Air Serbia, Georgian airports discuss Belgrade - Tbilisi service

The head of operator United Airports of Georgia, Irakli Karkashadze, held talks with Air Serbia’s Head of Network Planning and Scheduling at the CONNECT Route Development Forum in Tangier in Morocco to discuss the possibility of the airline introducing services between Belgrade and Tbilisi. Mr Karkashadze said nonstop flights between the two capital cities would be “important” for developing economic and cultural ties along with enhancing tourist flows, adding the airport operator was “making every effort” for the service to be launched. The two cities have never been linked with scheduled flights.

Mr Karkashadze pointed out Serbia as an “interesting” market for the Georgian airline sector and highlighted the 87% increase in the number of tourists visiting Georgia from Serbia in 2022 compared to the previous year, with the corresponding passenger flow number marking growth of 107%. In 2021, Georgian authorities first held talks over possible services between Belgrade and Tbilisi, as well as potential flights between the Serbian capital and Georgia’s third largest city of Kutaisi. The negotiations, which were facilitated by the Georgian Embassy in Greece, also involved potential services between Niš and Kutaisi. Both Serbian and Georgian citizens can travel visa free to each other’s countries.

Air Serbia’s CEO, Jiri Marek, noted late last year, “We are looking at countries like Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, for which Belgrade would be a good option for connecting to Europe”. Belgrade Airport has seen growing demand for flights from the main gateways in the Caucuses, which, combined with transfer traffic to and from Western Europe and North America, could generate healthy loads on nonstop flights. In a five-part interview for EX-YU Aviation News, which is to be published shortly, Mr Marek spoke about Air Serbia’s network development strategy past this summer, which will see the carrier introduce 22 new routes.


  1. Anonymous09:03

    Excellent. Really hope they start these flights

  2. Anonymous09:04

    How long would the flight take?

    1. 2h my guess

    2. Anonymous09:18

      Its just over 2.000 km distance so about 2.5 hours.

    3. Nemjee09:29

      My guess it would be slightly longer than AER. Unfortunately Georgia flights would be too long in order to comfortably fit into their night bank. It would be a similar situation as with their CAI flights.

    4. Anonymous09:38

      Nemjee +1
      Although I'm sure W6 would already be flying there if the bilateral allowed them.

    5. Имам искуство са летовима из Тбилисија за Београд виа Истанбул. Авион полеће из Тбилисија у 5:00 по локалном времену , а у Београду је 8:00 по нашем времену са два сата чекања. Временска разлика је 3 сата између БЕГ и ТБС.

    6. Из Тбилисија полеће.

    7. Anonymous22:22

      A u odlasku, BEG-TBS kako i koliko se čeka?

    8. Имате лет у 8:55 из БЕГ и стижете у ТБС у 17:05 по локалном времену ( у 14:05 по нашем). Лети се Туркишом и чекање између два лета је око сат и по/ сат и 45.

  3. Anonymous09:14

    Is there really demand?

    1. Anonymous09:16

      Serbian tourists and transfers

    2. there is no demand

    3. Anonymous15:42

      You bet.

  4. Anonymous09:16

    in which countries do georgians work? Which destinations can they use from Belgrade?

    1. Anonymous09:20

      Greece, Germany and Italy are the biggest gastarbeiter destinations from Georgia.

    2. Anonymous09:23

      And also Poland, Baltic countries

    3. Anonymous09:26

      Georgia is one of the countries with the strongest migration in the world, about 100,000 leave the country annually. They work everywhere, Europe (Germany, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia), Russia, Kazakhstan, Israel, Qatar, Kuwait...

    4. Anonymous09:40

      Anonymous 09:26
      Correct. But I don't think BEG is a good transfer point for Middle East destinations to/from Georgia.

  5. Anonymous09:22

    Georgia has been a top tourist destination in recent years. Look at the airport schedule, almost all flights are with tourists.
    I have some doubts about the transfers, there are enough P2P connections from Georgia, people rely less and less on transfers. In addition, Wizz Air will base another A320 this summer.

    1. Anonymous09:37

      True dat. Georgia is excellently connected despite being in the Caucasus.

