PHOTOS: British Airways returns to Belgrade

British Airways restored operations between London Heathrow and Belgrade this morning following a thirteen-year hiatus, retaining its historical flight number for the service - BA888. The almost full flight also notably had a significant number passengers in business class amiunting to 38 with twelve rows dedicated to the cabin on the outbound service. The return service was also full. The Airbus A320 aircraft was welcomed at Nikola Tesla Airport by Emil Delibashev, British Airways’ Commercial Manager for the Balkans, Miodrag Mirković, Belgrade Airport’s Chief Commercial Officer, and Dominic Otway, the Deputy British Ambassador to Serbia. "We are very pleased to be back after thirteen long years. Initially, we will be flying three times per week. I am pleased to report we have taken one of the best slots at Heathrow for this flight, catering for both point-to-point passengers but also transfer passengers, particularly the East Coast of the United States, Canada and Australia. We offer seamless connectivity to these regions, especially New York and Miami, which are very popular out of Belgrade", Mr Delibashev said.

British Airways will maintain operations to Belgrade three times per week, each Tuesday, Friday and Sunday with AIrbus A320 and A321 aircraft. The airline last served the Serbian capital in November 2010. The last service was operated on November 30 of that year. Back then, it maintained operations to the Serbian capital on a daily basis with a mix of A319 and A320 aircraft. However, back then, the British flag carrier said the flights had become unprofitable amidst wide-ranging cost cutting measures after the global financial crisis hit the aviation sector. It also faced strong competition from both Jat Airways and Wizz Air at the time. This winter, Air Serbia maintains daily flights to London Heathrow, while Wizz Air serves London Luton six times per week.


  1. Anonymous12:51

    40+ business class passengers?! Wow.

    1. Anonymous13:23

      I was on the flight and it was very jolly. The only 'issue' was they didnt load most of the food meaning only the vegitarian meal was avaliable. But the bubbles were flowing and the crew were brilliant.

    2. Anonymous18:05

      Nice. Mostly Brits?

    3. Anonymous08:45

      Mixture. Quite a varied passenger make up

  2. Anonymous12:58

    There is an option of 40 business class seats on 320? :D

    1. Anonymous13:08

      You just move the curtain

    2. Anonymous13:09

      Anon 12:58

      Yes, British has an option to put the curtain after 12th row.

    3. Anonymous16:15

      Yes 29in Ryanair quality business class, looks like there is more leg space on Ryanair 737-800 newer cabins then on a BA a320neo. At lest there is plenty of free alcohol on board so at the end leg space doesn't really matter!

  3. Anonymous13:08

    This will hurt LH and LX.

    1. Anonymous13:10

      Very much. BA is dominant on North American transfer market.

    2. Nemjee14:00

      I think KLM too, they have an extensive market across the UK and some of the passengers will no doubt switch to BA and LHR.

      If anything, this is very good news for all those who are loyal customers of oneworld.

    3. Anonymous14:17

      It will be good competition for Air Serbia also.

    4. Nemjee14:28

      Wizz Air as well because LHR as London's primary airport will become even more accessible now.

    5. Anonymous18:57

      I do not think it will hurt KLM, as the airports they serve in the UK are those who aren't served by any major fsc and BA doesn't fly on smaller airports in the UK

    6. Nemjee19:22

      True though BA might have a deal with buses and trains like JU does. For example, some time ago I was looking at some flights to BHX from BEG with JU and they offered flights via LHR and then with a bus to Birmingham. I don't know if they still offer these combinations.

      We will also have to see what becomes of KL and AMS if the cap on flights takes place. Personally I hope it doesn't.

    7. Anonymous19:44

      Also maybe AMS or LHR have better conditions for transfer. I know some people from Skopje which always use VIE for transfer as it is easy for them to find they way in VIE. Some airports are xomplicated for some people, and some peoole will always use the same airport for transfer as they are used to it.

