Air Serbia: No appetite to join alliance


Air Serbia has reiterated it has no plans to join one of the major global alliances in the near future despite expanding cooperation with leading carriers from each of the three. The airline’s CEO, Jiri Marek, noted that the Serbian carrier’s network expansion is being aided by its cooperation with “feeding partners” such as Air France, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines. “So we have Air France on one side, Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways … we will be growing those partnerships further”, Mr Marek said. He added, “We don’t have any appetite in the near future to enter an alliance. I have personal experience with all three of them and we are leveraging at the moment being able to offer good access to the wider Balkan region”.

Out of the three global alliances, Air Serbia has the most partnerships in place with SkyTeam members, codesharing on 47 routes. Its largest partners in the alliance are ITA Airways and Air Europa, codesharing on nineteen routes operated by each of the two carriers. The Serbian airline expanded its Oneworld partnerships this year after striking a deal with Qatar Airways in January. It currently codeshares on seventeen of its Qatari counterparts’ routes. Within Star Alliance, Air Serbia has the widest codeshare agreement in place with Turkish Airlines, with its designator code and flight numbers appearing on twenty of Turkish’s routes (including two AnadoluJet operated routes).


Mr Marek has previously said he does not see Air Serbia as part of an airline alliance for the time being because it of the disadvantages it brings to a small carrier. “As a small airline, you contribute more to an alliance than you receive in return and your options are limited. At the moment, we can work with whoever we want, wherever we see benefits. We believe that our hub in Belgrade and our regional network is a great advantage to offer to codeshare partners. I firmly believe that in the medium-term we can be profitable independent of any alliance. For long-term sustainability, however, there could be certain advantages in working more closely with one of the larger groups as you can deal better with the volatility of the markets. But that's not something we're considering right now”.

Air Serbia was previously part of an informal Etihad Partners alliance, which has unravelled over the past few years as most of its members, which were partially owned by Etihad Airways, have gone bankrupt. The Serbian carrier remains Etihad’s only equity partner with the Emirati airline holding a 16% stake in its counterpart, although cooperation between the two is almost non-existent. “[Etihad] are minority shareholders. It’s not strategically driven, as it was previously. We don’t have any strong business relations anymore, even a codeshare. We are a member of the frequent flyer program but we are looking at options to create something on our own”, Mr Marek said.



Comments

  1. Anonymous09:02

    It will be interesting to see if they sign a codeshare with British Airways when they start flying to BEG.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:03

      There are some rumours it might happen.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:27

      I think it would make sense. I don't think BA's 3 weekly flights will prove some major challenge. The biggest competitor for both BA and JU is Wizz Air which currently has much more passengers on the route than JU.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous16:27

      I really hope they do a codeshare.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous13:25

      Joining alliance for which reason to get ban on flights to Russia their main market?)

      Delete
  2. Anonymous09:04

    I think the positives outweigh the negatives and with JU's current size I don't think they could be used as a feeder by others

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:27

      You would be surprised

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:04

    Is their new FF program still in the first phase of development?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:05

      Well earlier this year they saod it will take a year or two to develop so most likely yes.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:28

      *said

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:42

      Half of year one is already behind us....

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:59

      And? One and a half years will be ahead of us, which is what they said how long it will take.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous10:09

      Just a fact that 25% of the time is already gone and it seems whole project to be still on its beginning.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:28

      They are working on it. Remember that they said a few months ago it is between joining another alliance's program or starting their own. Seems like they have decided to start their own.

      Delete
    7. JATBEGMEL11:02

      @10,09

      So you are working in JU? Care to give us your inside perspective as to why you believe the project hasn't moved from the beginning stages?

      Delete
    8. Anonymous16:28

      I would be happier if they joined an existing FFP. I don't trust JU to create a functioning FFP of their own.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous09:04

    Oneworld would make most sense in my opinion considering TAROM is in Skyteam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:09

      +1

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:11

      I also think it would be least risky because it would be difficult to become a feeder for BA.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:17

      True oneworld is really missing an airline in East Europe.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:44

      I agree. They would be a very valuable entity in oneworld.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous10:29

      TAROM is completely useless for Skyteam.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous11:27

      I don't know much about the alliance, but I don't understand why there is this fire of becoming a feeder. Yes, Croatia is a feeder, but Adria was less as they developed their own hub model. Certainly Frankfurt and M√ľnchen were the top routes, but not to the extent how it is with Croatia.
      Also, why there is fear of becoming Lufthansa feeder and not Turkish airlines for example as they are in the same alliance.
      Also, why BA mentioned above and not for example Iberia who is also part of the same alliance?!
      Can someone please elaborate a bit, I would like to understand it better.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous11:40

      *fear

      Delete
  5. Anonymous09:08

    No need to join an alliance since there are no great advantages for now.
    Unless you want to become a feeder airline like OU. And look where that got them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:47

      Funny that 112 member airlines of the three major alliances find them useful enough!
      Not to mention the ME airlines and their smaller alliances.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:21

      Most member of alliances are bigger than JU.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:43

      ^^^
      And almost all of them gor bigger after joining the alliance.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous11:09

      Tarom included?

