Air Serbia unveils China strategy as launch date nears


Air Serbia plans to introduce flights to China’s sixth largest city of Tianjin in just over a month, with services expected to be scheduled in the coming weeks. The airline was granted a permit by Chinese authorities to operate a one weekly passenger and cargo service to the city. “In the long haul sector, China is one of the three most important markets. And it is forecast to grow much faster than already mature markets such as North America. In addition, there is great demand there for both passenger and freight. Another reason [for selecting the Chinese market] is that Chinese travellers do not need a visa to visit Serbia, and Serbian citizens do not need a visa to enter China. This is very rare in Europe. So, China was the logical choice for Air Serbia”, Air Serbia’s CEO, Jiri Marek, told “Aero Telegraph”.

The airline remains committed to launching operations to Beijing and Shanghai once pandemic-related restrictions in China are lifted. “We would have preferred to start with Beijing and Shanghai. However, there are very strict restrictions in China due to the pandemic and also with regard to market access. So, you can't just fly wherever you want. Tianjin was the best alternative. Even if we get the opportunity to introduce the Belgrade - Beijing and Belgrade - Shanghai routes, we might keep Tianjin. The city is connected to Beijing with a thirty-minute bullet train and is one of the largest cargo hubs in the country. So, for now it's an alternative but has the potential to become a permanent Air Serbia destination”, Mr Marek said. He added, “We are planning at least two weekly flights to Beijing and two to Shanghai with the possibility of increasing the frequency to three weekly and also serving Tianjin depending on the results”.

Commenting on the potential for Air Serbia to serve other markets in Asia, Mr Marek noted, “Our core strategic approach is to look for destinations that allow year-round operations. China offers that, and that is why we will develop the Chinese market first. However, in the long run, we could also envisage other goals, perhaps more distant or closer”. Besides cities in China, the busiest unserved destinations in Asia out of Belgrade during the pre-pandemic 2019, when the entire continent was still open for travel, included Bangkok, Delhi, Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Phuket, Denpasar (Bali), Male (Maldives), Ashgabat and Mumbai.



Comments

  1. Anonymous09:02

    If they plan to operate all three cities it means a third A330 is coming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:23

      Definitely. If next summer they start Beijing, Shanghai, keep Tianjin plus launch Chicago, New York goes daily and use wide body on popular European routes like they said they would then we will definitely see a third A330 next summer season.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous22:56

      They barely have enough people to work on one A330, two is going to be impossible, 3 is fairytale...

      Delete
    3. Anonymous13:38

      They are currently training all their cabin crew on the A330 and some pilots.

      Delete
  2. Anonymous09:02

    They should be starting ticket sales soon. It's almost mid September.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:03

      I'm really interested to see what will be the fares like.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:06

      Wonder if it will be similar to JFK or if the fares will be outrageous because the flights are limited to one per week.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:14

      Hainan Airlines is quite pricey on the BEG route.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:37

      Fares will probably be cheapish for transfer passengers. As for point to point, I'm not so sure.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:03

    Pity there are no plans to serve other markets in Far East Asia for the time being.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous09:04

    So they plan to start PEK even though Hainan Airlines is operating the route?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:23

      Seems like it. Maybe they cooperate

      Delete
    2. Anonymous13:26

      Stupidness .

      Delete
    3. Anonymous13:28

      Route can sustain two airlines. The route had huge numbers even when there was no nonstop service.

      Delete
  5. Anonymous09:04

    Another big step in the development of Air Serbia.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous09:06

    Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous09:06

    Still laughing about the fact that Ashgabat is highlighted as one of the main unserved routes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nemjee09:13

      Serbia-Turkmenistan trade:

      2019: $457.000
      2020: $6.06 million
      2021: $15.172 million

      'Serbia mainly exports military goods to Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan exports potassium chloride, urea-fertilizer, polypropylene in primary forms and toilet plastic products to our country. These four imported products account for 100% of total imports from Turkmenistan.'

      From the MFA website.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:59

      Hmmm, I heard their potassium was inferior.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous12:57

      Yes, Air Serbia should completely throw out any future plans of flying to Turkmenistan because of bad potassium.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous13:02

      It's true. Kazakhstan number one exported of potassium, all other countries have inferior potassium.