    8. Nemjee19:54

      True and many people keep on using the same airlines and airports simply because they are used to them. I am always impressed by Lufthansa's optimism when they try to sell me a 55 minute connection in FRA.

    9. Anonymous21:09

      KLM will struggle in future it would seem since amsterdam airport is planning to limit capacity by 10%. Jet Blue is taking legal action against KLM in new york for this.
      But yh LHR would be much better for connections to north america but also latin america for those traveling from BEG.

    10. Anonymous09:59

      DOnt think so. Britain still mandates visa for transfer pax so why would Serbian passenger go through that ordeal.

    11. Anonymous13:26

      Wizz should change the schedule as its departure from BEG is within 1 hour of both JU and BA. Move it to late night (as summer schedule) or very early in the morning (06:00-07:00) and compete on better schedule for O&D passengers

  4. Anonymous13:21

    The business class on BA888 had 12 rows but not all were full: seats 6F, 7A, 9A, 9D, 9F, 10F, 11A, 12C, 12D and 12F were not taken.

    1. Anonymous13:23

      Well it says in the article there were 38 passengers in business. If you think that is poor for an inaugural flight without any officials ok.

  5. Nemjee13:59

    Very positive development. What we need now is for Air France to return especially with JU's offer to CDG stagnating. They are stuck at double daily flights where a lot of them are operated with the A319.
    Luckily Wizz Air added frequencies and capacity to BVA so at least market to Paris grew.

    I have to say that BEG has a very respectable offer right now. I am sure it will get even better in 2024.

    1. Anonymous14:04

      "stuck" and "double daily" just does not go well together in the same sentence. JU's number of flights to Paris is amazing, considering there is also Wizz flying P2P passengers to Paris-Beauvais

    2. Anonymous14:08

      JU has been flying 14pw to CDG for a while. They need to increase frequencies to CDG.

    3. Nemjee14:11

      How is it amazing when they have been operating double daily since 2013? (in summer)
      They are not even operating the A320 by default on the route.

    4. Anonymous14:49

      They need to increase it to at least 18pw in summer.

    5. Anonymous15:01

      Where does it stop though?

    6. Anonymous15:36

      BEG had respectable offer even before 3rd line to London. Adding brand new destinations always beats adding a 3rd choice.

    7. Nemjee15:40

      Ano 15.01
      Depends on the market size. However Paris is a major global city and CDG is equally so a major global airport. At CDG JU actually code-shares with Air France meaning it's a route with feed on both ends.

      It's kind of strange that they have the same number of flights as they do to places like Athens. CDG should be minimum 21 weekly, at least in summer.

    8. Anonymous15:54

      BEG is already well connected to other major airports that offer almost the same connectivity options as CDG: FRA LHR IST JFK MAD FCO ZRH MUC PEK etc.

      Asking for 3rd route is like arguing UA adding EWR BEG and AA adding JFK BEG is more important for Belgrade than JU launch of BEG ORD

    9. Nemjee17:56

      Erm no. LHR is a BA hub while JU doesn't have a codeshare with them so all connections were done via interline. Only now did we get a true connection to LHR as a global hub. Not only do we have access to BA's network but there is also AA.

      The situation is even worse in MAD since JU doesn't even have an interline with IB. They rely on the relatively weak Air Europa.

    10. Anonymous18:12

      Frequencies should increase next year as Paris will host Olympic Games.

    11. Anonymous18:35

      Air Serbia flies only 3x a week to Madrid.
      With such pathetic frequencies nobody should be surprised about Iberia ignoring them.

    12. Anonymous18:41

      ^ your logic is so wrong that I'm lost for words.

    13. Nemjee18:47

      I think Wizz will add Madrid in one of their next expansions. Market seems to be there.

      As for Latin America I guess most will fly via other European hubs such as AMS, CDG, FRA and now LHR.

