Long haul leisure charters present opportunity for Air Serbia


Air Serbia has seen its charter operations exceed pre-pandemic levels this year, with the airline operating over 1.000 leisure flights as Serbian holidaymakers head to Egypt, Turkey, Greece and Tunisia. This year’s demand for charters has seen the airline run up to eight daily rotations to places such as Hurghada and Antalya. However, interest in far-away destinations has also been growing with tour operators significantly diversifying their travel packages over the past five years to offer holidays to Thailand, Bali, the Seychelles and India prior to the pandemic. Since Covid-19, demand has surged for places such as Zanzibar, the Maldives and Mexico where there are few travel restrictions in place.

In 2016 Air Serbia considered introducing long haul leisure flights in order to better utilise its sole Airbus A330-200 aircraft over the winter months when it maintains fewer frequencies on its scheduled New York service. This August, the carrier’s A330-200 has operated a total of 44 scheduled movements, while the figure will stand at just sixteen in November. The National Association of Travel Agencies of Serbia (YUTA) told EX-YU Aviation News that the Serbian carrier was exploring long haul charters, in partnership with YUTA, several years ago. “Keeping in mind that YUTA is one of Air Serbia's biggest partners in charter travel through our members, Air Serbia suggested a meeting with tour operators where we would discuss possible charters to far-off destinations. At the time, tour operators were interested in long haul charter flights to Thailand and Cuba during the winter months, as there is sufficient demand for those markets. The realisation of these charters was to be carried out during the winter season”, YUTA said. Ultimately, the idea never came to fruition.

Air Serbia said at the time that the figures didn’t add up. “There are very few destinations where you can fly the A330 that are going to be appealing to tour operators. Serbia is a price sensitive market and when we gauged interest for charters to Thailand - which is further to fly to than New York - the economics required to make it breakeven were too large. Another option we considered was the Caribbean, but that also can't be sustained from a market such as Serbia”, the national carrier previously told EX-YU Aviation News. Several years later, data indicates that there is a sufficient number of passengers originating from Belgrade to potential leisure hotspots. The Serbian government has inked a number of Air Service Agreements and Memorandums over the past few years with countries which could be of interest for potential long haul charter operations including the Dominican Republic and Sri Lanka. These agreements set the legal framework for air operations between the two sides.

Two-way indirect traffic between Belgrade and select destinations in 2019




Comments

  1. Anonymous07:05

    Smart way to get quick and clean cash through charters. Better than sit at the airport for four days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous15:54

      Yes, touroperators are idiots that take all the risk on themselves but leave a lot of the profit for the charter airline. Simply open a charter airline.

      Delete
  2. Anonymous07:06

    If they start Beijing in January then there would be no place for charters but it is something they should have done before Covid.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous07:07

    Must say I'm surprised by the demand to Thailand, especially considering this is all being generated by passengers from Serbia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous07:14

      I'm surprised by the demand for most of the places listed.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous07:23

      Many Serbian citizens were stranded in Bali and Thailand when Covid hit.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous07:46

      Yes, there were tour groups there at the time.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous08:41

      Some people were stuck in Bali for months!

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:03

      Good place to get stuck.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous14:59

      If you have money to keep you going for 5 months :)

      Delete
  4. Anonymous07:09

    The financial risk for the airline on such flights is generally low as tour operators buy all the seats. Even if the aircraft is half full the airline gets the same money as if the entire flight was sold out. There is much more risk on the actual tour operators.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous07:12

      They don't always buy all the seats, it all depends on what kind of a deal they make.

      Delete
  5. Anonymous07:09

    Would be cool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous07:14

      Would be cool to see Air Serbia in Havana, Bangkok or Phuket :)

      Delete
    2. Anonymous08:41

      Or Male, Seychelles...

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:01

      +1

      Delete
  6. Anonymous07:10

    It took them 5 years to realize they can send the A330 to other destinations and not just New York so this year they are finally using it on occasion to Moscow and Podgorica. It will probably take them another 5 years to realize that they can use the bird on log haul charters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous07:13

      Well they did say they will fly Dubai charters this winter. I wonder if it will be on the A330.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous07:47

      Doubt they will send the A330 to DXB.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous12:35

      It's going to be most likely 319

      Delete
  7. Anonymous07:12

    Something like this requires some planning to give time for the tour operators to prepare the product and enable the people to purchase in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous07:13

    "This August, the carrier’s A330-200 has operated a total of 44 scheduled movements, while the figure will stand at just sixteen in November."

