Air Serbia eyes regional and Central European expansion


Air Serbia plans to continue developing its hub and spoke model, linking the region with the rest of Europe, and will put a greater emphasis on Central Europe as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking to “Business Traveller”, Air Serbia’s General Manager for Commercial and Strategy, Jiri Marek, said, “We would like to fully return to 2019 levels, and, in this respect, we are on the right track. We will then pursue the multilateral development strategy that we planned before the pandemic, complementing it with elements of our crisis management that has proved successful. We are definitely considering greater presence in Central Europe, so we have already restored flights to Prague. Prior to the pandemic, we announced Lviv as a new destination in our network. We are carefully looking at potential routes in Bulgaria and Romania. Prior to Covid-19, Chisinau was also considered, so we will continue this regional development”, Mr Marek said. He added, “As for Poland, we would most likely be interested in launching our own service from Belgrade to one of the airports in the south of the country, perhaps to Krakow”.

Mr Marek noted that Slovenia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania remain key regional markets for the Serbian carrier. “These are markets in which we were strongly positioned prior to the pandemic. In Slovenia, we were present even before the collapse of Adria Airways and were able to quickly respond to its demise and increase our operations from Ljubljana. North Macedonia and Montenegro are also important to us. There is a nice combination of strong demand for travel to Belgrade, as well as transit traffic in these markets. It is the perfect combination for any airline, all you need to do is meet this demand with the right number of frequencies - which is what we are doing, increasing our number of flights to Skopje and Podgorica”. Mr Marek added, “Slovenia is a bit different in this respect, point to point traffic is more important here. Tirana is also worth mentioning. We currently fly there eleven times per week, and we have plans to further develop this route. We always wanted to be a regional leader and expand throughout, so even before the pandemic, we announced the opening of six new routes and will continue to focus on further growing in Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine and developing the region's markets, offering convenient connections with the rest of Europe through Belgrade”.

Air Serbia believes the ongoing expansion of Belgrade Airport will enable it to further grow its operations and develop its hub and spoke model. “We want to position ourselves as the leading regional airline in this part of Europe and we believe that so far, we have been successful in this respect. We would like to continue doing so in the future. Currently, Belgrade Airport is undergoing a massive infrastructure upgrade, and we will most likely see the first results of this process in October, so it's not an easy period. On the one hand, the market continues to react very quickly to the increased and still growing demand, while on the other, the airport is modernising its infrastructure, which may cause some difficulties for passengers. However, we believe that after the reconstruction of the terminal is complete and the airport undergoes its transformation, we will have all the possibilities to implement our strategy without any infrastructure limitations”, Mr Marek said.



Comments

  1. Anonymous09:01

    I have a feeling that we will soon see overnight stay of ASL in LJU

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:21

      What could that bring them? Better connections onto the morning wave?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:24

      Yes and especially JFK and Moscow and LED.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:24

      Yep, dep at 6 would be good

      Delete
    4. Anonymous13:17

      Departure at 06.00 wouldn't make sense as it would arrive too late. I think block time is 01.20 so it would have to leave LJU no later than 04.30 to make all connections. Some destinations already leave at 06.00 in the morning.

      Delete
  2. Anonymous09:02

    What other cities could we see them expand to in Romania and Bulgaria?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:05

      Varna which they used to fly is a possibility

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:07

      Couple of years ago they were considering flights to Oradea
      https://www.exyuaviation.com/p/oradea-eyes-air-serbia-flights.html

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:14

      Cluj-Napoca, and in Bulgaria - Varna, Burgas, and I wonder if they should perheaps consider Plovdiv.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:31

      Burgas is better option than Varna

      Delete
    5. Anonymous10:05

      Varna they tried and failed. Why should they attempt it again?

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:30

      Speaking of Bulgaria, there are also two airports with no scheduled service: the first one near Veliko Trnovo (Gornja Orahovica), and the second one in Stara Zagora. Maybe they could get some incentives for commencing flights to those places, that do have some potential - after all, they`d have no competition.

      Delete
    7. Burgas and Varna are probably more suited to be from Nis. Realistically people from Belgrade (and northern Serbia) can afford the bigger and flashier holidays. I’m saying that, Varna is usually only serviced by Austrian Airlines seasonally and occasionally Swiss. It could be another feeder option via Belgrade in that case.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous12:42

      But people from Varna&Burgas should travel, too. Those are rather big places (the size of Novi Sad and Niš, respectively).

