Air Serbia to run over one thousand charters

Air Serbia will operate over 1.000 charter flights this summer season in cooperation with local tour operators. Today alone, the airline is running nine charters to the Egyptian resort town of Hurghada, offering almost 1.300 departing seats as the Easter and school holidays begin. Another twenty Hurghada charters are expected to operate over the next week. The national airline will commence leisure flights to Turkey in May and a number of other destinations in June, including those in Greece, Italy and Tunisia. Charters to the latter two will operate for the first time in almost three years with the carrier to serve the regions of Sicily and Calabria in Italy.

Commenting on its lucrative charter operations, Air Serbia’s General Manager for Commercial and Strategy, Boško Rupić, said, “It is our pleasure that, together with our tour operator partners, we can start renewing charter services, and we are particularly happy about the expected increase in the number of flights. It is a fact that global events have led to an unprecedented increase in jet fuel prices, and consequently the increase in the price of charter flights, but the good news is that it is possible to find tour packages that fit everyone’s budget”. He added, “If travellers plan on time, they will be able to select their holiday spot from a large number of destinations to which we operate flights, in accordance with their abilities and wishes. Existing demand shows that tourists are already planning vacations to attractive destinations which they can reach easily via direct flights from Belgrade and Niš”.

Turkey traditionally holds the top spot on the list of most popular summer destinations in Air Serbia’s network. Egypt, which has seen significant growth year after year, comes second. The carrier will also maintain charter services from Niš to Turkey and Egypt this summer. “The most popular with travellers are flights to destinations in Turkey - Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman and Alanya, followed by Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, as well as a large number of Greek islands such as Crete, Rhodes, Samos, Skiathos, Corfu, Kefalonia, Kos and Zakynthos”, Air Serbia concluded. The carrier has also seen a significant number of bookings by tour operators on its scheduled operations this summer season, particularly on flights to Spain and Italy.


  1. Anonymous09:01

    Wow 1,300 seats to Hurghada in ine day. That's enough to fill 3 A380s.

    1. Anonymous09:02

      Plus there is an Air Cairo flight to Hurghada too. So 10 in total :)

    2. Anonymous10:52

      Why have 9 charters per day to Hurghada when it would be easier to send the A330 three times?

    3. Anonymous11:22

      The A330 is being used on flights to New York

    4. JATBEGMEL11:37


      3 A380's in a premium heavy configuration, using EK as an example, is around 1550 seats, not 1300.


      YU-ARB is off to JFK today.

    5. Anonymous12:52

      Čartere i kapacotete ne određuje JU nego onaj koji zakupljuje kapacitet. Niko nije lud da rizikuje na a330 u ovim ludim vremenima sam.

    6. Anonymous13:03

      ЈУ може понудити агентима летове са А332 на ком могу сви закупити места колико им треба, то већ раде са Палмом, Барселоном итд.

    7. Anonymous13:09

      Egypt is a more by affordable and cheaper destination for Serbs, so it's quite normal. Reminds us a bit of Chalkidiki and Kusadasi.

    8. JATBEGMEL13:58


      They have and they did. JU operated a charter for an agency to PMI with YU-ARA which apparently wasn't as successful as planned. BCN is a scheduled destination, the extra seats JU is offering agencies is less than the capacity of an A319.

    9. Anonymous14:40

      It was not PMI, those were supposed to be flights to Italy just before covid if I remember well.

    10. Seems to me that Serbians are getting higher salary every year since they travel soo much. What other country in the region has all this charters and filled to the last seat? Plus all schedule flights are sold out to. I believe many tour operators would use 330 but that aircraft is already used to capacity.

    11. Anonymous15:19

      Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland... are all ahead of Serbia in terms of charter traffic. OTP and SOF even have long-haul charter flights.

    12. JATBEGMEL16:42


      It was PMO. My mistake.


      I'm guessing either you don't live in Serbia or are an SNS member. Very out of touch with reality.

      Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece all have these charters, including to long haul destinations. Bulgaria also gets winter charters to its ski resorts, something Serbia lost back in 2005 when Thompson removed their Kopaonik program and direct LGW-INI charters. 15 years later, Serbia hasn't attracted foreign winter tourists and charters, which would be great for JU in fighting the seasonality issues it has.

      Salaries have increased, but so has the cost of living. Adjust salaries 10 years ago and the average cost of living to today. Remittances from our expat workers varies between 7-9% of our GDP and has remained at that level for over a decade, regardless of the growth of salaries and GDP. If GDP has grown and foreign remittances have remained at the same level, it means more money from our foreign workers is coming to Serbia each year.
      Air travel has become cheaper in the mean time with increased competition. Packages have become cheaper making them more accessible for the average Serbian. It is also not uncommon for holiday packages to be sold in installments.

      Scheduled flights are not all sold out. Perhaps certain flights are sold out on select days, but it's very far from reality that every scheduled flight is sold out.

      A330 will only this summer start to be used to capacity with the Sunday rotations to BCN. Previously this wasn't the case.

    13. Anonymous16:44

      Can you point out the charter flights from Zagreb?

      A330 is also being used on Zurich flights.

    14. Anonymous16:46


      What he meant was outbound charter demand.

    15. Anonymous17:50

      JATBEGMEL, it is not right to count incoming and outgoing charters because LaneHotLanemwas talking about Serbians traveling more. Winter charters in Bulgaria and Summer charters in Croatia and not for domestic population, but tourists.
      You are right about failure to attract any winter tourists in Serbia, which is a shame, but you are not right that standard of living didn't improve in Serbia. certainty it is not equal for everyone, but certainly there are more people/families who can affor holidays in more expensive destinations then Sutomore or Pefkohori.
      And, I am not SNS member!

    16. Nemjee17:58

      I think Serbia has attracted quite a few Russian ski tourists just that they are flying to BEG rather than INI. Now that you have Milos Veliki, starting your journey from BEG is no longer such a hassle.

      Naturally I am referring to Russian tourists who used to come before the war in Ukraine.

    17. Nemjee18:00

      I would also like to add that we have experienced an improved standard of living. I believe this growing demand for charter flights is a good example of that. In addition to those, you have airlines like FZ which are doing really well in Belgrade thanks to our holidaymakers heading to the Maldives, Tanzania and so on.

      Some 5-10 years ago, FZ was there to bring home Serbs from Australia plus some locals who were living and working in the UAE.

      It's a shame Etihad fell apart as JU could have profited from this as well.

    18. JATBEGMEL18:44


      If it took Belgraders 2-3 hours to the sea, you probably wouldn't see the large amounts of charters and scheduled TIV flights every summer.

      ZRH was just one flight.


      I know what he meant, I wrote about both. Both Bulgaria and especially Romania even have long haul charters, something in BEG we don't have just as yet. They also have scheduled flights out to TFS, a destination that was supposed to happen this winter. This is all outbound tourism.


      I didn't say it hasn't improved, it hasn't gotten drastically better either as it is made out to be. People leaving Serbia to work abroad has been increasing each year, and expat workers tend to send money home. That amount is between 7-9% of the Serbian GDP, which isn't a small amount. Packages have gotten cheaper, the dinar for the past few years has been stable, inflation is low which is great. I would say that some of the market that used to travel from BUD or TRS is traveling more from BEG as well as competition has made using BEG more attractive.

  2. Anonymous09:02

    Well, it's not like tour operators have a choice when it comes to the two largest markets: Turkey and Egypt.

    Al Masria applied to operate flights to BEG this summer. Let's see how fast JU blocks them. I remember before covid they used to send their A330 to Belgrade.

    1. Anonymous10:50

      I wander is it only JU who is "blocking" competition or sometimes JU gets blocked as well?! I wander why you worried for the open market economy and sake of taxpayers never say anything about it!

      Anyway, air traffic is heavily regulated and sometimes limiting competition had a purpose to keep the prices in the level that is sustainable for the current players. This way they get a chance to surfžvive and "taxpayers" the chance to have air connectivity on the long run.
      Not saying that we have to agree with this approach, but things are not so black and white!

