Air Serbia outlines A330 rollout, onboard product and service upgrades


Air Serbia is preparing for the delivery of two leased Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which will grow its fleet to four wide-body jets. As previously reported, the aircraft have been formerly operated by Etihad Airways and more recently by Air Belgium but were stored for over two years in between. Air Serbia’s CEO, Jiri Marek, has now officially confirmed the jets will arrive in July and September/October respectively, after which the carrier will expand into China. Speaking to “AeroTime”, the CEO said that initially the first incoming A330-200 was expected in May, but this has been pushed back until July, while the second will arrive in either September or October. Both aircraft will feature the Etihad Airways hard product, meaning a 1-2-1 configuration in the 22-seat business class section with all featuring direct-aisle access, as well as the standard 2-4-2 configuration in the 240-seat economy class section. Mr Marek noted the airline plans to refit its existing two A330-200s in the same configuration to provide a homogenous passenger experience.

Incoming A330-200 cabin layout (click image to enlarge)

The Serbian carrier plans to focus on stabilising its operations this year after two successive years of significant network growth which saw the airline add over forty new routes at the cost of its operational performance. As a result, the carrier does not plan to make many changes to its route network this year, as it “focuses on developing and improving its product and the passenger experience it offers”. As previously reported, this involves the opening of a new 660 square metre business class lounge at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport in the new C wing of the terminal, which will feature apron views, as well as an upgrade to the check-in area for a dedicated check-in experience for premium passengers. The airline is working on developments in regard to its loyalty program and is also considering rolling out new-generation lighter seats across its fleet. Furthermore, the carrier plans to further improve its catering options after upgrading its complimentary snacks on short-haul flights last year, which also saw the roll-out of new amenity kits in business class, as well as the reintroduction of pyjamas on long-haul flights and glassware as part of the catering offer. The airline is also looking to roll out in-flight entertainment streaming on its short-haul fleet after it examines the findings of a trail which took place on three aircraft over the past few months, if the results are satisfactory.

Mr Marek expressed his satisfaction with the airline’s improved punctuality in the last few months, after a less than stellar performance in 2023. On March 5, the carrier transferred its ground handling at Belgrade Airport to Menzies Aviation, which is off to a good start. “Strong support for Air Serbia's ambitious growth plans is expected from Menzies Aviation, particularly regarding on-time performance and passenger baggage management”, the company said. Air Serbia’s CEO remains upbeat about the company’s future outlook noting, “We are very positive towards future. We have reached the critical mass that allows us to think about further growth”.



Comments

  1. Anonymous09:04

    Good that the planes will have Etihad cabins. This will be their best product on the A330

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:06

      And that they will refurbish current 2 A330s to this configuration.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:17

      It's a great airplane for this type and zone of operation...
      Affordable, good capacity...
      Companies in this sad region can look up to this development with envy...

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:18

      These two planes in question have Wifi on them. I wonder if JU will keep it or not. I really hope they do.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:25

      Unlikely, they will probably disable it. Wrong move in my opinion but they disabled it on YU-ARA and didn't bother installing it on YU-ARB or ARC.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:29

      They said before that wifi usage on YU-ARA was really low.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous09:31

      They could have done more to promote it, including offering passengers to buy a wifi package when purchasing their ticket. It is becoming an essential amenity, especially on long haul flights and I don't buy their argument how it is a great way to "disconnect". You can disconnect by simply not buying a Wifi package. You don't have to condemn all passengers to your company's 'care' for passenger wellbeing. And there is even more reason to have wifi considering their shitty IFE.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous09:36

      +1 anon 9.31

      Delete
    8. Anonymous12:31

      @09:31 is right.
      and if they fitted wi-fi to the airciraft then they wont need to bother with the IFE. people would prefer to use their own devices to stream. also trying to promote year round business travel from Serbia to china and north america, that passanger demographic would really prefer wi-fi. time is money as they say and they dont want to be in a 10 hour black hole when they cant have important communication.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous12:41

      Take a break from the internet for ten hours, you will survive.