    14. Anonymous18:51

      Nemjee following your flawed logic, BEG passengers would be better served if Air Serbia stops flying to global hubs like LHR CDG MAD FCO FRA etc so that only airlines based at those hubs could offer BEG passengers awesome transfer options JU can't match. That flawed logic has been soundly defeated in ZAG and many other places. More destinations like LIS will always beat more connection options.

    15. Anonymous18:55

      Third service to London and Paris are mostly for the benefit of those seeking lower prices, not those unable to reach destinations with current options.

    16. Anonymous19:03

      Let's consider BEG-ORD passenger last year. Most options were with Star Alliance airlines. BA was not an option.

      Is it more important to gain BA option via LHR or to get nonstop JU BEG-ORD? It's a rethorical question Nemjee.

    17. Nemjee19:34

      No one said JU should stop flying to major hubs but when they do it's for two reasons:

      1. to handle O&D demand.
      2. to carry transfers flying via BEG.

      So when it comes to, for example, Air Serbia's flights to Frankfurt, they carry point to point traffic and then those passengers who choose to fly via BEG to FRA from one of the destinations served by JU, for example DBV-BEG-FRA.

      However saying that passengers can have access to a hub such as FRA or LHR simply because JU flies there is faulty. We get access to the market itself but not to the destination that are offered from there with airlines such as BA or LH. Though with BA we get access to certain places that are covered with the interline - weakest form of agreement between airlines.

      With British Airways resuming BEG we get access to the BA and AA network on top of additional competition on the BEG-LON market. Increased competition usually results in lower fares. Given how much JU was charging to London any additional competition is more than welcome.

      So yes, in hubs such as LHR, MAD and FRA JU can't offer a vast array of connections as they lack a code-share agreement with airlines that are based there (BA, IB and LH).
      When it comes to CDG and FCO they have access to Air France's and ITA's network because those airlines signed a code-share agreement with them.

      Same applies to AMS. However, it's worth noting that once KL resumed BEG they revised their code-share not to include BEG-AMS so as not to share this market with JU. They only cooperate when it comes to the transfer market.

      There is a reason why JU was insisting on signing a code-share agreement with TK. They were right as it opened up a whole world beyond IST for them. That is why this time around it is easier for them to make this route work than it was in the past.

      When it comes to OU, your comparison makes no sense because their existence boils down to blindly feeding LH Group... not even all of Star Alliance, just LH Group. That is why both OU and TP failed on ZAG-LIS despite having feed on both ends.

    18. Anonymous19:45

      None of what you wrote disputes my comment that adding new destinations beats adding more providers on existing routes.

    19. Nemjee19:58

      That's because you are looking at it from an overly simplistic point of view.
      By that logic for BEG it would be better to get a new connection to Plovdiv or Alexandria than it would be for UA to launch ORD-BEG or for IB to launch MAD-BEG.

    20. Anonymous21:29

      Of course it would. For Belgrade passengers is far more important to have new nonstop connections to BUSIEST unserved destinations than to have UA offer connections via ORD to places like Duluth.

    21. Nemjee22:25

      '...that adding new destinations beats adding more providers on existing routes.'

      So wait, now we are seeing a new argument from you. So we are no longer talking about new destinations overall but actually to BUSIEST unserved destinations. I see. Let's adjust our discussion to this new moment.

      So let me put this into perspective. As reported here, MAN is currently the busiest unserved destination from BEG with 10.000 point to point passengers per year. In other words a market with roughly 14 one way passengers per day.

      This connection would be more valuable than, let's say, getting IB in Belgrade which would open BEG's catchment area to their entire network which spreads across the Iberian peninsula, a large chunk of Africa and then all of Latin America.
      Then we have UA from ORD as another example. Not only would their flights lower fares for O&D passengers, provide them with more flexibility but they would also give us access to UA's vast domestic and international network to which we currently don't have access despite JU flying to ORD.
      I am not sure but I think UA offers a lot more via ORD than Duluth. I might be wrong though.

