Air Serbia to cut select London flights over Heathrow chaos


Air Serbia will cancel its second daily service from Belgrade to London Heathrow on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month starting July 9 due to the UK airport’s inability to handle the aircraft. This past weekend, Air Serbia was forced to operate the afternoon flight despite being notified by Heathrow that the ground handling company would be unable to cater to the aircraft, since the Serbian carrier was threatened with the loss of its historic Heathrow landing and departure slots. As a result, the airline maintained the afternoon service to the UK capital over the weekend, requiring passengers only to travel with hand luggage, while the return flight was cancelled and the aircraft returned to Belgrade without any passengers. “The Serbian national airline has been put in a paradoxical situation that it is being told that it will not be possible for its passengers, their luggage and aircraft to be handled, while on the other hand, it is insisted that the flights have to be operated, even partially or completely empty”, Air Serbia said. A government "amnesty" to the rules on airport slots has since been brought into place, allowing airlines to change schedules without facing a potential penalty.

Numerous airlines are also expected to announce further cancellations at the airport this week aimed at minimising disruption in the peak holiday season. Over the weekend customers complained about having to wait hours in huge lines at security and passport control at Heathrow Airport. The situation was further exasperated after planes were unable to depart for hours on Saturday due to a “fuel issue”. Staff shortages, issues with baggage handling services and a lack of trained security staff are all contributing to the disruption seen at many of the UK's major commercial airports this year. Heathrow and Gatwick have both started pre-emptively cancelling flights, while government officials are reportedly toying with the idea of introducing a surge pricing scheme for planes that operate during peak hours.


  1. Anonymous14:00

    How come the government hasn't fined them. This is clear abuse of customers who are being turned down a service they paid for.

  2. Anonymous14:27

    Is Air Serbia going to get compensation for cancelled flights and lost profit?

    1. Anonymous14:33

      Hopefully JU will be part of larger-scale lawsuit which will farce the airport and the UK govt to cough up some bucks.

  3. The UK has said Airlines can hand back historic slots by the end of this week and won't lose them in future seasons.

    Additionally, London has 6 airports of which 5 can handle A320s, so Air Serbia could schedule to operate from other airports if they wished.

    This seems that Air Serbia are making excuses (not that Heathrow are completely blameless)

    1. Anonymous14:38

      A friend of mine flew from LGW on Wizz and they were sitting in the plan for 4 hours. After that the pilot said that they would be leaving without luggage and who wanted to leave can. About 20% of the plane disembarked.

    2. Anonymous14:40

      Of course, it's just JU making excuses, everyone else is doing splendidly at London airports. JU did what was right - they have prevent disruptions to their schedule.

    3. Anonymous14:55

      It's really impossible to downplay the mess that is Heathrow airport at the moment. The other day KLM pilots had to offload luggage from the plane and literally leave it on the tarmac.

      Airlines can't simply change airports as they please. It is a process and in any case most London airports are falling apart at the moment. There is no one to handle planes, the airline has to have staff stationed at the airport, it has to have a handling provider. You can't just randomly choose to fly to another airport in the city, especially since all of them are a mess.

    4. Anonymous16:28

      @SeanM1997 "London has 6 airports of which 5 can handle A320s, so Air Serbia could schedule to operate from other airports"

      After you, British Airways. As soon as BA moves all LHR aircraft that other five London airports can handle, foreign airlines should follow - but not before BA vacates LHR.

    5. Anonymous17:22

      Air Serbia owns expensive LHR slots. Suggesting they should move to some creepy airport like London Southend is beyond cringy.

  4. Anonymous17:27

    Everyone seems to be cutting. Look at SK for July and August (weekly frequencies)

    Copenhagen – Pula 36 > 25 (August 12 > 7)
    Copenhagen – Split 76 > 60 (August 45 > 39)
    Gothenburg – Pula 9 > 4 (August 4 > 2)
    Gothenburg – Split 44 > 36 (August 24 > 16)
    Oslo – Pula 17 > 13 (August 7 > 4)
    Oslo – Split 76 > 70 (August 36 > 27)
    Stockholm Arlanda – Pula 22 > 18 (August 9 > 6)
    Stockholm Arlanda – Split 67 > 66 (August 42 > 39)

  5. Anonymous17:33

    Not just throughout the month. Just got an email from AirSerbia that my afternoon flight on September 3rd is canceled. They offered to fly me on September 8th :)

  6. Anonymous17:47

    Heathrow has lost its prestige as one of Europe's leading airports in all senses. Imagine if an airline like Avianca managed to buy the Aeroflot slots the other day. Why didn't other big airports in Europe face serious issues such as Madrid? They have tremendous traffic in summer especially from and to LATAM and very busy domestic routes. Maybe AENA was smarter? Shame on Heathrow...

  7. Vlad17:48

    MXP flights got cut today as well, from 7x weekly to 5x. Utter chaos everywhere in the West.

  8. Anonymous21:39

    I was on July 3 pm flight that got cancelled on me a day before. I am going to be looking for a comp.

    1. Anonymous21:47

      Try getting a comp from LHR. Post a complaint on social media, they deserve it.

  9. Anonymous12:41

    How convenient for Air Serbia. Their afternoon flights to LHW are more or less empty as a rule, even at pre covid time.

    1. Anonymous12:59

      Yeah it's all made up. Air Serbia must have made a conspiracy since other airlines flying weekend afternoons to LHR are being requested to do the same. Air Serbia must be paying them.

    2. Anonymous17:01

      What’s wrong with you? Not made up, just “convenient” as I said. They were forced to introduce again those two weekend rotations, although they don’t have demand, just to retain slots.

  10. Anonymous14:25

    Heathrow is utter chaos at the moment. I flew out with my wife and child with Air Serbia to BG on 18 June 2022 and it was a really horrid experience. I’m flying out again day after tomorrow to BG this time from Terminal 4 so hopefully there will be less chaos and waiting in queues to check in and get through security. However, I did get an email yesterday telling me my return flight to Heathrow Sunday evening on 17 July had been cancelled. It’s not Air Serbia’s fault at all. Heathrow Airport sacked so many staff who have since found other jobs and are in a complete mess. The contractors who supplied the ground staff and airside staff did the same.


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