      Delete
    10. Anonymous13:49

      As someone who travels often for business, I would prefer to have the Wi-Fi option available. It really makes a difference to have 2 hours vs 12 hours to complete some urgent task.

      The times have changed in the past 5 years. The business trip used to be time off office work. You had meetings, you used to agree on some deals and projects etc. And then in the evening you could enjoy the location, go for a dinner etc. Nowadays, if you go for a business trip, you are still expected to stay connected and continue with your office tasks once you complete whatever you have to do on the location.

      Delete
    11. Anonymous14:22

      You definitely do not need wifi during your flight . Your budsines well knows that you are on the flight and nobody is dying. I often wly KLM with free wifi msg option and hardly use it on my 8 hr flight from North America. Most people I notice are not using it .

      Delete
    12. Anonymous17:33

      I am talking about a situation when there is something urgent. Most of the time, I would not be using it anyway. But there are moments when you simply need it.

      I could have had my daughter's concert the day before and finished working at 4 PM, instead of finishing a task. I could have taken a friend to the hospital - it prevented me from completing a task. My hamster could have died and I could not focus...

      There are simply situations when the wi-fi could come handy...

      Delete
    13. Anonymous17:41

      Work less and go to your daughter's concert.

      Delete
    14. Anonymous19:47

      @14:22 do you fly first class and business class? since those are the people that will be paying more and who will be needing constant internet access. providing a service to ensure that the premium seats are always filled will make a huge difference to the revenue and reputation of JU.
      btw i know its not great for a business to provide more focus on the richer customers and we would prefer the economy seat passangers needs to be put first, to have a better service but thats the reality we live in

      Delete
  2. Anonymous09:04

    They've established their market presence in the past 2 years, now they will stabilize their operations. Sounds like a decent long term plan.
    Kudos to Marek, those past 2 years was either go big or go home for JU, and it paid off

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:11

      It's not Marek who is pushing growth but the Ministry of Finance. Marek actually put the breaks on many proposals for growth.
      The government finally realized that JU can fill the budget instead of draining it so now they expect them go grow even more.

      Government's investment paid off, that's for sure.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:17

      the government has not done anything good for the past 12 years, this is all Marek

      Delete
    3. Nemjee09:43

      You are right, the government did nothing besides having the courage to kill Jat Airways, set up Air Serbia and continuously fund both their successes and failures.
      Marek is an average CEO at best. Keeping JU alive are the employees that have been there before him and that will stay long after Marek is gone.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:44

      Nemjee I usually like your takes but this one is awful

      Delete
    5. Nemjee09:49

      Well, we have to give credit where credit is due. This is the first government that had the courage to actually do something with JU. I am not going into what they did elsewhere but they did a lot of good things for Serbian aviation.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous14:23

      The success for Serbian aviation must be measured only in number of new Serbian air ventures and number of Serbian people working in Serbian aviation. Everything else benefits someone else, not Serbia.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous14:26

      Well the number of people working in the aviation sector has increased significantly, not to mention it has also had a positive impact on the education system with new aviation courses, reformed faculty for aviation studies with curriculum input from Air Serbia and CAD etc

      Delete
    8. Nemjee17:23

      The mere fact JU became profitable is enough to consider them a success. It's an investment that paid off itself in more ways than one. Not only is JU filling the national budget but they are also making the market more competitive by increasing its connectivity.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:09

    Cabin will be better than YU-ARB and YU-ARC.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous09:09

    "considering rolling out new-generation lighter seats across its fleet."

    Why does this sound like a downgrade?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:11

      Well in today's day and age most things presented as new generation are a downgrade.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:19

      @ 09:09 Why does this sound like sulking?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:25

      It probably means very slimline seats. I actually really enjoyed the seats KlasJet has on one of its planes which I flew to Athens (operating for JU). Leather seats but very thick cushioning.