    This is really poor utilization in winter. Just 16 days in use.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous07:16

      It's been like this for years. They obviously think it's cheaper for it to be sitting on the tarmac than in the air.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous07:21

      Is it?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous07:26

      They obviously did some calculation. I doubt they keep it on the ground to loose money on purpose.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous18:48

      Why you don't count hours in the air? You cannot take 400km and 8000 km distance as a same...

      Delete
  9. Anonymous07:16

    In these instances, what do you do with business class? Do you also sell it, just at a higher rate or only economy is used?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous07:18

      You sell it at a higher rate. It makes sense for long haul charters. Of course, not for short haul and more price-sensitive holiday destinations.

      Delete
  10. Anonymous07:17

    LOT uses its B787 to operate winter charters to various places. Last winter they flew to the Caribbean which were all opened for tourists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous07:25

      Yes but the size of the Polish market is incomparable to the Serbian one.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous07:42

      LOT also uses 787 on shorther charters like places in Greece.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous07:44

      787 is more economical than A330.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous07:48

      LOT also puts any available seats not used by tour operators on free sale.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous08:22

      This summer LO upgraded its WAW-ATH flights to B788!

      Delete
    6. Anonymous08:27

      Smart

      Delete
    7. Anonymous13:15

      "787 is more economical than A330."

      DOC maybe, but add the cost of ownership and the larger pax capacity of the A332 vs 788 and it swings wildly in A332s favour.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous14:37

      The difference is marginal even when it comes to fuel consumption.

      Delete
  11. Anonymous07:18

    This would be smart

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous07:28

      Also think this is a much smarter option than the plane sitting in Belgrade.

      Delete
  12. Anonymous07:19

    I love that YUTA still uses the Yugoslav abbreviation of its name :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous07:23

      Yugoslav Travel Association

      Delete
    2. Anonymous07:26

      I think it's pretty cool, no need to pretend like YU never existed

      Delete
    3. Anonymous08:18

      Exactly, that's one cool thing about Serbia, there was no manic obsession to remove any traces of Yugoslavia like YUTA and so on.

      Delete
    4. It makes sense as Serbia considers itself as a successor in title of Jugoslavija.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous13:19

      Sloavio@11:40 - friend, you are sadly mistaken if you think that is something to be proud of ....

      Delete
    6. From my post there is no way you could figure out my opinion about Jugoslavija. It is just a fact without any intimate perspective on it.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous18:09

      ^ 13:19 Without Yugoslavia Dalmatia would be part of Italy today and Slovenia would be Lower Austria .
      You may not be proud of it but in historic perspective Yugoslavia was a game changer for the whole region .

      Delete
  13. Anonymous07:22

    So they last considered this idea in 2016/17 and never again? Things change, markets change. I think they should have really considered this option again.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous07:22

    Not viable during Covid era. You can't even enter places like Thailand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous07:25

      That's not true. Thailand's tourist destinations have reopened for vaccinated travelers and they accept all vaccines. You just can't move around cities within two weeks of arrival but short tours are allowed.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous07:42

      Interesting

      Delete
    3. Anonymous07:43

      That's why all the middle eastern airline have resumes dlights to places like Phuket.

      Delete
    4. You can only enter Thailand through Phuket right now (i checked this 2-3 weeks ago) and you gotta stay 2 weeks in Phuket before heading around.

      Delete
  15. Anonymous07:27

    One of several missed opportunities in terms of long haul expansion.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous07:40

    Coulda woulda shoulda

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous07:41

    They could have operayed a few charters to Thailand and a couple to Bali or the Maldives based on these figures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous07:43

      *operated

      Delete
    2. Anonymous15:51

      So you organise 8 flights per year and you think that all people who fly in a given year to a specific destination will adjust their schedule to those flights? I leave aside other aspects.