      Delete
    5. Nemjee14:05

      Ok, fair enough. In that case Air Serbia can just replace Turkmenistan flights with Kazakhstan ones. ;)

      Delete
  8. Nemjee09:09

    They should get the government to force the Serbian Tour Organization to form a marketing strategy for Tianjin. It's a large enough market to sustain 2 weekly flights if they get tourists to start coming to Serbia. One weekly flight is useless especially in terms of overall connectivity for transfer passengers.

    One weekly comment is obviously referring to the post-pandemic period.

    Turkey is a fantastic example of how well you can develop a certain market. Arrivals are through the roof right now. Good luck finding a ticket to IST in the next 30 days that's under $300. The other day I saw SAW-BEG flights for €900 one way. Unfortunately airlines are restricted by a bilateral otherwise there would be more flights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:12

      "They should get the government to force the Serbian Tour Organization to form a marketing strategy for Tianjin"

      Considering who is leading it and who works there, don't expect miracles.

      Delete
    2. Nemjee09:15

      Indeed though it makes you wonder if JU has people in the commercial department who could/would push through such a proposal. Serbia positioned itself well in China and Turkey in the past but probably because it was a high priority national project (and a good one).

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:29

      JU will need to do a lot of work to make these flights work and sustain passengers. I hope they have put a lot of planning into it, not just in terms of marketing but also stuff like having announcements in Chinese on the plane, Chinese options on IFE and so on.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:43

      JU needs to make sure good employees come back to the HQ and that people stop leaving.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:49

      @9.29 +100

      Hope they have a good GSA in China. They will need it to make a market like China work. Also they will need Weibo and other Chinese social media accounts for marketing. They will have to alter catering and introduce Asian meal on these flights and make sure to have Chinese markings in the plane, on the IFE system etc.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous09:57

      The Minister for Tourism in Serbia is quite a nice and smart lady. In actual fact, one the rare ones with brains in the government and she did some great work in the last few years. I don't know if she will remain in government now that a new one will be formed or if she will retain her ministry but I really hope so.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous20:35

      INI - IST, 9.000 RSD on Sep 20th... there you go :)

      Delete
  9. Anonymous09:15

    I think it's a good strategy.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous09:22

    I expected Tianjin will only be a temporary move. Although I don’t think it’s a bad idea at all.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous09:24

    It’s good that they will start China soon and use the current opportunities of being basically the only airline able to fly over Russia, cutting down on travel time compared to other European airlines and making themselves more competitive.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous09:25

    Serbia will probably be one of the first countries Chinese authorities will let their citizens travel to. There is likely to be a huge increase in demand when that happens.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous09:26

    I wonder how all of this will impact Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Flydubai which carry a lot of transfers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:28

      Neither of those three are currently carrying transfers from China so they will be fine.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:33

      Air Serbia’s blessing is that Aeroflot can no longer fly to BEG. They were the main transfer airline for Chinese passengers.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:35

      ^ It turned out to be a blessing for them in more ways than one.

      Delete
  14. Anonymous09:30

    Air serbia needs to start Lagos flights. Mega potential!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:33

      You already said it a million times. Don't think Lagos is in any of their plans.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:40

      Lagos must be in their plans! Africa is the future and lets start from the capital of Africa!

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:42

      Ok...

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:00

      Ok??? Wdym?

      Delete
    5. Anonymous11:50

      I agree that Africa is 2nd market with the biggest potential they should look at. However, without Non-allied movement and links formedćr Yugoslavia had with Africa, I doubt it will come soone. Maybe in 5-10 years some perspectives will open there. Here I am talking about subsaharian Africa, as North Africa as the Euromediteranian region should be "attacked" ASAP.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous12:23

      Hey man you forgot to mention that you fly there 10 times a day and that the flights are full!

      Delete
    7. Anonymous12:59

      Capital of Africa? I would rather put that in Cairo or Johannesburg.