    2. Anonymous10:58

      Give me some examples of where JU expansion was restricted because in markets like Egypt, Russia and Turkey it's JU that is putting on the breaks.

    3. Anonymous11:03

      Not true regarding Turkey. First of all they did expand, by introducing flights from Kraljevo and Nis to Istanbul but this is all thanks to the revision of the bilateral agreement and cooperation with Turkish Airlines. They are not allowed to add anything else at the moment.

    4. Anonymous11:19

      That is where you are wrong. They added KVO and INI because TK requested the third daily which they got for one season, this summer one.
      JU on the other hand is blocking any liberalization of the market between the two until they can add flights.

      Look at poor Pegasus. They keep on requesting daily flights but keep on being turned down.

    5. JATBEGMEL12:20


      Russia until recently was limiting frequencies between Serbia and Russia, even though both SU and JU wanted the extra frequencies, hence why the A330 and B777 wasn't uncommon to see on the SVO-BEG route. When JU announced AER, tickets were not being sold as they were waiting for Russian approval. All Russian airlines seeking to launch international flights seek approval first from Rosaviatsia before applying elsewhere.

      As for Turkey, they revoked JU's slots in IST when Jat rebranded as Air Serbia, forcing it into SAW. It was only after the Serbian government reacted by threatening to revoke the slots for TK and PC were they returned. So it's not just our DCV. TK is flying 3 daily IST-BEG because JU is flying KVO/INI-IST. Bilaterals are extremely limited between the 2 countries. These kind of restrictive bilaterals is seen in many countries including Germany, Poland, Canada, Australia, India.

      Egypt is the only country out of the 3 countries you mentioned that I agree with your argument.

    6. Anonymous13:00

      And who do you think blocked all those other Russian airlines from launching BEG? Nordwind miraculously survived because they were smart but what about S7 and the rest? It was all JU's work.

      As for Turkey, of course they were kicked to SAW and rightfully so. TK is pissed off that JU is keeping a monopoly on charters and then they go restricting them from adding more frequencies and capacity. That move to SAW was a reactionary move.

    7. Anonymous16:25

      Even Anadoujet's CEO admitted JU is limiting the growth of Serbia-Turkey market. Here is what he said during a recent interview for another portal:

      Na pitanje da li razmatraju uvođenje sezonske linije do Antalije, Karakaš je rekao da je Antalija tržište koje čvrsto drži Air Serbia i da sada ne postoje regulatorni uslovi da Anadolujet uđe na to tržište.

    8. Anonymous16:28

      Well it does not say what you are claiming. It says that it can't fly because of regulatory restrictions. That's the bilateral air agreement that was negotiated by Turkey itself. On top of that, it took Turkey's parliament 5 years to adopt the agreement.

    9. Anonymous16:48

      And who do you think is lobbying the Serbian government not to push for open skies agreement with Turkey like it did with other countries like the UAE, Qatar and even the EU. The CEO used diplomatic language to say exactly that. Mind you, he said that after Anadoloujet's request for summer flights from the coast to BEG was merciless blocked by the Directorate.

    10. JATBEGMEL16:49


      Turkish carriers were for years violating the air agreement. PC should technically not be flying to Serbia under that agreement, yet it does. TK was operating more flights to Serbia than allowed under the agreement. JU was therefore tolerated to have a monopoly on the charter flights, as evident every single year when the 2 countries would have a spat over them. JU being kicked out of Ataturk to SAW had no justification, which is why that decision was quickly changed when the Serbian Government reacted.

    11. Anonymous16:54

      It did because TK was annoyed that JU was becoming increasingly active in IST while retaining their monopoly on the charter traffic. Air Serbia tends to overplay its hand and then suffers the consequences later on.

      As JU was moving into IST, they still insisted on blocking TK's expansion to BEG. What Turkish Airlines did was to remind them of what could be at risk for them. Turkey can live without Serbian tourists on the coast but can JU survive without these lucrative charter flights? I don't think so.

      So in the end TK got its third daily, its widebodies last year and more importantly they got to launch ESB flights which were blocked a few times in the past.