      Delete
  18. Anonymous07:45

    For starters they could have used the A330 to Hurghada rather then sending 8 A319s at the same time which could have been used elsewhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous07:49

      I heard they were considering this but in the end didn't go for it.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous07:52

      Why?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous07:54

      Don't know. That's just what I heard. They were thinking about it back in June.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous07:58

      Maybe it's just too expensive to operate the A330 on shorter routes.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous08:02

      And Podgorica isn't a short route?

      Delete
    6. Anonymous12:38

      3.5hr + flying time isn't really considered short haul. Like the poster above said, Podgorica turn was financially viable I guess?

      Delete
    7. Anonymous07:39

      I think proportionally tickets to TGD are higher than they are to Egypt, especially when you factor in flight duration and so on. Also on TGD rotation you can use the same crew that did another European flight that morning, to Egypt you really can't.

      Delete
  19. Anonymous07:50

    It's good to see there is a tradition of holidaying abroad and demand for outbound travel.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous08:03

    Would be a great option for tourists and avoid the hassle and need to transfer.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous08:12

    Wouldn't the tour packages be more expensive because it would be a nonstop flight?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:16

      No, doesn't work that way for charters.

      Delete
  22. Anonymous08:17

    Not gonna happen, it's too adventurous for JU. It's exactly because of these numbers that airlines like FZ, QR and TK do well in BEG.

    Hopefully with the second daily FZ flight connections to Zanzibar will be better. Right now there is a long connection of some 5 hours in one direction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous08:18

      Precisely, too adventurous for JU.

      Not sure if anyone noticed, FZ quietly moved its departure from BEG by two hours.

      Delete
  23. Anonymous08:17

    Re long haul charters I agree that there is no market.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous08:19

      Judging by the numbers, there is a market.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous08:22

      Since the demand for schedule flying during winter drops off dramatically everywhere (meaning that aircraft time is available), don't you think they would already be doing more charters if there was the demand from tour operators ?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous08:24

      Tour operators don't even know this option exists. I can bet you most don't even know JU has an aircraft capable of reaching far away destinations or that its utilization is low in winter. Don't you see that JU contacted YUTA.

      Delete
  24. Anonymous08:26

    Tend to agree with JU on this one. The home market is a quite limiting factors for the airline's development and especially use of wide-body aircraft during slow months.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous08:28

    Wish this happened

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous08:29

    Imagine seeing Havana on the departure screen at BEG. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous08:31

      There was actually talk of Havana charters almost 10 years ago.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous08:31

      "Serbian tour operators have joined forces in order for direct charter flights to begin between the Serbian and Cuban capitals. The flights could begin as early as May this year and would be operated on a seasonal summer basis. The entire project is being headed by the Cuban Embassy in Belgrade and Kontiki Travel, Serbia‘s largest tour operator."

      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2010/02/belgrade-havana.html

      Delete
    3. Anonymous08:33

      Wow

      Delete
    4. Anonymous08:35

      And in the end nothing happened...

      Delete
  27. Anonymous08:40

    Shame government killed charter airline Aviogenex in order not to compete against JU. There were very serious investors from UAE that wanted to turn the company completely around in 2013. But it was too much of a risk to JU.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous08:43

      +100

      Delete
    2. Shame some people killed Yugoslavia. Aviogenex was about to sign contract with Boeing to acquire brand new B767's and expand charters to the US first, and then elsewhere, Havana probably and very likely. Yugoslavia was big market and rich country, at least compared to what we are today, all over ex-yu. And btw. ex JAT, real JAT, operated charters on B707 Milano to Havana for Italian tour operators. It operated Tahiti charter from Frankfurt via LAX on DC-10 for German tour operator. And so on and so on.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous11:38

      Pozdrav, I understand you but it's 2021 and not 1981. Time to move on, dear. Pusti pusti modu.

      Delete
    4. Hahahha i like this part “ Yugoslavia was big market and rich country”. It was a big country, maybe the country was rich, but people were far from being rich - average salary in 1991 in Slovenia was something like 75€. 75€!!!

