, China (excluding Hong Kong and Taiwan) was the largest unserved long haul market from Serbia, closely followed by the United States, once the New York operation is excluded, then Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Thailand and Japan.


Comments

  1. Anonymous09:03

    Now is the opportunity to launch additional long haul flights as leasing rates for aircraft are low and airports are willing to reduce their fees.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:45

      Yes but is there enough demand?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:49

      Didn't the Serbian government say how covid is the perfect time to acquire second long haul plane?

      Delete
    3. They said a lot of stuff, don't take it for granted.

      Delete
  2. Anonymous09:04

    It will be either Chicago or Toronto.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:05

      The Balkan Diaspora is huge in Chicago and Toronto. If Air Serbia's prices are 10-20% less than AF, KLM, Lufthansa etc. then it can work. Don’t forget that Cargo is also a factor. So, the potential is there.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:24

      Why would the prices need to be lower than the competition? I'm sure people would be more than happy to pay the same or even a small premium for direct flights.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:26

      Not to mention that the A330 is more comfortable to fly on than OS' B767.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:31

      But its less comfortable than LOT 787, they will fly 6x per week to JFK and 4 times to Newark from Warsaw.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:32

      LOT's service leaves a lot to be desired.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous09:33

      Have you flown on LO? Their planes are really worn out, they charge for alcohol on long-haul flights and the selection of tvs are quite bad. I flew them three times to ORD and never again, no thanks. Also most of our region connects onto their afternoon flights to the US which arrive very late there.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous09:51

      2-4-2 configuration in A330 is always better than 3-3-3 config in dreamliner

      Delete
    8. Who can say that 3-3-3 in B787 (LOT) is more comfortable than 2-4-2 in A330 (AS)? This can state only person who did never fly in 787! Seats in 787 are narrow! Exactly 16.9 inch! Seats in A330 from Air Serbia are 18 inch! This is 1.1 inch wider than LOT! This is huge diference!

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:05

    PEK/PVG seems to make more sense than another North American destination.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:06

      Not while China is closed without any signs of reopening soon.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:08

      True @anon 9.05. Data shows Shanghai as having the most passengers of any longhaul market from BEG, even more than USA to my surprise.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:09

      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2021/02/china-becomes-belgrades-top-unserved.html

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:14

      If they had used the opportunity this summer, it would only make sense to launch a new route to the US which is open and seems to be recovering at a record pace. The other main markets are closed. Canada is a disaster at the moment and also has entry band and quarantine rules.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous10:28

      Well it's easy now to say that they should have launched it in summer but back then the situation was very difficult and JU was rebuilding its network which was destroyed in April and May.

      Btw does anyone know when the C extension at BEG will be opened for use? That will be so much better for JFK since they have the adequate facilities over there.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous11:55

      I think I read somewhere that C area should open in September.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous09:06

    What we can conclude from his statement is that there are no immediate plans to introduce second long haul route.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:25

      I'm getting the same feeling. He says they are looking at it but that their focus now is on rebuilding their existing network.

      Delete
  5. Anonymous09:10

    The issue here is the regional network and to what will all these flights connect to? O&D is not enough to make these flights reality. It might be ok in summer when there is more movement but what will happen in winter when there is considerably less p2p?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous09:10

    It will be interesting too se how things will develop for them in the future. Long haul market could also influence its inter-European network.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous09:11

    I doubt that new long haul destinations will be launched any time soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:12

      Maybe next summer.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:52

      If Air Serbia is not planning any other long haul routes then they really have to start thinking about next winter and how to utilise that aircraft.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:53

      They could fly JFK 3 times per week and add another destination, say Toronto 3 times per week with a single wide body aircraft.

      Delete
  8. Anonymous09:11

    Start with 2x-3x weekly services if not confident about demand. Can be mixed with 2x-3x weekly ORD service so both YYZ and ORD can be flown by a second A330.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous09:12

    Fantastic! This can be a first step of a beautiful journey!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous09:13

    Can't wait for YYZ-BEG...2-3 times per week it would be great for everyone!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would fly 3-4 times a year for sure

      Delete
    2. Anonymous03:32

      Been waiting for YYZ for years! ILL TAKE ANY FLIGHTS

      Delete
  11. Anonymous09:14

    With OS long-haul fleet shrinking now it's the time to strike. I think so far two B767 have left the OS fleet, OE-LAX about a week ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:16

      It's a shame JU is not as responsive on the long haul market as it is responsive on the regional market.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:46

      Long haul operations entail much more risk than intra-continental. Even medium haul is so risky that JU did not dare to replace EY on AUH route, even despite partnership and now W6 stepped in. Hiring another widebody, extra maintenance, extra crew, long haul requires a lot on the side. Aircraft leasing is cheap - yes, but its not the only argument you need to expand to more long haul. Nowadays connectivity is prettuy limited. Besides JFT, JU is today serving only nine destinations, and tomorrow - only five! Thats less than 20 years ago! Yo do not start more long haul in such circumstances.