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:05

    Good to see both Lviv and Chisinau are still on the cards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:09

      At least they have plans to grow and add more routes. Hopefully we see some of these cities added next summer.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous12:10

      Don't forget Odessa.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous09:08

    Good news but first I think they have to address the regional fleet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:23

      +1

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:39

      Yeah they are addressing it... Since 2013! LoL

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:50

      Addressing it very strategically thought! )))

      Delete
  5. Anonymous09:10

    The longer they drag their feet with introducing Krakow, the greater the chance LOT will start it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:24

      Agree. They have already started introducing Krakow flights to some cities in the region like Podgorica and Tivat.

      Delete
  6. Anonymous09:10

    Hey, this sounds like a job for smartwings ! Why not ? They are from Central Europe and who knows it better than them and Marek ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:13

      I really don't see your connection between Smartwings winning a tour operator contract to fly from the Canary Islands with Air Serbia and how it is somehow their or Marek's fault.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous12:56

      It's Tui behind these.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous13:18

      I don't think anything will become of those flights. It's been a while and no announcements. They need a few months before to sell them. Maybe next winter.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous13:22

      ^What "announcements", what are you on about? The flights have been announced by the airline itself and they start at the end of the month. What exactly do you want? A complimentary ticket?

      Delete
    5. Anonymous15:30

      Funny thing is that Smartwings is operating a charter from BEG to TLV today. Seems like their future expansions is already happening guys.

      Delete
  7. Anonymous09:11

    Seems clever to me to fly to these places, perhaps they should also consider the Caucasus, not much competition in legacy carriers there.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous09:14

    I wish our national carrier also has a plan to develop its hub and spoke model.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous09:16

    So they intend to do more with TIA. I guess that means more frequnecies?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:36

      How many frequencies did they have pre-Covid?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:38

      In winter 2019-2020 they 10 weekly flights, which was more than they had in summer 2019 when they operated 9 weekly.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:40

      wow so if this summer they were operating 11 weekly it means they had more flights than before the pandemic!

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:41

      Yep

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:42

      I think we will see Tirana eventually go double daily. So that's what he probably means with growing there.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:14

      Tirana thrived for them after Adria went bust.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous10:15

      Yes in covid times JU positioned itself quite nicely in Tirana. Good for them.

      Delete
  10. Anonymous09:20

    Nice to hear!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous09:20

    Good luck JU

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous09:21

    So they haven't given up on Ukraine entirely. Good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:35

      Obviously Lviv will be eventually launched.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous12:59

      It's also interesting they finally see the Varna-Krakow-Odessa triangle as region for them and not Ex-Yu.

      Delete
  13. Anonymous09:23

    Interesting to see which markets are important for them in the region.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous09:25

    Krakow seems like a no brainer. I remember seeing it listed here as one of the top unserved routes from BEG.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous09:25

    Wizz expanding in BEG is the best thing for JU since it forces then to expand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:13

      I think they compete relatively well in BEG against Wizz. They managed to beat them on a few routes.

      Delete
  16. Anonymous09:25

    Come back to Ohrid!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous09:28

    Further evidence that long haul expansion will come after the airport finishes its exapnsion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:30

      In the next month or two, BEG will open the pier extension which will allow I think up to 4 widebodies to be handled at the same time across BEG at the jet bridge gates (so not including bus gates).

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:48

      It's not the airport expansion preventing Air Serbia from growing long haul, it's their own management. They will do anything to prevent Air Serbia from getting another A330.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:33

      With long haul growing globally in 2022 Air Serbia will not be able to secure low lease rate they got for YU-ARB, if they decide on getting another A330.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous13:02

      They dragged their foot, it's their fault.

      Same with those SkyExpress Atr's 72-600.

      Delete
  18. Anonymous09:40

    I don't think they have capacities to continue flights from Nis, much less to expend to the region or Central Europe

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous09:43

    With huge infection numbers and virtually giving up any means to fight the pandemic Serbia will become isolated and perhaps face even a temporary flight bans. The governments hesitation to do anything to take those numbers down is a real threat to Air Serbia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:04

      Don't you worry. No one is introducing flight bans.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous14:19

      Totally agree with anon @9:43. It's incredible that the government is doing virtually nothing to combat the increasing numbers of Covid infections. Over 50 deaths per day!
      This could hurt the Serbian aviation market.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous18:17

      Vaccination is easily available for everyone.
      If people die then only because they deserve it.
      No reason for the government to close anything down.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous15:44

      Take it easy bro. Drive carefully.