      Delete
    5. Anonymous11:59

      Sad to see TAROM as the most likely scenario for JU after joining an alliance...

      Delete
    6. Anonymous19:34

      Air Serbia grew even bigger by not being a member of a major alliance.

      Delete
  6. Anonymous09:08

    What is exactly the point of Etihad's 16% stake in JU? Considering the statement made by the CEO, I really don't see the point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:30

      There is no point. It is just there on paper and the government will use it either if they actually find someone else that is interested or if there is some financial trouble in the future and they need to recapitalize.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous12:00

      So is EY entitled to 16% of JU profits?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous12:02

      No. And even when they owned 49% of the company it wasn't like that (and it never works that way in business anyway)

      Delete
  7. Anonymous09:10

    An alliance could make them more competitive on the US market but I agree that in terms of Europe it would turn them into some sort of a feeder

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous22:36

      Adding more US routes, improving on board product and having US codeshare partner (which they now do) is what would make them most competitive on the US market :)

      Delete
  8. Anonymous09:11

    Not a single LH group airline among codeshare partners :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:13

      With good reason

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:18

      OU is LHG feeder and where are they now?

      Delete
    3. JATBEGMEL11:16

      LH canceled it's codeshare with JU almost 15 years ago. They were always hostile with JU, no point in being a partner with them.

      Delete
  9. Anonymous09:12

    It's unfortunate. I would love to see them in one of the less represented allianced in our region.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous09:18

    Is it true that you have to pay a hefty annual fee to be part of an alliance?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:19

      I think it is exacctly what Marek said

      "As a small airline, you contribute more to an alliance than you receive in return and your options are limited."

      Delete
    2. Anonymous22:35

      Yes , you do have to pay a fee to be a part of an alliance. Whether it is hefty, that I don't know.

      Delete
  11. Anonymous09:18

    Smart

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous09:18

    They no longer codeshare with Aeroflot?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:19

      No

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:23

      I'm more surprised that they no longer have any codeshare with EY.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:48

      Is it because of the war?

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:06

      It is because there are limitations to pay / get paid through clearing house since Aeroflot accounts are blocked outside of Russia.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous22:34

      Interesting, thank you

      Delete
  13. Anonymous09:24

    I think they should just continue their current strategy and keep developing codeshares with other airlines.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous09:28

    Airline alliance membership certainly brings with it a lot of benefits, especially for passengers.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous09:28

    Good luck JU

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous09:29

    I don't think JU would become a feeder by joining an alliance. It already has a well developed network. If anything other airlines could feed its Balkan network.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous09:30

    Wouldn't membership at an alliance save them costs in certain areas?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous09:31

    But what do the passengers want? Would they appreciate being part of a global alliance?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:32

      It would have benefits for passengers, especially with frequent flyers

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:38

      Besides diaspora and local traffic (which is price sensitive, and imo not really the target group to focus) not being in an Alliance is neglecting the most lucrative travel group which is business travelers.
      Most of my flights (approx. 30 return p.a.) are for business, where, I don`t care for the prices since my employer pays for it and I never fly with JU because I don`t get anything in return.
      For the couple of private travels, I mostly redeem miles I collect via my business travels, or if I have to pay then I pay a cheaper/the cheapest fare.
      The region might not be comparable regarding affluence with other parts of the continent, but that is also changing and just ignoring business travel, or rather offering very little in return by not being in an alliance is a mistake imo.

      Delete
  19. Anonymous09:32

    Which alliance do you guys think Air Serbia should join, if it wanted to join one?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:45

      Oneworld

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:47

      SkyTeam are the only sensible options for Air Serbia.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:54

      Would Tarom allow Air Serbia, a neighboring airline join Sky Team?

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:56

      I don't think so either. It would make no sense having two airlines from neighboring countries with TAROM already smaller than JU and on the decline.

      Delete
    5. JATBEGMEL10:12

      JU partners the most with SkyTeam and previously made efforts to join the alliance. Downside is RO next door and the possibility that AF-KLM would treat JU more as a feeding carrier rather than an alliance partner.

      OneWorld on the other hand has a hole in this part of Europe, left after MA went bankrupt and was never replaced. BA I don't see pushing JU to be a feeder carrier within the alliance, especially with the visa regime in place and slot restrictions in LHR. JU's 2 major long haul partners are One World members (AA & QR).

      I was previously very pro SkyTeam but OneWorld seems to be more interesting as JU expands.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous11:35

      Why Tarom being from the neighbouring country would be a problem and obstacle?
      Adria and OU were members of the same alliance although their bases were jout next to each other.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous16:26

      I also don't see an issue, especially since TAROM is smaller and the two even have a codeshare.