      So how are these 14 passengers per day more valuable than gaining access to these two extensive networks offered by IB and UA?

    22. Nemjee22:43

      I would like to add a side note, just look at how much more competitive JU has become since W6 started challenging them on so many key markets. Competition breeds success, that's a fact. With airlines fighting for superiority within a certain market it allows that same market to grow and mature much faster. Look at what happened in BCN or FCO.

      That is why I believe that there are times when adding more competition to a certain market brings more value than simply adding a new destination. What would we profit from more? If JU was to launch Innsbruck flights or if Wizz Air launched Vienna and actually broke the JU-OS duopoly?

    23. Anonymous03:45


    24. Anonymous04:07

      Wizz in SKP would not agree with Competition breeds success. Most Wizz routes there have no competiton, tenders are tailored mostly for them. Near monopoly is good for them.

      Competition already existed on London Belgrade route. Not enough? Remember what happened when three airlines were operating Geneva Belgrade route. Greedy passengers were happy but market could not sustain it. Now it's down to one.

      MAN BEG nonstop would push passenger numbers up, it would not operate daily and would add 30-40% transfers via BEG, so more than enough for 2-3 weekly Embraer service.

      You talk about UA's vast domestic and international network but most of that network has very little demand from BEG like Duluth. Destinations with MOST demand beyond ORD like LAX are already covered by JU interline with AA.

      Asking for 3rd airline on existing city pair comes down to passengers expecting to fly dirt cheap. Some also feel flying with Air Serbia is not as fancy as flying with LH KL AF BA but I don't have cure for them.

    25. Nemjee07:51

      Your argument about Wizz in SKP is not valid because I was not speaking about success from the point of view of airlines but rather passengers. There is a reason why the North Macedonian government is constantly pushing to diversify SKP's offer. If they were truly happy with a single airline dominating the market then they wouldn't be doing it, right?

      Competition to London existed but it was indirect as two different airports were served. Luton is nowhere near central London and it serves a specific area of the city. Heathrow is the most premium airport in the city and that is where we didn't have any competition.

      As for Geneva, let me remind you that one of the three airlines you mentioned used to operated the route with a SAAB which was anything and everything but economical. So you were going up against easyJet with an outdated product. What could go wrong when a tiny regional turboprop has to face a high density A319 on a 2 hour flight?
      As for JU, well they flew the route twice a week with a plane that was equally so inadequate. If they decided to launch it now with the Embraer then I am certain they would perform much better.

      Take BEG-BER as an example. A large market where JU did really well but where they abused their position by charging crazy fares. easyJet failed here but Wizz Air seems to be doing really well. Their entry into this market forced JU not only to lower fares but also to increase flights in order to maintain a competitive advantage. Despite doing this they did not record losses nor did they reduce their schedule. More competition enlarged the market so obviously there is more than enough room for several players. In order words, increased competition did not trash yields but it made BEG even more attractive for passengers from its catchment area. Not to mention that with more flights to Berlin, JU became more attractive to transfer passengers heading to/from Berlin.

      Not necessarily. BEG-MAN's launch doesn't guarantee that numbers would grow enough. We've seen JU struggle on several routes only to eventually discontinue them. On top of that, MAN doesn't fit into their schedule so flight times would have to be odd. At the moment BEG-MAN would be a high risk route that would take up a plane for more than a single wave. JU's network is still weak in order to operate such routes.
      After all, didn't we read how BEG-KWI has a certain amount of demand yet Jazeera failed despite offering connections? Just because there is a certain amount of demand doesn't mean it's enough to sustain non-stop flights. So in conclusion, Wizz Air launched Berlin and both airlines ended up doing fine. Jazeera launched an unserved route and they failed. So from this example we can see that your initial argument is flawed:

      ' None of what you wrote disputes my comment that adding new destinations beats adding more providers on existing routes.'