      Delete
  20. Anonymous09:45

    I believe MBX could work 2 or 3 times per week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:34

      With an ATR 42 they could also open Portorož.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous14:20

      With all due respect, who would fly on Belgrade-Portoroz-Belgrade route anyway?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous14:23

      Mainly transfers. There`s some high class tourism on the Slovenian coast.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous15:11

      Portorož could be alternative airport for Istria and all the way to Venezia.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous15:28

      Low cost alternative maybe.

      Delete
    6. JATBEGMEL16:59

      I believe the problem JU used to have with operating out of POW is that they are heavily weight restricted due to the short runway.

      Besides, with roughly 30 minutes driving you could be in Trieste, which is a much better option.

      Delete
  21. Since this is a highly price sensitive market (yet with high aircraft utilization) which aircraft would suit such expansion. Is there anything better than ATR 72-600?

    All other regional aircraft (jet and turboprop) appear to be expensive to lease, while older aircraft are expensive to maintain. They do need efficient yet reliable workhorse for his hops otherwise it would be a challenge to maintain tight regional schedule.

    I personally would like them to have a regional aircraft which can be boarded by jetbridge, but my personal preferences matter very little here :) I am only certain ATR72-200s need to go, really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:04

      It would make most sense to stick with ATR. Best option for passengers and crew.

      Delete
  22. Anonymous10:06

    Fingers crossed these new routes start sooner rather than later.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:07

      They said after the situation stabilizes with Covid. Most likely next summer season.

      Delete
  23. Anonymous10:16

    Air Serbia is really flying high for the last few years. Well done. If it wasn't for pandemic we would see a boom in new routes and number of passengers these last two years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:19

      I think we would have seen new long haul routes by now was it not for Covid.

      Delete
  24. Anonymous10:18

    i like JU's approach

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:59

      I flew recently between Belgrade and Moscow and the ticket price was higher on AirSerbia than Aeroflot (had to take their flight due to schedule). Air Serbia offers you chips and a small bottle of water. Aeroflot offers you warm sandwich, apple, chocolate bar and cart drink service of your choice. In other words less for more, is that the approach to be liked?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:08

      exactly. JU is not charity, they are (they should) flying for money. And you bought the ticket because of schedule - schedule IS essential part of airline's offer, not just its catering. The approach worked for you.

      Delete
    3. @ANONYMOUS 11:08 just guess why Ryanair defeated in Greece by Aegean airlines?! Main reason was that Greek passengers preferred the full service of Aegean. So don't underestimate the catering!

      Delete
    4. Anonymous14:25

      @ Anon 11:08 I can only tell that I can't wait for Aeroflot to go back to 2 or 3 daily flights. Then it will be a nobrainer whom to select out of the two. And do not get me wrong I have nothing against Air Serbia but in order to charge more you need to be better (i.e. better ground service, alliance status, better catering and predictable take off time).

      Delete
    5. Anonymous15:02

      schedule > catering

      Delete
  25. Anonymous10:19

    At least JU is trying and they have reformed themselves over the past several years and now has a clear network strategy.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous10:52

    A tek kakav šupački odnos imaju prema BNX-u. Tvrdim da su redovni dnevni između BNX i BEG mogući, a oni lete samo dva puta... Sramotan odnos prema srpskom narodu, a i drugim narodima iza Banjalučke regije.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Možda nije problem u stavu prema narodima banjalučke regije nego u ograničenim resursima koje JU ima? Ako imaš određen broj ATRa na raspolaganju, šalješ ih gde je najprofitabilnije. To su sigurno Ljubljana, Tirana, Podgorica i Tivat na primer, daleko pre Banja Luke.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:17

      Pa moraće i za Trebinje da nađu dodatni ATR.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous14:26

      Da, aerodrom Trebinje se otvara sledeće nedelje pa im je to hitno pitanje.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous15:17

      Ne verujem da bi JU odbila subvencije iz BNX tako da mogu leteti i dva puta dnevno ako je većinsko mišljenje da je to potrebno.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous15:26