      Delete
  20. Golub09:35

    Interesting how these percentages will soon change - ITA will most likely soon join the Star Alliance and is questionable if these codeshares will remain in place at all (as someone pointed out, it is obvious that JU does not codeshare with a single company from LH Group, and i doubt that this s by accident), while Air Europa will also most likely soon be absorbed by Iberia and switching over to One World.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous16:25

      Yes, EU airline landscape will change a lot in the next year. Will be interesting to see who will JU keeps working with

      Delete
  21. Anonymous09:37

    Strategically for the short and medium term, I think it is the right decision but they should review it in several years.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous09:38

    Alliances are useless

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:43

      What makes you say that???

      Delete
  23. Anonymous09:38

    They need ASAP to do something with frequent flyer program

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:43

      +1

      Delete
    2. Anonymous16:23

      Why do people dislike EY guest? It requires very little points to redeem for return tickets and you can use on hotels too. I fear a JU program would be much worse, with fewer partner airines and probably full of bugs and glitches.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous05:51

      I agree. The redemption rates are one of the lowest in the industry and there are no fuel surcharges on AirSerbia flights. The system is not particularly customer friendly but it works.

      Delete
  24. Anonymous09:43

    "Air Serbia: No appetite to join alliance"
    Translation:
    "No alliance is interested"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:45

      Thank goodness we have you for translation.

      Delete
    2. JATBEGMEL09:49

      Actually SkyTeam wanted Jat Airways to join back in 2009, with sponsorship to be done by AF.

      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2009/09/jat-to-join-skyteam.html?m=1

      If SkyTeam wanted Jat Airways, alliances will definitely want Air Serbia. Especially OneWorld which has a hole in our region.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:51

      The fact that JU is mentioning alliance likely means they have already had some offers.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous19:33

      Think that JU longhaul flights does not really contributes alliance joining too!

      Delete
  25. Anonymous09:45

    I don't get why JU has resisted or at least has not been more active in joining an alliance. It is a win win situation for most participants, and I would think, even more so for a small carrier such as JU.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:02

      Nope.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:07

      Marek thinks differently.

      Delete
  26. Anonymous10:14

    Let them stabilise, bring that one or two A330s, get that FF rolling and in three to four years it may become of actuality.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anonymous10:30

    Does anyone remember how many codeshare destinations they had with Etihad?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Air Serbia had its flight numbers on 25 Etihad-operated routes.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:38

      Thanks!! So they were their biggest single codeshare partner. Although TK and QR are not far behind now.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous16:21

      I'm interested in which airline codeshares most on JU flights since number of destinations is not reciprical. If you know @admin would be much appreciated

      Delete
    4. In terms of airlines belonging to one of the alliances, Qatar Airways codeshares on 14 Air Serbia operated routes.

      Overall, Bulgaria Air has the most codeshares on Air Serbia operated routes - 21.

      Delete
  28. Anonymous10:46

    I think the feeder concept only really exists in Star Alliance where most members are forced to feed Lufthansa. But I don't see that in Oneworld or Skyteam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree. That's one of the things why some people, me included, name them Cartel.

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

      Delete
    3. Anonymous19:37

      Is LOT a feeder for Luftika group?

      Delete
  29. Anonymous11:36

    Skyteam would be the best for JU to join.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous16:19

      Why? (genuinely interested)

      Delete
  30. Anonymous16:19

    Disappointing. I was hoping they would join an alliance. Very beneficial for passengers.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Anonymous16:30

    Which routes do they codeshare with Air China?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous22:30

      Beijing-Vienna-Beijing.

      Delete
  32. Anonymous16:31

    I used to be very loyal to SkyTeam some 10-20 years ago. Alliances used to be simple, you joined one of them and flew it all the time. You earned miles and status basically irrespectively of which alliance member you flew each time, with status came lounge access, upgrades, and other perks. These days it is very complicated and there are infinitely many hoops to jump through. There are 10 tiers of mileage earning and non-earning fare classes, you have to spend $X within Y days on airlines A and B but not C and D, you can add only the operating airline's FF number at check-in and not that of partner airlines, this status gets you into this lounge but not that one. TATL upgrades (even paid ones within reason) are essentially nonexistent, and so on. I don't see how anyone who values their time would possibly keep on chasing this game. Pretty sure that elite fliers essentially stick to their home airline and any alliance benefit beyond that is just a lucky bonus. This is how airlines made it, and as a consequence the value of an alliance membership must have declined significantly.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Anonymous20:05

    Everyone is talking about JU being a feeder for LH group if they join Star. QR is actually forcing all OneWorld members to fly to DOH, basically making it another feeder. So Star means FRA feeder, Oneworld means DOH feeder.

    Personally JU should not join any alliance and restrict itself. JU should have the freedom to select any codeshare partner in any country it wants to serve. AA in the US, HU in China, SU in Russia and 6E (IndiGo) in India for example.

    Also, the concept of alliances don't work anymore and many airlines within alliances do JV and avoid other members in the alliance in the same region. Example: LH-UA trans-atlantic JV doesn't include LO, SK or TP in it, despite being major European members of Star.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous01:04

    JU should join OneWorld

    ReplyDelete

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