      Delete
  12. Anonymous09:15

    They could have leased a second A330 and launched flights to Chicago plus one off charters to places like Zanzibar, Maldives, Seychelles in cooperation with tour operators, which are now in high demand. Use the plane to do the cargo flights to China as well and eventually as the world opens up launch new flights to China and Canada.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:18

      +1

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:27

      I remember when Kondic said these routes would not be profitable for them...I still do not understand why it is so if travel agencies pay in advance for all the seats on that plane - the same as for charters to Turkey, Egypt, Spain etc.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:53

      Winter long haul charters sounds interesting. But the price will be over the top, if as comparison we use summer short haul charters. I thinks for east Asia there is better offer and lower prices from regular airlines, but for Cuba and Caribbean it would be interesting to see if there is enough demand.

      Never-the-less it's always better to have options so that people can choose what to use - charters or regular airlines.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous17:35

      I dont understand why the price of long haul charters would be so much bigger than the regular flights to the same destination?

      Delete
  13. Anonymous09:16

    Love that pic

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous09:19

    I know this probably will never happen, but opening up Belgrade - Perth route would be a milestone not just for Air Serbia but for aviation in general. It would be the first airline to connect Europe nonstop with Australia, which would be great marketing tool itself. If I am not mistaken A330-200 should be able to do this leg.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:20

      Impossible on many levels.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:22

      I don't think the a330-200 can cover that

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:26

      A330-200 reaching Perth haha

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:33

      The A330 cannot reach PER from BEG, it is short of range for some 1,000 nm.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous10:32

      @Anon 9:19, you'd maybe want to check about QF9 and QF10. Check this out and notice the title and the upload date:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6JL4LilPYI&ab_channel=Qantas

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:49

      "It would be the first airline to connect Europe nonstop with Australia"

      Apart from, you know, QF started flying LHR-PER non-stop in 2018.

      A330-200 has no way of reaching PER from BEG non-stop. BEG-PER is about 12,850km. Assuming no winds, max payload at that range would be only around 23 tons. Standard passenger mass is 84kg + say about 20kg of luggage = 104kg/pax, which means they could only take 220 pax and no cargo.

      That doesn't sound that bad, but that's with zero wind and direct routing, which is not realistic. If you take standard western circulation into account, it's fairly obvious there would probably be a fuel stop required somewhere on the way back on most days (if the aircraft was somewhat full, which is kind of the point), most likely in AUH.

      QF can only make LHR-PER work due to enormous market on the route (former colony), 787's fuel consumption and reduced seating capacity.

      Delete
  15. Anonymous09:19

    "Based on pre-pandemic data, in 2019, China (excluding Hong Kong and Taiwan) was the largest unserved long haul market from Serbia, closely followed by the United States, once the New York operation is excluded, then Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Thailand and Japan."

    wow I'm surprised Hong Kong on its own is so high up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:30

      Lot of people are traveling via Hong Kong to China, but not using connected flights or event not using airplane if they go to Guangzhou/Shenzhen region.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:33

      Interesting

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:49

      It says "excluding Hong Kong" meaning that other cities like Shanghai or Beijing had the biggest number of passengers with no direct air connection and not Hong Kong.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous11:25

      @ Anon 9.49 - Nobody said that Hong Kong is the biggest but it is among top 5 or something.
      Read carefully, after China (without HK) & NY there are Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Thailand and Japan.

      Delete
  16. Anonymous09:26

    There is at least 300,000 ex-yugos living in greater Toronto and Chicago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:33

      Well if an airline like Air Transat starts Toronto next summer then Air Serbia has no chance.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:34

      Let's see if Air Transat is around by then.

      Delete
    3. I can't even believe people are comparing AirTransat with AirSerbia . Such a budget airline with old aircrafts where you have to pay for luggage and high fees for everything. Also food and drinks are terrible . They have not operated flights for almost 15 moths and you can only imagine what that has done for their wide body fleet.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous14:18

      Wouldn't say they are budget airline and that they have old fleet but I'll take some of your points. Btw A310 is gone. Going forward the fleet will be a330 and a320/321xlr with a handfull of 737-800s for winter Caribbean flying. Wouldn't say that is an old fleet...