      Delete
    8. Nemjee14:09

      There is no need for JU to launch flights to that part of Africa. They are in bed with TK right now so they can conclude one of their expensive code-share agreements and cover the entire continent via Istanbul.

      Other option is to see if their future Cairo flights will connect nicely onto MS' African network.

      Delete
  15. Anonymous09:33

    Very nice. Well done JU.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous16:12

      Done what?? Planning to, hoping for, getting ready to...

      Delete
    2. Anonymous16:19

      Finalised lease for second A330, got permit for China flights and will launch China flights in 50 days. So yes, well done JU.

      Delete
    3. Nego sta nego Well Done JU!!!

      Delete
  16. Anonymous09:36

    Is there any indication when China might ease these Covid restrictions which seem really crazy?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:42

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2022-08-02/china-s-covid-zero-strategy-could-last-years-under-xi

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:19

      I believe they will lift most restrictions next year.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:49

      I believe they'll do it after party congress in late October.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous11:00

      Hope so

      Delete
  17. Anonymous09:36

    Hope their fares will be competitive.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous09:38

    Anyone know the schedule for these flights?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous09:39

    Hopefully they have a good partner there who can help them cover domestic market as well as regional destinations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:43

      I wonder if they will cooperate with Hainan Airlines.

      Delete
  20. Anonymous09:40

    Flying to Tianjin is hardly the destination to make things work

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:03

      It's an outstanding and strategically located destination during this temporary bridging-period of China being closed.

      Delete
  21. Anonymous09:40

    Wouldn't it be smarter to launch this in summer 2023 instead of winter 2022/23?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:41

      The opportunity is there now to profit from the current situation in the world.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:48

      It looks like a good opportunity for JU, especially with many European airlines still not flying to China and especially since European airlines have to avoid Russian airspace, adding a lot of flight time.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:49

      Commercially, it makes sense.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous11:41

      Apparently they have also managed to get overflight discounts from the Russians and airport discounts from the Chinese.

      Delete
  22. Anonymous09:41

    I think this route, at least in the early days, will have a lot to do with cargo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:42

      Definitely. Cargo will probably bring in more money than the sale of tickets.

      Delete
  23. Anonymous09:43

    One week from today they start Kazan <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous14:40

      It is interesting Kazan was not presented at all through media as new destination, not even news here on this portal.

      I have some feeling JU asked press not to release these information as Russia is sensitive topic these days.

      Delete
  24. Anonymous09:50

    Can't wait for the flights to start!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous09:50

    With good pricing, they could get all sort of transfers across Europe.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous09:50

    They should work towards having a codeshare with one of the Chinese carriers on this route.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:54

      Agree. That way we can get access to their domestic and international networks

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:24

      I'm interested to see if any of their European codeshare partners will codeshare on these Chinese flights. Like for example Aegean, Bulgaria Air etc.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:26

      I doubt it. Does anyone codeshare on their flights to New York?

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:29

      Montenegro Airlines and Atlas Global used to but both went bankrupt. I think Etihad still does.

      Delete
    5. Nemjee14:11

      It was reported on here that they are working on a codeshare with a US carrier so soon enough I suppose we'll get a B6 code on BEG-JFK which is more than enough.

      Delete
    6. Etihad made few days ago agreegment with JetBlue and increased their flights to JFK. I hope Air Serbia will follow the example
      https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2022/09/12/uae-carrier-etihad-outlines-us-growth-plans/

      Delete
  27. Anonymous09:54

    Great news about these flights. I can't wait until they are finally loaded into the system.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Anonymous09:55

    What about Hong Kong? I think it has big potential for flights from BEG.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:18

      Yes, I remember reading it is one of the top unserved routes from BEG.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:30

      Hong Kong has a lot of passengers because many people from China use it as their starting point for travel to BEG from other cities. Now that there are nonstop flights from mainland, doubt there will be that much demand from Hong Kong.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:30

      Is Hong Kong visa free for Serbian citizens too? I know they have a different visa regime to China.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:34

      Yes it is visa free for Serbian citizens. Actually it became visa free even before China introduced visa free travel for Serbian citizens.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous16:56

      @ Anon 10.30
      Yes, Hong Kong will be used further, no matter of this flight. Maybe numbers will be a bit smaller.
      For some regions flying via HK will still have advantages.