  6. Nemjee09:27

    Even though these would be indeed fantastic, I wouldn't rush with launching them.
    They have been experiencing rapid growth since covid ended and now it's time to start consolidating their operations.
    A much bigger priority for them would be to attack Lufthansa in markets which were affected by their continuous cuts. I think I read somewhere that they canceled another 34.000 flights for the 2023 summer season.

    Focus on stabilizing your workforce, boost the morale at the HQ, standardize your fleet, improve your onboard concept, launch your frequent flyer program etc.
    I still don't understand why they don't launch a competitive corporate program. Our company used to be part of theirs and it was beyond useless. Without it they are basically handing over corporate traffic to Lufthansa and AF-KL. JU has a fantastic schedule in BEG for corporate travel but they don't seem to care about it.

    LH Group might have trashy service these days but OS and LH have the Serbian corporate market covered with so many flights. If we look at a random Friday in May, these are the departures offered from LH Group.

    06.30 LH FRA
    07.00 OS VIE
    09.20 LX ZRH
    11.05 OS VIE
    13.05 LH MUC
    13.25 LH FRA
    14.45 LX ZRH
    16.55 LH FRA
    17.20 LH MUC
    18.40 OS VIE
    20.00 LX ZRH

    If JU thinks that LHG is not monitoring their growth then they are mistaken. In a sea of cuts, Lufthansa decided against delaying their growth on BEG-FRA with this route getting the 15th weekly frequency starting from 24.04. These will eventually grow to 18 on top of 14 from MUC and 21 from both VIE and ZRH. That's a total of 74 weekly flights and roughly 11 daily if we include seasonal flights by EW!

    There's a lot of work to be done before JU can become a competitive and relevant European carrier. Right now they have a good selection of destinations, now they need to work on improving their connectivity at BEG.

    1. Anonymous09:43

      Again a long analysis not explaining what this is related to BEG-TBS flights.

    2. Nemjee09:52

      How is it not related? TBS would be a challenging destination for JU where they would face fierce competition. In order to fight them off and position themselves on the Georgian market, they would first need to clean house and put some things in order.
      It's a simple concept/approach that would apply to any destination they plan on serving regardless if it is TBS, AMM or OMO.

      Not to mention that the Georgian market is price sensitive so it's not like yields would be spectacular.

    3. JATBEGMEL13:25


      Well said.

      JU seems to be a mess internally which isn't good. They also struggle with understanding the concept of needing to perfect finer details, which has been the case since day 1 of rebranding. Onboard concept is ok as well, it just requires some tweeking.

      Fleet has been standardised with the removal of the B733's - ATR for the regional network, A319/320 for Euro-Med, A332 for long haul. JU crew can work the entire fleet, which wasn't the case while they had the B733's, which makes scheduling operations alot easier. From the older aircraft, ALP is the last remaining and that aircraft won't be staying much longer.

      The internal side of things is where the greater focus seems to be. Crew morale, as you mentioned, can only be made better with changing things at their HQ. JU is extremely secretive in terms of the salary, which can only mean the offer isn't great. Their crew last summer went above and beyond making their over ambitious schedules possible and that should be acknowledged and rewarded. Finances must be fantastic since they made public the profit they earned in January, which has never been the case the past 9 years. Bonuses would be a nice way to show appreciation and would be a great start. They're going to need their crew as motivated as ever if they are going to continue with their ambitious plans this summer. Keeping on the topic of the internal issues, they have a corporate program, however it seems as if it is non existent. They're really going need to focus on that if they want routes such as BEG-BUD to be pulled off.

      Having an independent frequent flyer program will be interesting to see. Marek made an interesting comment that they've been looking at programs around the world and will be picking some ideas to implement into their own program. Seeing as this year is the 10th anniversary since rebranding, I think we will see a few interesting things happen and not just the launch of their frequent flyer program.

      We're seeing an interesting period in JU. Let's see what 2023 brings them and how they manage the first normal year since the pandemic. So far they've had excellent results which is encouraging. New routes, increased frequencies, more aircraft, renewed and increased ATR fleet, the largest crew recruitment in the last 5 years, more long haul, schedules being tweeked. I feel another round of expansion will start around autumn which will include routes such as those in the Caucuses, once the seasonal routes come to an end.