      Delete
  17. Anonymous09:34

    JU 500 has been the region's most stable long-haul flight. Congrats to JU.

    ReplyDelete
  18. JU CEO statement confirms what I speak loud for long time, and uhljebs spit on me because of it : smaller airlines can operate long-haul with profitability. And, Croatia Airlines should have started doing what JU is doing at least decade ago, or earlier, growing, building regional network, using its domestic services and tourist market as additional feeding potential, and building long-haul network with 5,6 or even more destinations in North America and Asia. Unfortunately, they just represent another sad story of missed opportunities, so common for Croatia in general. And my congratulations to JU, when they started recently, I didn't expect such success. Bravo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:45

      I agree, especially because there is a lot of potential for OU long haul, especially in summer.

      Delete
    2. Balkan boy16:35

      Poz from Riki is tireless. I just wish he would tell us what he really thinks about OU and long haul fights. Maybe some day. ;-)

      Delete
    3. C'mon Rijeka guy, open up a bit, tell us all how you really feel about OU!!

      Delete
    4. Anonymous19:06

      Someday I hope he does.

      Delete
  19. Anonymous09:44

    It's nice to see JFK has been profitable for them, despite one some people say here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:09

      People forget that it takes time for a route to mature.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous22:24

      Now seriously, you'd believe if JU told Santa Claus is real?

      How - particularly, in these times - can that flight/route if you include all additional costs for the plane, additional staff, maintenance etc. be profitable, also taking into account that a lot of feeders are not operating. Wake up

      Delete
    3. Anonymous22:27

      Many reasons, starting from their plane lease being significantly lower, them renegotiating fees at JFK, higher ticket prices, high load factor. Just because you hate an airline or country does not mean it's not true.

      Delete
    4. Maybe it's not hate. Maybe he is just brainwashed. With LH mantra that small companies cannot operate long-haul profitably. Mantra invented to keep slave feeder companies in slave position.

      Delete
  20. Anonymous09:46

    Good luck JU. I think the most realistic new long haul route will be Toronto but who knows. We will see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:51

      Why? It is not the largest long haul market and at this point Canada is closed off from the world.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:09

      Chicago

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:22

      ORD is further away so it would not fit easily into departure waves.

      Delete
  21. Since Croatia has no longer direct flights to South Korea, then JU may consider ICN as a new destination and then tourists would be connecting through BEG and catch a flight to DBV/ZAG/RJK then.
    When it comes to China/Canada/US, I’d see flights to PVG/ORD/YYZ which wouldn’t be that bad though for a small country as Serbia.
    + adding two A330-200 of course or maybe a third one if necessary ( summer charter flights to BKK/ZNZ/MLE )

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous10:09

    So what's the next long haul route we can expect and when?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We can expect all of them lol, and when ? Idk maybe summer 2022 ? Launching the most "important" ones first : either ORD or YYZ and PVG, and then ICN if it gets concrete

      Delete
  23. Anonymous10:10

    Good luck JU! Hope they spread their wings more

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anonymous10:29

    Ne bih baš za ozbiljno uzimao ovu izjavu gen. direktora. Siguran sam da ne bi otkrio kada planiraju dovođenje drugog A330 i pokretanje novih ruta pa da konkurencija ima vremena da reaguje. Uvode noćni let za Sofiju ponedeljkom,verovatno odgovor na najavu da kreću letovi iz SOF za JFK.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous10:46

    Any new long haul route requires significant investment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:46

      Not as significant as the first. You already have crew and pilots trained, experience in dealing with these flights and passengers, a sales network in the US if they want to launch a new routes in the US and so on.

      Delete
  26. Anonymous10:50

    Why not consider long haul leisure charters. Easy cash for the airline.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:51

      They did but Kondic said it was unprofitable.
      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2017/04/air-serbia-mulls-future-of-aviolet.html

      Delete
  27. Anonymous10:54

    long haul jatovanje

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:57

      There's no jatovanje here. They actually took the step and established long-haul flights.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:03

      Establishing longhaul flights is easy. Making money from them is another story.

      Yet to see JU turn profit* since they've started JFK...

      Delete
    3. Anonymous11:58

      Anon 11.03 you might want to read the text once again. JFK was profitable in 2020 and still is in 2021.