      Delete
    4. Nemjee09:47

      I flew on LY-BUS to LCA and it was a very comfortable ride (B738). That said, JU has just a few destinations which could be problematic for these thing seats, most of their flights are under 02.40. I think only Moscow and Kazan are longer than this.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous10:20

      The lighter seats will mean less fuel burn and more profit.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:20

      And maybe even an extra row of seats.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous10:25

      Well they really need to standardize the Airbus narrow body cabins. Many have different cabins.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous10:38

      Only YU-APO has a different cabin.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous13:49

      Why do people expect cheap fares, but not expect a product that matches? Lightweight seats are needed to be able sustain pricing, less weight, less fuel. No one cares if you're happy about it. Your money you can spend where you want at the end of the day.

      Delete
    10. Anonymous14:09

      Ppl also complain why you can't recline in Wizz or Ryanair's seat. HA-HA! Ppl are there to complain. Usually when they are not right.

      Delete
    11. Nemjee17:26

      Yes but JU needs to be cautious. They are not cheap so they have to make sure they have a product that's worth paying for. Just look at Lufthansa. If they didn't have such a dominant position in Germany they would have struggled big time. Their product is not worth the money they are charging.

      Delete
    12. Anonymous17:30

      They are very cheap . Go to North America , flight Toronto Otrawa 25 minutes flight between 400-700 euros. You have no idea what experience it is .

      Delete
    13. Anonymous17:39

      * Ottawa

      Delete
    14. Anonymous17:54

      @Anonymous10:38 - not true, two ex Adria planes still have their old gray seats in quite bad condition.

      Delete
    15. Nemjee18:13

      Hmm... flew TGD-BEG in December on YU-APL and the inside was rather well maintained and the ride was very comfortable. I can't say the same for YU-APN on which I flew a month later.

      Delete
    16. Anonymous19:07

      YU-APS also has former Wizz interior.

      Delete
    17. Anonymous11:15

      Actually YU-APS does not have Wizz interior. Seats were changed to standard grey slim Recaro ones :)

      Delete
  5. Anonymous09:10

    Is it just me or does it seem they will wait for both A330s to arrive before adding new long haul routes?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:11

      Maybe they will use the first new A330 to increase New York in August and September? Or maybe they use those two months to retrofit the other two A330s?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:16

      I really doubt they will retrofit planes in the height of summer. You do that in winter when your planes are sitting on the tarmac longer.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:32

      Previously they said they'll launch new China destination the second they have third A330 since the administrative things are sorted.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:47

      Then it makes no sense to add additional flights to JFK in October.

      Delete
  6. Anonymous09:16

    I have a feeling this winter we might finally see some long haul leisure charters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:16

      If we are, they have to start working on it now with tour operators and start selling packages. Otherwise, it won't happen.

      Delete
    2. Charters are outdated, exept for Greek summer destinations..People in this digital world travel much more without agency package, but they organize their trip by themselves..

      Delete
    3. Anonymous11:23

      Not really true judging by the amount of packaged and long haul leisure charters from Europe this year.

      Delete
  7. Anonymous09:31

    Can they fill new A330 (or even two) without new feeding pax?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:34

      It'll increase their transfer percentage for a point or two, but yes

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:42

      It will likely mean big expansion again in summer 2025.

      Delete
    3. Nemjee09:48

      They might have a problem if their feeding destinations have a good LF right now. There might not be enough free seats to add more transfer passengers. Upgrading ATR destinations to E90/95 was a step in the right direction.

      Delete
  8. Anonymous09:34

    "We have reached the critical mass that allows us to think about further growth”.

    Could this be in relation to aircraft orders? They used this term "critical mass" in the past when referring to future fleet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:08

      Would be about time.