    12. JATBEGMEL20:12

      Jat was operating 5 pw to IST, usually on ATR's. TK was operating close to 3 daily, on top of PC's 4 pw. Air Serbia in 2014 increased it to daily on an A319. No where close the capacity Turkish carriers were offering. Turkish carriers were not completely out of the charter market, there were charter flights to Izmir and Antalya previously with Turkish carriers, but no where near the level of JU. TK lost more than it gained when JU was kicked out of IST, and it is only after 7 years that TK's third daily has returned.

      If Turkey wants to insist on its carriers operating charter flights, they should block JU from operating them until Serbia's DCV allows Turkish carriers rights to charter flights. Agencies in that case would route tourists to other destinations. The hundreds of thousands of tourists that visit Turkey each year isn't an insignificant number.

      JU and TK have a codeshare agreement, that helped them with getting back that third daily flight, as well as launching ESB-BEG while JU got INI/KVO-IST. Until both sides sign new bilaterals, this is as good as its going to get.

    13. Anonymous10:18

      TK never operated close to 3 daily, they had double daily flights and kept on requesting more flights. They announced three weekly midday flights but these never materialized.

      Turkey doesn't insist on their carriers operating charters, they just don't want TK to be handicapped with flights from IST and ESB. What JU was doing was trying to maintain their charter monopoly while becoming aggressive in Istanbul. This is where they crossed the red line with Turkey.

      That is when JU and TK realized that they have to cooperate if they both want to grow on the Serbia-Turkey market. As a result, TK finally got ESB flights, TK added their third daily to BEG (approved for one summer season only) and then JU added flights from KVO and INI while keeping their charter monopoly.

    14. JATBEGMEL15:13

      Nope. TK was operating 17 flights a week to BEG in 2014, or close to 3 daily.

      TK1079/1080 were the flight numbers of the additional flights, arrival into BEG at 14:25 and departing BEG at 15:10.

      How was JU aggressive compared to TK? TK was operating with close to 4 times the capacity JU was while looking for more. Put in numbers, TK alone was operating 884 flights a year in each direction with larger capacity, PC and additional 208 flights for a total of 1.092 flights in each direction, thats without their additional charters. JU on the other hand had 260 flights in each direction. Turkish carriers were operating 832 more flights than JU. JU certainly wasn't operating 832 charter flights to Turkey.

      JU only increased IST from 5 pw to daily in 2014, and only after TK pulled the additional 3 flights pw, not even replacing the TK capacity. JU hasn't operated more than daily on BEG-IST. In fact, it pulled out of the route for a couple of years and KK jumped in with a JU codeshare, operating up to 10 pw. JU only returned to IST when KK went bankrupt.

      JU didn't have a complete monopoly on Turkish charters back then because airlines such as Freebird and TK were operating charters as well to BEG, however not to the amount JU was. Even with a JU monopoly on Turkish charters, Turkish carriers still have the advantage on capacity between Serbia and Turkey, while bilaterals call for reciprocity. Serbia's DCV in fact here is being flexible.

  3. Anonymous09:05

    They really need Air Serbia Charter airline; Some 20+ yo A320s, that you can lease over to Africa or just cold store it over the winter

    1. Anonymous09:06

      They can't keep their ATR fleet flying properly and you expect them to launch a whole separate brand? Are you aware 3/5 ATRs are currently not flying?

      Let them first fix what they have now before embarking on a new adventure.

    2. Anonymous09:09

      I can agree on that one; but it's becouse of management, not becouse it wouldn't be viable but becouse they can't organise properly

    3. Anonymous09:12

      They already had a solution in place with AVIOLET. That was the whole point of establishing tht brand to make use of the old 737's as the base of charter operations and then to grow it. Shame that they didn't stick with it

    4. Anonymous09:17

      Shutting down Aviolet made sense because they are unable to develop a separate charter brand that would operate from BEG, INI, TIV, BNX and later on KVO.
      Another issue is that they are rarely prepared for the summer season. They always play it safe and in the end they are short both on charter and regular traffic.