      So now you are implying that JU-AA interline is as strong a competitor as UA on UA would be via ORD? Have you looked at fares, times and prices for the JU-AA interline? More often than not flight times don't even match.
      FYI I checked connections to LAX on JU's website and on certain days you are offered a flight that arrives in the evening to ORD while your flight to LAX departs next morning at 06.15. That doesn't seem too appealing.

      This is their best offer on Wednesdays:

      BEG-ORD 17.20-20.50 A332
      ORD-LAX 06.15-08.46 B738

      On Saturdays their offer is slightly better:

      BEG-ORD 07.00-10.30 A332
      ORD-LAX 20.28-23.03 B738

      True, you don't get to spend the night at ORD but at least you have a connection with over 9 hours. These connections to Los Angeles don't seem too appealing to me and I don't see why someone would buy them instead of going via one of the major European hubs. The same way they could be flying via ORD with UA.

      Passengers will expect to fly dirt cheap regardless of how many airlines operate on a certain route. That is why many have flocked to fly on Wizz Air from Berlin simply because JU was extremely expensive for many years as it enjoyed a monopoly on the route.

    26. Anonymous15:00

      You dont understand SKP Wizz relationship. SKP is opening up routes like SJJ SKP where Wizz is clearly not interested. Wizz interests are protected in SKP.

      Passenger interest are best served by 23 new destinations launched this year by Air Serbia, more than any other airline. Beats transfer connectivity by BA.

      Your posts show bias towards airlines other than JU, also shown in previous weeks and months. Most people i tlked to in Germany show bias towards LH, same in France towards AF. But then there is minority that doesn't prefers flag carrier, just like you.

    27. Nemjee19:42

      Sure, how about you stick to one argument because you changed yours with every reply and now you started with personal attacks. I guess there is nothing more to add.

      Have a great evening.

    28. Anonymous21:27

      Attacks are not personal. Your views are wrong and that deserves response. BA didn't return to BEG out of altruistic causes to help Belgrade passengers get lower prices to London. They noticed Air Serbia had 5 weekly flights to North America, 10 this year during summer, with number trending up in coming years. That's primary driver and you seem to enjoy it.

  6. Anonymous15:19

    I wonder if they’ll ever come to Sarajevo

    1. Anonymous15:51

      Sarajevo has proven to be a hard market from the UK (amongst others). Its very unlikely until visas are removed, which the whole region should be lobbying for!!

    2. Anonymous18:13

      +1 for lobbying.

    3. Anonymous13:19

      I travel weekly BEG-LON. Wizz A321 flights are 90+% full all the time, 5 times per week even with a crap winter schedule. Half the passengers are foreigners. Visa argument is non-existent.

  7. Anonymous17:43

    No thanks. Too little too late.

  8. Anonymous18:16

    We still need visa for the UK. I hope that are we going to travel to the UK without visa.

    1. Anonymous19:51

      Not coming anytime soon.

  9. Anonymous18:45

    Great pics :) thank you

  10. Anonymous19:18

    Does BA serve any other destination in exyu other than Beg and Zag

    1. Anonymous19:51


  11. Anonymous20:27

    I am not really happy that they are back in beg, they will take away JU high yield passengers.

    1. Anonymous21:52

      Really ????? Then tell to the BEG airport to kick out all the airlines and let alone Air Serbia ! Happy ????

  12. Anonymous20:51

    See how much JU charges from Moscow to Belgrade is outragous

    1. Anonymous03:52

      Air Serbia isn't a charity.

  13. Anonymous20:54

    Besides it makes no sense SVo To LHR via Belgrade if you tried to look at BA it just doesen't make sense as connections are ñot possible

  14. Anonymous13:16

    It is funny that all 3 airlines depart from BEG to London within 2 hours. JU, I presume, has no flexibility on LHR slots, while BA times its BEG flights with connections.
    Wizz should look to move the flight to some other time. Either same as summer schedule (late night) or very early in the morning (06:00-07:00)


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