      Nema veze s većinsko mišljenje, pitanje je kakvo je potražnja.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous15:32

      E pa ako je do potražnje, onda pustite kompanije da je zadovolje. Osim JU ima bezbroj drugih koje mogu da ulete i zadovolje tražnju. Ali pošto očigledno nije (samo) do tražnje, onda to neko mora da plati i ja samo ne bih voleo da to budu poreski obveznici Srbije jer smo mi siromašna zemlja. Potpuno je u redu da se ljudima iz Republike Srpske ne naplaćuju zdravstvene ili obrazovne usluge u Srbiji, ali svakodnevni letovi zaista nisu osnovna potreba. Ili, ponavljam, ako neko smatra da jesu, neka plati i sve ok.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous15:41

      A ko će tek da subveniše let za Trebinje, kad to krene jednog belog dana?

      Delete
    8. Anonymous16:20

      najbolje i to da subvencionišemo pošto već plaćamo ljudima da odu avionom na letovanje od kraljeva do soluna. meni to nije normalno i nikad mi neće biti normalno jer se vrlo dobro zna gde je granica između održavanja neophodnih saobraćajnih veza (za šta apsolutno treba plaćati subvencije kada je potrebno) i održavanja političkih projekata u životu (za šta nikad ne treba plaćati ni eura iz budžeta)

      Delete
    9. Anonymous14:04

      Исто тако сад субвенционишемо глупаве летове (чартере) за Дубај уместо да су редовни међунорадни летови.

      Delete
    10. Anonymous19:13

      Air Serbia needs to start Chicago-Belgrade nonstop flights:

      https://www.change.org/p/air-serbia-air-serbia-needs-to-start-chicago-belgrade-nonstop-flights

      Delete
  27. Anonymous13:31

    And of course, there is the city that simply has to be covered: it`s Budapest. I know they`ve failed there already, still, their network has expanded since, they fly intercontinental, as well as to secondary cities in Russia, where Budapest is a very popular destination. They must introduce it, be it with an ATR42 (I obviously am advocating for).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous14:28

      Agree.

      Delete
    2. JATBEGMEL15:00

      Problem with BUD is that for the O&D market, you can drive to Budapest faster than going by plane. Ticket prices previously were way overpriced.

      As for transfer traffic, there isn't really anything JU can offer that isn't already served from BUD.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous15:05

      What about Balkans?

      Delete
    4. JATBEGMEL16:41

      ATH - A3, FR, W6
      SKG - FR, W6
      SOF - FB, FR, W6
      OTP - RO
      TGD - W6
      TGM - W6
      SKP - W6

      Seasonal
      FR - BOJ, CHQ, JMK, PVK, RHO, ZAD, ZTH.
      W6 - BOJ, CHQ, CFU, HER, JMK, JTR, RHO, ZTH.

      Not to mention that BUD has direct flights to Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Algeria, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Canada, South Korea...

      Markets what JU could offer have a LCC presence out of BEG and ticket prices ex BUD are typically cheaper than in BEG. Its practically down to either price dumping to compete with the competition in BUD or not serve it at all. They already failed twice with BUD. Honestly, I think the aircraft could be better used elsewhere.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous17:55

      Thanks JATBEGMEL.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous14:03

      What JU needed to target was Southern Hungary and not BUD.

      Also, i don't believe 3-4 weekly ATR wouldn't work as a connection for New York for starters.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous15:41

      How do you target Southern Hungary?

      Delete
  28. Anonymous14:20

    The main issue is that they don't have enough ATRs available to launch any new regional routes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JATBEGMEL16:47

      Perhaps if TIA, SJJ and PRG move over to the A319 theyll have capacity for new regional routes.

      Delete
  29. Anonymous14:21

    It would be a nice addition to the network if any of these start.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Anonymous14:30

    How about INI as their next regional destination from BEG?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous14:55

      I`m totally for that.

      Delete
  31. Anonymous14:59

    Air Serbia needs more regional aircraft and they need them fast.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Anonymous14:59

    Brac would be really nice :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous15:03

      * Brač.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous15:12

      Plus, they should keep Split year-round.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous15:22

      Twice weekly in winter could work.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous19:28

      For the begin twice weekly would suit best.
      And after some years even daily flights with the A319 could work.
      Especially for transfers.