      Delete
    5. Anonymous12:01

      This is nonsense.

      Average salary in Belgrade was 1000 DEM (500 EUR) in 1990 and in Slovenia the salaries were much higher.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous13:36

      @Pozdrav iz Rijeka +1000

      The economy of some of the former YU states is only now catching up to the standard back in the 80s - which is why the possibility of such flights are now starting to materialize.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous14:01

      It was more than obvious, that northern Yugoslavia was way richer compared to the south especially Macedonia and Southern Serbia. I still think it was a huge mistake to destroy the Jat brand. And also agree with Sloavio that the country was okay but far from being rich. The richest socialist state remained Ukraine. It had one of the most powerful economies in Europe. It manufactured powerful Soviet jets. Had a powerful IT sector and developed agriculture system, etc.

      Delete
    8. “ Povprečna plača leta 1991 je po podatkih Statističnega urada znašala 43 evrov, lani pa 1.209 evrov. V začetku letošnjega leta se je dvignila na 1.278 evrov.”

      I was generous. It was 43€.

      https://siol.net/posel-danes/novice/kaj-smo-za-povprecno-placo-dobili-leta-1991-in-kaj-dobimo-danes-554891

      Delete
    9. Anonymous15:29

      Guys let's get back to aviation.

      Delete
    10. Anonymous16:44

      Ali da vidimo prvo koliko smo zarađivali 1990.? Statistika kaže je u Bosni i Hercegovini prosječna plata bila 483 DM. U privredi 453, a u vanprivredi (finasije, uprava, industrija nafte, banke i osiguranja) 646,4 DM.

      https://www.media.ba/bs/mediametar/jugoslavija-privid-i-statistika

      U Jugoslaviji su se 1990. godine održali prvi višestranački izbori i tokom cele te godine vlast je kao jedan od izbornih aduta forsirala plate", kaže Mirosinka Dinkić, "pa je prosek plata za tu godinu iznosio 557 nemačkih maraka po tržišnom kursu. Najveće plate su zabeležene u decembru te godine – 754 nemačkih maraka

      https://www.vreme.com/arhiva_html/507/02.html

      Znaci ako je u Bosni bilo 483 DM a u Jugoslaviji 754 DM, u Sloveniji je bilo minimum 1000 DM.

      Delete
    11. @Sloavio
      If Yugoslavia was that bad, I wonder what are you doing on ex-yu blog? The salary you talk about was post YU, during war time in Slovenia and Croatia. So please don't twist the facts. Average salary during Ante Markovic era was over 2000 DEM. Plus, you forget one much more important fact : For that money you could have afford double more goods and services than today, even in richest ex-yu republic you come from. Comparing to Eastern Europe, which is today way ahead of most of the ex-yu, we were Eldorado. And last but by no means least, my post was about AIRLINE of ex-yu, which could have no way been such if coming from country with salary of 75 DEM. Cheers!

      Delete
    12. And just btw : If Yugoslavia remained as a whole (with changed internal form or confederal arrangement) Adria and Aviogenex would have still be alive, and not only alive but successful. Sorry you can't comprehend that.

      Delete
    13. Anonymous20:08

      @Sloavio

      Average monthly salary in Yugoslavia was ~600 DEM during Ante Marković period (1990-91).

      Slovenia has the highest standard of living in YU, so slovenian salaries were bigger than yu average. I don't know exact figure, but average slovenian salary was 20-25% higher than yu average.

      Delete
  28. Anonymous08:43

    Air Seychelles should do BEG charters. They are EY owned anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous08:44

      They are on the brink of collapse.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous15:01

      Like all Etihad companies. Also they have agreed for Etihad to completely exit Air Seychlles.

      Delete
  29. Anonymous09:07

    Why was today's article released early today? Just curious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bit of a scheduling mishap

      Delete
    2. Anonymous15:05

      Thanks

      Delete
    3. Anonymous18:17

      I liked that it was released earlier !

      Delete
    4. Anonymous06:04

      I would love it to be released at noon CET.

