TRIP REPORT: Air Serbia’s first domestic flight


On Thursday I flew on board Air Serbia’s first domestic flight between Belgrade and Niš and returned the following day. Both flights were operated by the Airbus A319, registered YU-APM. The return ticket cost 6.662 RSD or about 56 EUR.

I arrived at the airport around two hours ahead of departure, although this really isn’t necessary if you are using this service. The airport was rather busy at around 11.20 AM when I arrived, and I headed to the Air Serbia check-in desks. There was a dedicated check-in counter for the flight to Niš. Since I was returning the following day, the check-in agent issued me the boarding pass for the return flight too.

The departure gate listed was A11, a new bus gate made specially for this domestic flight. It is located on the ground floor of terminal 1 near the check in counters. Therefore, there is no immigration and security is performed at the gate, as is the case elsewhere at the airport. I assume they will make new arrangements once the airport is fully reconstructed and reconfigured.

There would be 18 passengers on this flight, as well as a set of Air Serbia crew who were positioning in Niš. I was surprised to see quite a few transfer passengers on this flight. One lady, who was speaking to one of the security agents said she had just arrived on a flight from Berlin and was about to head to the bus station to go to Niš when she looked at the departures board by chance and saw there was a flight to Niš. Not knowing anything about it she inquired at the information desk and purchased a ticket. She was really overjoyed at the fact that she could fly to Niš instead of having to go by bus explaining how she would have arrived in the evening. Another two people who were traveling together then interjected and said they had also just come off a flight from Berlin, although they were aware of this domestic service and had purchased tickets in advance. Transfer passengers flying via Belgrade to Niš enter Serbia in Belgrade, meaning they have to pass immigration, pick up their luggage and then drop off their bags again at the check in desk (although they are issued a boarding pass at their original point of departure). Those transferring from Niš via Belgrade have their baggage checked through to their final destination. Once they arrive in Belgrade (passengers are dropped off at the same A11 gate upon arrival) they have to proceed to immigration in the departures area. The cabin crew makes an announcement about this on the flight.

The bus arrived around 20 minutes prior to departure, and we were taken to our plane which was parked at the C5 gate. We went up the stairs to the air bridge and entered the plane from the bridge. The crew was pleasant, and boarding was completed within 5 minutes. 

We pushed back and took off for Niš. The captain informed us the flight would take thirty minutes. The flight was uneventful. There is no service on board for this domestic flight. A passenger asked for a cup of water which they got but otherwise there was nothing offered. Soon enough we began our descent and landed at Niš Airport where we were welcomed by a water cannon salute.

Construction work at the airport

Descending into Niš

The terminal building at Niš is vintage and small although there are major expansion plans in the works.

I spent the day in Niš and the city was a big surprise for me. It was my first time there and I didn’t have any expectations, but it has some interesting historical sights to visit, the city is really well maintained, clean, both taxi and bus transport really well organised, signage in both Serbian and English everywhere and everyone I interacted with was extremely polite and friendly. In fact, to tell you the truth, I found it to be much more organised than Belgrade.

The following day I arrived at the airport just an hour prior to departure as I already had my boarding pass. At the time, passengers on a Wizz Air flight to Vienna were passing through security so the staff asked for the Belgrade passengers to wait while they cleared security and departed. There were around twenty passengers on the return flight to Belgrade, as well as another set of Air Serbia crew repositioning to Belgrade.

Around half an hour prior to take off we went through security and into the departures area. This was Christmas Day in Serbia and again, most passengers seemed to be transfers. There was a family speaking Russian and there was also one young couple speaking French (from what I concluded she was Serbian and her partner French) and there was another couple speaking a mix of Serbian and German. Some fifteen minutes before take off we were invited to board. The same crew members that took us to Belgrade were working this flight as well. Similar to the outbound, there was no service on the inbound either, and the total flight time was just twenty minutes.

Descending into Belgrade

We landed in Belgrade on time and parked at the C5 gate again. We were asked to disembark through the back door down the stairs and into the bus. We were taken to the same A11 gate we departed from which has an exit straight into the Terminal 1 check-in area.

Overall, I enjoyed this short domestic experience and was quite glad to have finally visited Niš, which for some reason I never got around to seeing. I know this is basically an aircraft positioning flight on which they sell tickets, but with a little promotion online I think these flights could actually be popular considering the first two had some transfer passengers despite their being little mention about it beforehand and tickets being put on sale less than two weeks before they were inaugurated.

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  1. Anonymous09:14

    Very nice and detailed trip report. Too bad that Air Serbia do not want to invest a little bit more effort in this Niš flights, I think that could be successful story

    1. Anonymous09:19

      What do you mean? They had ads on radio and online. They did their best in the two weeks they had. If they could use the ATR then loads would be perfectly ok. A319 has to operate some flights because of CGN and HHN.