      Delete
  33. Air Serbia needs the Q400 not the ATR.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous17:57

    Wonder if BEG-Timişoara would work. Obviously only for transfers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous18:45

      Too short distance.
      Boarding would take longer than the flight itself ...

      Delete
    2. Anonymous19:47

      Maybe Tuzla would work.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous19:51

      Air Serbia should organize 'luxurious' buses with a codeshare to places like Szeged, Timisoara, Tuzla etc.

      But heck, too much work.

      Delete
    4. Vlad22:18

      It's not about work, but the unpredictability of borders. If Serbia was in the EU/Schengen, maybe it would make sense.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous05:50

      What's so unpredictable about them?

      Most of the passengers would have Hungarian, Romanian passports etc.

      This idea is much lower than Covid-19 crisis.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous05:50

      older*

      Delete
    7. Anonymous15:06

      Wait times can still be long at the land borders.

      Delete
  35. Anonymous18:12

    I think the following cities could work in the next 1-3 years:

    Varna
    Cluj-Napoca
    Chişinău (already planned)
    Kraków (already planned)
    Bratislava
    Vilnius
    Lviv
    Kiev
    Odessa
    Kharkiv
    Sevastopol
    Sochi
    Volgograd

    Ankara
    Tbilisi
    Yerevan
    Baku

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous18:30

      ^ I would select of all these
      Varna (summer capital of Bulgaria and city pair of Sofia)
      Chisinau ( city pair of Bucharest)
      Krakow and Lviv (both cities are a pair)
      Kiev
      Tbilisi and Yerevan (both cities are a pair)
      Eventually Kharkiv and Ankara.
      Manchester (city pair of London)
      Madrid (city pair of Barcelona).

      Delete
    2. Anonymous18:33

      What do you mean by city pair? Like brother cities?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous18:53

      City pairs by similarities.
      Krakow and Lviv are extremely similar for example.
      Or they are the second most important center in their country like Manchester which is called the capital of the north.
      Either like brothers or like brother or sister.
      In Ex Yu Zagreb and Belgrade are a city pair.
      Which of the two is better?
      Its difficult to say because both have so many similarities and they complement each other perfectly.
      Madrid or Barcelona, its difficult to say which one is better.
      If you cannot decide then you better take both of them.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous18:58

      Thanks for the explanation, I see what you mean and agree.

      People could organize a trip to say, Kraków, stay for a few days, then take a train to Lviv and return from there.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous19:46

      While I'd agree in many cases, Zagreb and Belgrade as well as Varna and Sofia are certainly not city pairs.

      The later are 3-4 times larger than the former and occupy a completely different function.

      Same for Chisinau-Bucharest.

      Where I'd agree is Lviv-Krakow.

      Air Serbia or any airline can't fly to Sevastopol due to rugged terrain and absence of civilian airport, only military.

      All airlines fly to Simferopol (SIP), one hour North.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous02:40

      Sofia and Varna not city pairs? Look at FR at the moment. They offer 2 daily flights on some days with the route just launched this summer.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous05:48

      I think that city-pair notion is quite stupid and irrelevant to determine where JU should launch flights.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous17:24

      Actually that city pair concept is very good.
      In most countries or states there are two competing airports that get flights.
      Rome and Milan are also city pairs and get all the big international carriers.
      Same with Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth in Texas or LA and San Francisco in California.
      Moscow-Saint Petersberg or Sydney and Melbourne.
      Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Tokyo and Osaka. Frankfurt and Munich are both Lufthansa bases. Zurich and Geneva...

      Delete
  36. Anonymous19:20

    This everything sounds great and I hope that this will happen. But JU needs more regional aircrafts, ATR-72 to accomplish this regional strategy and proactive ticket price strategy. Since 2013 JU introduced only one ATR 72 YU-ALV, and return it (in my opinion it was the aircraft in the best condition in the ATR fleet), so I do not see except talking that JU is doing something specially in region.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous19:11

      Petition: Air Serbia needs to start Chicago-Belgrade nonstop flights!

      https://www.change.org/p/air-serbia-air-serbia-needs-to-start-chicago-belgrade-nonstop-flights

      Delete
  37. Anonymous07:58

    Direct flights from PRN to BEG would be in very high demand. It's only a 35 minute flight or 5 hour drive (not including the long wait at the boundary.)

    ReplyDelete

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