    4. Anonymous14:10

      I agree with you Nemjee. I would also like them first to consolidate their operations and make some improvements within the company and then to think about new destinations. Also agree with JATBEGMEL. I hope they will eventually increase salaries to all their stuff. One can't forget about the staff when planning the expansion like this. Anyway, I wish them all the best in 2023.

    5. Anonymous14:14

      Sve gore sto ste naveli ima smisla a sve to ponistava aljkavo ophodjenje STW osoblja koje cak ne ume da kaze "dobar dan" putnicima koji se ukrcavaju ili "dovidjenja" onima koji se iskrcavaju. Juce cetvrti let da se ponavlja ista slika gde oni stoje na svojim pozicijama kao mumije koje treba zamoliti da nesto progovore ...sramota!

    6. Anonymous14:59

      I agree with the above. I will say however, I think JU is starting to transition from a slightly niche regional airline into a potentially serious player in terms of air traffic in Europe, eventually becoming similar to LO or A3 possibly.

      This has to come with a change in mentality at JU HQ as described above and it will be interesting to see if Marek and team pull this off themselves or whether a few fresh faces and ideas will be necessary.

      I think once we see that JU is long-term financially sustainable, a new phase in the airline’s development will commence, including all the ‘finer’ things and tweaks.

    7. Anonymous15:45

      Agree with all the above regarding JU nternal issues. But I must say bravo to their seasonality improovement. LF was very good this winter and stil is.

    8. Anonymous16:31

      JATBEGMEL, didn't Air Serbia mention some partnership with Turkish Airlines regarding frequent flier platform? Is that still being considered?

    9. Anonymous19:27

      Marek said that in an interview but many things he said never happened (Cuba, ten abreast on 332...)

    10. Anonymous21:05

      A very stupid and useless analysis by Nemjee.

      Thank God he isn't CEO or any post at Air Serbia.

      I don't see how 2-4 weekly to somewhere would change anything, negatively or positively, in regards to other problems and developments.

      They can both try to be a better airline and launch Tbilisi as well.


    11. JATBEGMEL22:27


      It's being considered but I think they will end up having their own program.


      - Cuba was never a confirmed route, it was being considered.
      - 10 abreast on an A330 is not possible so if you find that interview, would love to read it. Cebu Pacific which has their A330's at maximum capacity seating have 9 abreast (3-3-3).

      Marek has said many things that have happened. Long haul expansion, fleet renewal and new destinations to begin with. You also have to understand that he took over at JU in the middle of a pandemic. Airlines are still recovering from the pandemic while JU has recovered and is currently growing. His results so far have been fantastic and his plans are ambitious. This summer will see:

      - the largest fleet count since the early 2000's.
      - The most pax carried since the mid 1980's,
      - The most long haul routes and widebody aircraft since 1992.
      - the most destinations served since 1992.

      Just look at JU and compare it with airlines around it. OU, Air Montenegro, FB, RO, ZB, Albawings...I say let him talk :)

    12. Nemjee09:47

      Anon 21.05

      Thank you for the compliment and your kind words. Such input is always welcome.

      Since you can't see it, let me try and explain it to you through several points:

      1. BEG-TBS is too long to fit into the night wave, it means JU would have to be creative when scheduling these flights. This is where the first complication occurs.

      2. JU and BEG struggle to maintain smooth operations. This morning is the perfect example. Snow fell (no snow storm) and there is a complete meltdown at the airport. Even though this is not JU's fault, it shows that BEG is not fully reliable when it comes to sustaining all this rapid growth.