      Btw yesterday's INI-LJU had 55 passengers on the ATR. These routes will do just fine for JU.

    2. Anonymous09:19

      They should give the bottle of water with the chips at the entry of the aircraft and 10min before landing pick up the trash...

    3. Anonymous09:36

      Glad to hear Ljubljana is performing. You think they might increase to 4 weekly in summer? Belgrade will be probably double daily.

    4. Anonymous09:43

      @anon 09:19
      Let we see the LJU loads after the holidays, but for the start it is not bad at all. Even the BEG loads. With time and better advertising it would probably goes up to 50% which is ok for the positioning flight. My bet is on transfers.

    5. Anonymous10:19

      LJU desperately needed the ATR in winter the last time it was operated. In summer loads would go as high as 110 passengers but in winter they would collapse to 40-50 which is great for the ATR.

      I don't think they'll increase it as I think they are going to short on the ATR fleet in summer.

    6. Anonymous11:26

      I think that first comment refers on promotion Belgrade-Nis-Belgrade flights, not just flights from Nis. Putting two flights on the same day from BEG to INI is not a thing that will grow this segment, especially that JU is sending two types of aircraft to Nis, so they could easily operate it on different days.

    7. Anonymous12:49

      JU scheduled INI like that because they don't offer a lot of flights from BEG every day, this is not 2019. They put them on the day when there is demand. Also the flight that leaves on Friday at night doesn't come back on Saturday morning but it operates flights from INI the next morning. There is a reason why the timetable is like this. I am sure once covid passes it will be better.

    8. JATBEGMEL13:17

      It's disappointing JU doesn't offer miles with at least their highest fares ex INI and KVO.

      Multicity option on their website doesn't work either, so one cannot book for example LJU-INI BEG-LJU on a single itinerary for example.

      There are a few things they could tweak to improve the offer.

      Interesting to note is that the BEG-INI flights are more expensive than INI-HHN (3.900 din vs 3.690 din).

    9. Anonymous15:56

      Both flights are rather cheap.

      Buses are extremely expensive.

  2. Anonymous09:21

    Area where A11 is now is where JU crew room was, that is where they met before they headed to the flight. I think in summer this route will do just fine especially when there are more connections offered in BEG.

  3. Anonymous09:36

    Thanks a lot for the report, I was wondering how is this gonna work. It looks OK for a start, promotion is a must for future development. Interesting to see YUBRZ flying to BNX from INI...

  4. Anonymous10:07

    Thanks for this report. it is really good.

    Does anyone know why JU is using four digits flight number for this flight? Usually four digits flight numbers were used for charters.

    I expected this flight number will be something like JU010/011 for example.

    1. JATBEGMEL12:35

      1000-1999 are flight numbers for INI

      2000 - 2999 are for KVO.

      8000 - 8999 are for charters.

    2. Anonymous13:31

      Do you know which was the first international route ever for JU? SOF for instance begins with 122 compared to TGD 170.

    3. JATBEGMEL13:43

      First international route for JU was back in 1930 when they launched BEG-ZAG-VIE.

      Flight numbers came to JU in 1953 with the first flight where flight numbers were used was on BEG-ZAG-LJU as JU720.

      Flight numbers were reorganised in 2013.

      Currently BEG-BNX has the smallest flight number as JU102.

  5. Thanks for the report. I am looking forward flying myself but in Spring time. Did anyone actually have checked-in baggage just to Belgrade from NIiš? HOw would that work out at all?

  6. Anonymous12:58

    I honestly can't wait for April when the new extension will be put to use. It's going to be grand.

    1. Anonymous14:42

      Grand what? I flew yesterday out of Beg and it is a complete mess everywhere; C4 premises / gate looks worst than Kathmandu airport.

    2. Anonymous14:58

      It's going to be grand once the new extension opens in April. It's chaos at the airport because of the modernization process. Out of chaos a new and much improved BEG will come out to shine like a star that it is supposed to be.

  7. Anonymous18:38

    One of the best Trip Reports that I have read, very interesting and detailed. It answered a lot of questions about the procedure with security and customs. Smart idea to make these flights. The requirement to collect luggage and clear customs upon arrival in Serbia is the same procedure at YYZ.

  8. Anonymous18:52

    Is that a Niš - Banja Luka flight i noticed on the Niš departure list?

    1. Anonymous19:12

      I suppose it is a private plane.

    2. Anonymous20:12

      But would a private flight be listed?

    3. Anonymous20:29

      It's Government's Learjet

  9. Anonymous08:39

    What was the price of return flight

  10. This is very interesting and with lot of details and great pictures. Return ticket is not so expensive.

  11. Anonymous09:27

    "Domastic Arrivals"?! C'mon Belgrade Airport. That's English 101.

    1. hahah thats what i saw as well..

  12. Anonymous08:25 video of Niš - Belgrade fly :D

    1. Anonymous08:27

      Belgrad-Niš sorry


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