      Delete
  30. Anonymous09:58

    Ako sef (mislim da znate na koga mislim) kaze ima da se leti bilo gde! )

    ReplyDelete
  31. Anonymous10:23

    I see that there is strong advertising by tour operators for Egypt and Dubai and this will work for sure. I'm also sure that Q3 will have excellent performance, but not sure for Q4 and onwards. Hope that management has strategy for Q4 including back up plans.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:55

      What kind of strategy are you dreaming about? You can observe their strategy skills by decommissioning the B733 with remaining flying resources and wet leasing 2 Check aircrafts instead (most expensive typo of lease, especially in summer months). Second example of strategy planning as we read yesterday is that they didn't negotiate lounge access for business passengers at all airports where they fly. And so on and so on ....

      Delete
    2. Anonymous21:15

      Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn:

      https://www.iata.org/en/services/consulting/airlines/strategic-planning/

      Delete
  32. Anonymous10:39

    The Bulgarians from GullivAir are doing pretty well with long-haul charters during winter. They offer such services from SOF and OTP towards Punta Cana and Male. As far as I read few days ago they carried over 17K Bulgarians to Male in the past winter season.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:32

      They carried Romanians from OTP as well. It seems that this winter it will be the same. Maldives and Punta Cana were very good choices.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous15:05

      True.

      Why JU limits itself to Serbian tour operators?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous19:52

      Well, if Serbia joins Europe one day, it will be able to fly and operate freely within any point and no restrictions. Look at Romania's Blue Air - they operate domestic flights in Italy or easyJet Europe with an Austrian registration. Even Ryanair uses Polish and Maltese registrations.

      Delete
  33. Anonymous13:09

    What about Morocco ? It seems to be a popular by Serbian tourists. Of course, VOA is a MUST.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Looks like AS will be adding planes to their fleet next year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous14:07

      Idk but having 3 different aircraft manufacturers for a small company with 20 planes is crazy. Not to mention how expensive this is.
      Airbus, ATR and now Boeing 737.....

      Delete
    2. Anonymous15:13

      Maintenance for the Boeings is not the responsibility of Air Serbia. They are wet leased for a few more weeks/months. So they are really not part of the AS fleet.

      Delete
  35. Anonymous15:20

    Anyone know the annual demand between BEG and Miami? I know it's not a standard tour operator destination, but we have very little restrictions here at the moment (even though the Delta variant is running rampant.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous17:49

      Miami should be a scheduled destination.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous17:59

      Miami is not in the top 10 unserved destinations from Belgrade in 2019. There is at least 3 times more demand to Chicago or Toronto yet Air Serbia is not interested in starting them, so you can imagine how eager they are to start Miami.

      Delete
  36. Anonymous16:47

    Air Serbia will do anything not to start Toronto or Chicago: fly to Dubai where they can't beat competition, fly long distance charters where they can't beat QR or TK, fly to China, wet lease or expand narrow body jet fleet, replace ATR with SSJ... anything but obvious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous07:43

      Because people in Toronto would witch to LH Group carriers if the fare was $5 cheaper. JU is mindful of that and that is why they are going where the money is.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous13:17

      JFK-BEG non-stop with Air Serbia is already hundreds of $$$ more expensive than via LH Group one-stop option yet "people in New York" didn't switch to LH Group carriers. Unless you have a proof "people in Toronto" treat their money differently than "people in New York" you are very wrong about your assumption.

      Delete
  37. Anonymous17:59

    Serbians do need visa for Thailand !
    And although Mexicans dont need visum for Serbia, Serbians do for Mexico .
    Sometimes ago on this blog was an article about possible flights between Bahrain and Serbia .
    Well Serbians need visum for Bahrain, Bahrainis not !
    As long as visa requirements for Serbian citizens are not solved :
    Forget it !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous18:17

      Visa for Thailand is very easy to get, as is for Mexico. You don't need one for Mexico if you have a US visa. Visa for Bahrain is e-visa. You complete it online.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous18:22

      For Mexico you need US visa ...
      You never learn out on this blog.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous18:30

      I said that if you have a valid US visa, you don't need one to enter Mexico.

      Delete
  38. Anonymous19:29

    How about Toronto?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous22:58

      Air Serbia is not interested. Air Canada is the only hope for Belgrade-Toronto.

      Delete

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