      3. Think of every route as one cell or tissue in the organism. If one starts becoming problematic then we risk having a whole series of unfortunate events. Have we already forgotten the nightmarish JU 826 from a few years ago? It's easy for Wizz in Belgrade because their operations get reset every night. JU on the other hand has the night wave where some of the destinations (LCA, CAI, AER...) can't soften the delay through a comfortable turnaround time. If they leave late, they return late. The rest of the network usually has to wait for transfer passengers. Why? Well because JU still has a low number of frequencies to key European markets. If they have 20 transfers from LCA to CPH or BER, they can't just rebook them on the next flight that day. They have to rebook them on their competition, put them in a hotel or have the flight from BEG wait for them.
      That is why I believe consolidation should be the next phase of their business development.

      Another problem is that they have several problematic destinations. AER is one of the worst ones. We are right now in February, otherwise known as the slowest month in aviation. Their Sochi flight usually departs on time but it fails to return on time. Here are some of the flights they had this month:

      25.02 05.45/05.59
      20.02 05.45/06.32
      18.02 05.45/07.00
      13.02 05.45/06.42
      11.02 05.45/05.50
      06.02 05.45/06.47
      04.02 05.45/06.13

      Most, if not all, of these flights departed on time from BEG. AER has a ton of transfer passengers meaning the rest of the network has to wait for them. This month only two flights returned to BEG on time (25.02 and 11.02). Mind you, January is not better.

      That is why I said that JU must first solve these kind of problems before adding more flights and destinations which carry with them a lot of operational risk.
      If they insist on growing, then do so in markets where there is room for the flight to return with minimal delay. Ankara or the night flight to IST are good examples of this.

      Adding TBS right now, which is similar if not worst than AER, only adds more operational challenges; something they don't need right now. As already mentioned here, there is a lot of demand from Georgia to Germany. However, only one destination will have more than daily flights this summer - Berlin.
      What happens if they have a lot of transfers to NUE or STR and the flight is late an hour?

      They have been growing quite nicely over the past two years. They should not lose their focus by forgetting that they still struggle with their operations and that we keep on seeing the same scenario play out when summer comes.

    13. Anonymous15:22


  7. Anonymous10:01

    "In a five-part interview for EX-YU Aviation News, which is to be published shortly, Mr Marek spoke about Air Serbia’s network development strategy past this summer, which will see the carrier introduce 22 new routes."

    Looking forward to this!

    1. Anonymous10:34


    2. Jasmineeeeeee!!!! Dje si? Kad ce s tobom 'vaki intervju? A, nece, sto li, pitam se?

  8. Anonymous10:44

    Could be a good route for Air Serbia to get transfers.

    1. Anonymous11:51

      it won't be that easy both TK and Pegeaus have 4 daily flights to Tblissi so it will be very hard to compete with them. You have also AF,LOT,LH,Aegean and Air Baltic who have dailly flights to Tblissi. However Tblissi is not very well connected with Germany,Italy and Spain and UK so there might be some chances, however Kutaisi has Germany,italy and Spain well covered. But JU managed to transfer people between in JFK and TLV so they will for sure catch here something but the question is it enough,

  9. Anonymous10:44

    This route would have to be sustained by connecting traffic on either end

  10. Anonymous10:51

    People who haven't visited Georgia really should. I went last summer and it is a fascinating place and very tourist friendly too. Tbilisi is a beautiful city in so many ways. But also the Georgian countryside is beautiful. The food is amazing and everything is cheap. I highly recommend it.

    1. Anonymous11:03


    2. Anonymous11:51

      Georgia has become an absolute hit, especially with tourists from Gulf

    3. Anonymous11:54

      Serbian tour operators used to offer trips to Armenia and Georgia

    4. I have been in Georgia 5 times in the past 10 years and I loved everything about the place. With a good promotion it could catch many Serbian turists. My sincere recommendation to everyone to visit this fascinating country.

    5. Anonymous14:38

      Been to Georgia several times, once on a business trip and although i really enjoyed their cuisine, it’s definitely a country which Serbian tourist would not like. Crippling infrastructure, very low quality sea (Batumi is worse than Budva), and communist buildings. Only tourists were from Ukraine and Russia who love Georgia.

    6. Anonymous16:35

      ...and Kazakhstan.

  11. Anonymous11:53

    This air-link would be a superb foothold for the entire Caucasus region.