      Delete
  28. Anonymous11:20

    Actually GullivAir have quite ambitious plans. They already have 3 A332 and 3 ATR76 and plan to fly to JFK, YYZ and DEL and to have a feeder network CLJ, TIA, SKP, OTP, VAR, BOJ, ROU

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:57

      They have recently shared on their IG page, that the new destinations are to be launched very soon. LZ-ONE and LZ-AWZ still operate flights to MLE and LRM/PUJ since last January. The ATRs have been recently fully painted.

      https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=287842639626941&id=111674363910437

      What is interesting here is that both JU and G2 are heading the same way - both have similar fleets and both looking into Canada and US. The only difference is that G2 is looking into India while JU is logically looking into China.
      G2 is looking to restore more domestic airports such as ROU and BOJ while JU is still focusing in INI.

      Delete
    2. And OU, with the most favourable geographical position for transfers, higher living standard, uncomparably bigger tourist flow, and bigger or at least equal ethnic traffic, stays in deep sleep, doing nothing, in accordance with their famous "it's too early" moto. Bravo uhljebi, svaka vam cast!!!

      Delete
    3. Anonymous13:54

      OU flies long-haul spiritually through Mutti. lol
      Meanwhile Mutti added more flights to ZAG matching OU again. Congrats.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous16:42

      @pozz, do you really think OU had a chance with long haul?

      Delete
    5. OU in this form, with political influence, incompetent management, indifferent uhljebs, regional network not big enough, corruption and nepotism, double administration staff than needed, NO, never. OU clean of corruption, clean of uhljebs, clean of excessive workforce, with bigger regional network and with professional management, YES, absolutely

      Delete
    6. Balkan baby21:54

      So no, never.

      Delete
  29. Mr Naysmith said that New York is one of the most profitable routes for 2020 /2021. Actually Mr Naysmith I need to see some proof for that, specifically official numbers, not just words!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous18:48

      No airline will ever show you the financial break down of any route.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous22:29

      Naysmith should first explain what he understands by the term "profitable". I predict he might mean less loss making than expected in these circumstances.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous22:31

      Oh no, we should all believe you instead. I'm sure you were one of those saying 5 years ago that the route would never launch or never last.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous07:27

      Sure, dream on. If you think so.

      Delete
  30. Direct flights to China are a must!
    Chinese tourists only are enough to build Serbias tourism.
    Its a mystery to me why we still dont have them...

    ReplyDelete
  31. Anonymous15:09

    Mr. CEO has not spoken out for years, the other day he made a comment about ARB entering service and now he got the courage to yet make make another comment but to in a way say nothing. Brilliant, very British! ...osladilo mu se da prica!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous16:48

      Very Serbian of you to assume. Maybe he made these comments at the press conference when ARB was entering service

      Delete
  32. Anonymous16:28

    Message seems to be once travel recovers to normal they will be launching more long haul.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous17:20

      +1

      Delete
    2. Anonymous18:47

      I think we would have seen new long haul routes this year had there not been covid since they had been building up a respectable European network.

      Delete
  33. Anonymous16:51

    People - let's face it. Market conditions are simply not making the necessary cut to start a new long service now.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous17:14

    Really hope to see Air Serbia add second wide body and start more long haul flights.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Anonymous17:20

    I think having New York and Beijing is a good start. Maybe eventually add in a couple weekly flights to Toronto and possibly Chicago and that is more than respectable for a Balkan airline.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous17:35

      Those are the most likely to succeed, and possibly Shanghai.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous23:23

      Later on they can follow LOTs long haul strategy.
      So we should see:
      LAX
      SFO
      IAD
      MEX
      HAV
      JNB
      DUB
      IKA
      DEL
      MOM
      ICN
      NRT
      SIN
      BKK

      Just for starters ��

      Delete
    3. Anonymous01:53

      You forgot ADD.

      Delete
  36. Anonymous18:47

    wow they had 62 destinations. Hope all of them will be restored sooner or later.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Anonymous22:04

    I think its better not losing your employees by lowering their sallarie to minimum wages... Thats just ridiculous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous23:05

      What you talkin' bout Jack?

      Delete
  38. It's impossible to compete with LOT Polish Airlines prices. Not bad service at all with full internment available. 2 free meals and drink available (exclude alcohol) and fast connectivity. Air Serbia will struggle to fill the planes with any new connection to Canada and USA as most Serbian community lives in NY and around.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous17:28

      This is so false. The biggest Serbian community outside Belgrade lives in Chicago. You are obviously not Serbian.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous17:42

      also FYI at Air Serbia you also have entertainment in all seats, two meals and wifi.

      Delete

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