      Delete
  29. Anonymous10:18

    About time to put these flights on sale.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Anonymous10:19

    Only serious airline in ex-Yu with some kind of plan and vision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:24

      +1

      Delete
    2. You are totally wrong. It's Croatia Airlines, for sure. Plan : feed Cartel. Executed :hundred percent. Vision : place as much as possible tax money into private Kradeze pockets and fill even more offices with highest class Uhljebs. Executed : hundred percent

      Delete
  31. Anonymous10:35

    There would definitely be more O&D traffic if they started Shanghai.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Anonymous10:36

    They will have to have a very good sales network in China and marketing to make these work. Chinese prefer to use Chinese airlines. Also they need to find a codeshare partner in China to offer flights beyond Tianjin/Shanghai/Beijing.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Anonymous10:36

    Who would have thought that Belgrade would have nonstop flights to Tianjin of all places :D

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous11:41

    I believe there is also a big opportunity for Chinese passengers to use JU's European network to reach their final destination via BEG.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:21

      Chinese passengers can come to Serbia but they need visa to reach their final destination through Air Serbia network !

      Delete
  35. Anonymous11:42

    Seems like there is a lot of political involvement in this route.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:48

      As is the case with most things having to do with China.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:48

      I'm sorry but where do you see political involvement here?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous13:09

      Don't you ever get bored of singing that tired old tune? In your little world, every intercontinental JU flight is "politically motivated". And even if they were, the current one is profitable and the future one will be too, so politics or no politics, its great that Belgrade is connected on a year-round basis with global megalopolises. A breath of fresh air when compared to cyclical, and often dismal, connectivity in the region.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous13:17

      Tianjin is not global megalopolis, that's where you see the political momentum. It's completelly unknown destination to Serbian population. Why rushing to start flying there in winter if not because of politics.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous13:23

      It is being 'rushed' because now is the chance to capture a huge number of Chinese passengers that still regularly fly home but have significantly reduced options. Now is the chance because Air Serbia is the only European airline that can fly over Russia, cutting down travel time. Now is the time because of significant cargo.

      By the time Serbian citizens can enter China, Beijing and Shanghai will be launched.

      If it were politics, flights would have been launched years ago.

      Delete
  36. Anonymous11:42

    I think this route to China could be more profitable than New York. You tick all the passenger categories - business, leisure (tourists), O&D for Chinese diaspora and workers, transfers plus lots of cargo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:19

      We have to stop considering "China" as market - there are hundred different markets in China and the success for sure will not be the same at Tianin and Shanghai.

      Delete
  37. Anonymous11:49

    Anyone know what flight numbers will these flights have?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:54

      Or what the flight numbers JAT used to have to China, since they used the same ones for New York?

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  38. Anonymous13:22

    I don't think Tianjin will work, nothing tells me it will work. It would be good if there's at least some cargo secured. But just the second JU long haul destination shouldn't be experimental.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:25

      As long as nothing tells you... they should give you a call from Air Serbia for your advice.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous13:51

      I'm sure they don't need my advice and I wish them all the best on the route. Peace bro

      Delete
    3. Nemjee14:16

      Anon 13.25
      This is a forum and people are free to express their opinion even when they disagree with you or me. I find that your kind of comment brings down the overall quality of debate. You should use your arguments to convince the other person why he is wrong.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous14:30

      +1

      Delete
  39. Anonymous13:49

    I think that Bali and Bangkok would work out for Air Serbia if they introduce them, maybe even the Maldives.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Anonymous14:49

    Always pleasantly surprised by Air Serbia news. Looking forward to more details in coming days and weeks, wondering what else is there for us to discover? A gift that keeps on giving, that interview.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

EX-YU Aviation News does not tolerate insults, excessive swearing, racist, homophobic or any other chauvinist remarks or provocative posts with the intention of creating further arguments. A full list of comment guidelines can be found here. Thank you for your cooperation.