      We are seeing that in BCN where this July and August they will offer the least seats from BEG.

    5. Anonymous09:46

      What are you talking about ? The charter brand was already there and developed for the several years before they decided to shut it down. Look at how the charter market is performing now !

    6. Anonymous09:55

      What charter brand? There is no specialized charter brand now that Aviolet is gone.

    7. Anonymous16:26

      FlightRadar24 is a very useful tool to monitor when one of their planes goes tech. That's how I saw that ALY has not flown since it came back from VIE with a delay. Yesterday ZAG was cancelled and today A319 was sent there and to Vienna as well.

    8. Anonymous16:36

      Aviolet wasn't the brand. It didn't have any awareness with end customers and very little with tour operators. It was just a name, didn't have any other atribute of brand.

    9. JATBEGMEL17:07

      Aviolet was only created to distance the B733's from the Air Serbia brand. Nothing more. It was an all economy class layout, which at the time, Air Serbia Airbus fleet was not. Air Serbia back then had a dedicated 8 seat business class in all their Airbus narrow bodies. Aviolet B733's had recycled seats from Jat and Lufthansa. The Aviolet brand did more damage to the Air Serbia brand than any good, as passengers were pissed when the B733 would be the one operating their scheduled flight.

      There is absolutely no single justifiable reason for Air Serbia to have a dedicated charter brand. There is no problem for Air Serbia to be operating charter flights, problem starts when the charter brand is operating Air Serbia's scheduled flights. At JU's size, it's more trouble with 0 benefit.


      Aviolet never operated charters from KVO as B733's cannot operate at the airport. Air Serbia operated seasonal scheduled flights to SKG, this summer to TIV. Not the same as charters. JU hasn't operated TIV seasonal flights since Montenegro declared independence in 2006. INI charters were operated by Air Serbia. BNX was the only airport that had Aviolet charters. Apparently they tried from OSI and were rejected by the Croatian government.

  4. Anonymous10:50

    Great to see that they have included flights to INI too.

  5. Anonymous10:50


  6. Anonymous10:50

    Perhaps they should invest more in their charter product? Open a dedicated tour operator like Jat had Air Lift?

  7. Anonymous10:50

    They should consider some new charter destinations. Trade Air did Ljubljana-Zanzibar.

    1. Anonymous10:53

      It's up to tour operators not JU.

  8. Anonymous10:51

    It's better to start thinking that some of these charter routes should become scheduled services or they will lose it like Crete and Santorini .

    1. Anonymous10:53


    2. Anonymous10:59

      Rhodes as well since Aegean is launching it this summer.

  9. Anonymous10:51

    One would think OU would have the most charter traffic. But they don't seem to care

    1. Anonymous10:54

      You snooze you lose

  10. Anonymous10:52

    Time to think about long haul charters.

  11. Anonymous10:52

    Good to see charter demand going strong.

  12. Anonymous11:05

    Their favourite source of income.

    1. Anonymous11:12

      Well... They get the money for the flights without thinking how to fill those seats... Who else would complain?

  13. Anonymous11:58

    The fleet will become an issue during summer, delays are already worrying. The remaining aircrafts should be joining the fleet in the next month latest if they wanna make something out of this year. JU is already late with new routes, look at all that leisure demand...

    1. Anonymous13:01

      They are just trying to be Wizzier than Wizz, it's all part of their strategic planning.

    2. Anonymous15:28


  14. Nemjee17:55

    Personally, I think turning PMI from a charter destination to a scheduled one was extremely smart. We all know JU lives from charters and this was a promising market that was vulnerable.
    Eurowings has become quite active in Belgrade and they do run a large operation at PMI. By launching scheduled flights, JU is leaving a footprint there and consolidating its position. I believe they prevented another Heraklion from happening.

    Hopefully they add more flights to BCN in summer as it has become obvious neither Wizz nor Vueling are ready to give up.

    1. Anonymous19:16

      Apropos Heraklion : Even if they would cease flying there JU still will have Chania as an alternative destination on the island of Crete ..

  15. Anonymous13:22

    Who will be their top tourops partners on these summer routes ?


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