    1. land borders between countries in caucasus region are still closed since covid..Air trafic is not much better aither..To reach Tbilisi from Baku, you need to go via Istanbul

    2. Anonymous16:36

      Are you sure?

      Stop please talking non-sense.

      The only border(s) which are still closed are those of Azerbaijan for tourist arrivals

      All others are open.

    3. Anonymous17:24

      Bruh... there are several daily flights between Tbilisi and Baku

    4. Yes, I referred to Azerbaijan regarding land borders..Sorry for misinterpretation...2022 I booked some months in advance several flights from Baku to Tbilisi and viceversa that were put out on, and all of them were canceled..Than I checked the website, route dodn't exist any more...After that I stopped even looking

  12. Anonymous11:53

    Tbilisi is a no brainer for JU. They just need more planes to start this route.

  13. Anonymous12:35

    It would be wonderful opportunity to advance tourism between two countries and transfers for JU by launching 2 weekly flights.

  14. Anonymous12:35

    The route is more then adequately covered by Turkish/Pegasus via Istanbul.

    1. Anonymous15:58

      And with Aegean via Athens

  15. RedE13:30

    I don't see Niš being successful without subsides.

    1. Anonymous06:17

      Love the context of this post.

  16. Anonymous14:35

    Apparently Aegean made Tbilisi work and they also starting Thessaloniki-Tbilisi flights. I can see BEG-TBS work too.

    1. Anonymous14:58

      between 40-45 k Georgians live in Greece besides Greece is a very touristic destanation so it's has everything to be succesful

    2. Anonymous06:33

      Then JU can thrive on transfers to Greece.


  17. Anonymous14:56

    Related to Georgia and tourism, how they are serious: Georgia is the host country at Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin, the world's largest tourism trade fair (March 7-9, 2023) and the General Secretary of World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is Georgian. It would be good to use the opportunity and to find the proper position for Air Serbia on the Georgian market for inbound and outbound travel

  18. Anonymous19:45

    "Bravo AirSerbia".
    Even more spending tax payer's money (pardon my French: money earned through creative accounting process that includes slight amount of tax payer's money) on meaningless service.
    Establishing Tbilisi while still having 2 pathetic weekly services to Brussels (due to "no demand", of course).
    Actually, I am sure it would be quite easy to have a creative accounting deal with Georgians.

    1. Anonymous19:47

      Did you even bother to read the article? Where exactly did you read they are establishing flights to Tbilisi? Get a grip.

    2. Anonymous20:22

      Air Serbia haters are in absolute shambles lol, look at this incoherent drivel.

    3. JATBEGMEL22:03


      Pathetic 2 weekly is there because the demand isn't there. Wizz pulled out of CRL twice (with the second attempt having such bad sales they never launched flights). What else to do, force people to fly to Brussels?

    4. Anonymous03:51

      wo cares about brussels i find tbilisi a much cooler, hiper and intresting place than Brussels. I would rather fly from BEG for a weekend to Tiflis than Brussel

  19. Anonymous21:25

    A lot of Georgians in NYC might be a good connecting point in BG

  20. Anonymous01:16

    There is literally no basis for these flights, especially considering how expensive Tbilisi airport charges are and their toxic relationship with TAV. Better to start flights to Yerevan if you want to go anywhere in the Caucasus region.

    1. Anonymous06:21

      How do you get from Yerevan to Azerbaijan?

    2. Anonymous06:34


    3. Anonymous06:35

      Tbilisi is the only place that can get you into Armenia, Azerbaijan and Ossetia/Russian Caucasus.

    4. Anonymous06:38

      So you can't get to anywhere in the Caucasus region from Yerevan.

    5. Anonymous12:48

      Yes, you can, to Georgia (and Iran).

    6. Anonymous20:39

      But not to all neighboring countries.

  21. Anonymous15:57

    I hope that Nis connection to Georgia comes to fruition. Although I live near Smederevo, Nis is my first choice when traveling around Europe. BEG cannot compete with prices from Nis. I recently paid 49 euros for a RT ticket to Malta from Nis.

    1. Anonymous16:33

      И колико доплатите за пртљаг?

    2. Anonymous20:38

      Bolje da neznaš.


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