      Delete
    2. Slav.Man19:58

      question then becomes which aircraft to order? marek keeps saying he doesnt like the Neo aircraft but the a319 and the a320 will need replacing. maybe the embraer 195 E2 to replace the A319ceo. in high capacity configuration they have the same seats.
      maybe they will purchase the 5th widebody. hopefull thats the option they go for. better that be the one they upgrade first to the a330 neo or a350

      Delete
  9. Anonymous09:35

    Oh very nice that the new lounge will have windows. The existing one is windowless considering it's not turned to the tarmac. I'm just wondering where they will put it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:42

      Take your pick. Almost all the the commercial space areas in C are empty, expect for the Bistro bar.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:58

      The reason they are empty is because there is a mountain of bureaucracy to open a store. For some reason, they all have to get separate construction permits for each and every shop. It's just not worth it.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:07

      ^ Hope they fix that

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:27

      Almost two years since opening of the new C wing. Even buteaucracy doesn't take that long. If there are no fire hazard issues for the passengers, why would there be issues for the restaurants?

      Delete
    5. Anonymous12:27

      Because the French screwed the paperwork up big time.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous15:08

      Is anyone controlling those French on Serbian airport?

      Delete
  10. Anonymous09:57

    E195 is now scheduled on more and more routes from around 10th of April on.
    Great times for AirSerbia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:07

      E190 or E195?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:19

      Both are scheduled

      Delete
  11. Anonymous10:07

    Nice. Good luck JU!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous10:17

    Second of the two A330s will arrive in Sep, possibly Oct. That one will miss the peak season. Why couldn't they get them earlier? Someone said previous A330 candidate was damaged in the desert?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:19

      Because both planes are currently flying and are under contract with another airline.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:31

      The one in the US wasn't flying, it was being hoisted when it was damaged.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:38

      You asked why they couldn't get the two A330s they are getting earlier and I responded.

      Delete
  13. Anonymous10:21

    Building a separate business class zone at the airport and introducing such new services is rather exclusive for a European airline.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous10:22

    Do these two A330s have more seats than the other two currently in service?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:24

      No

      YU-ARB - 257
      YU-ARC - 268
      YU-ARD - 262
      YU-ARE - 262

      Delete
  15. Anonymous10:26

    Smart upgrades

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous10:26

    I hope they update the inflight entertainment on wide bodies. I'm a fan of Air Serbia but they need more variety on their IFE.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:38

      Definitely. A little upgrade to their entertainment system would be welcome. I mean greater variety of movies and TV shows.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:48

      I've flown with JU several times TATL and I don't think their entertainment system is that bad as some people write here on YU-ARB. There are Serbian and US movies and TV shows. The good thing about TV shows is that they load an entire season and not just one or two episodes like some other airlines do. The major issue with JU's IFE is that they update it with new movies and shows once every few months. So if you fly often, you will get the same entertainment options. On YU-ARC though I think it is worse.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous15:38

      I used Lufthansa on flights from US and they are even worse. Mostly old movies with couple newer ones.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous17:35

      LH and LOT have terrible movies. LOT on 787 has nothing . Bad in-flight entertainment system.

      Delete
    5. Nemjee18:14

      Anon 15.38 what plane did you fly on? On their A350 they have a new IFE system which is supposed to be better compared to the rest of their fleet. Their old one is quite bad, extremely outdated.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous20:52

      I flew on the Nikola Tesla plane and ife didn't work for me at all, wife's worked. I overhead a few ppl in cabin with issues too, but
      majority probably works fine. On way back same plane different seats, both ife for me and wife didn't work.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous11:56

      Nemjee last time on flight to US I was flying on 747

      Delete
    8. Anonymous15:05

      Hi there, as a First time flyer on Air Serbia(JFK-BEG), my two cents: 1. IFE is subpar compared to other airlines, waaay too slow to respond to inputs…(I thought it’s on AOL)., my froze mid flight, movie choices are limited, (under Serbian movies, only TWO movies!?), never mind other options, lack of WiFi is surprising also. To add, although the food choices are as good as any other airlines, the quality of food was ….well, awful… which was unexpected knowing the Serbian cuisine , which would b good advertising point for the country…

      Delete
  17. Anonymous10:39

    Pets on board?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:47

      Huh?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous18:35

      I sincerely hope not now nor ever. If you want to travel with your animal, get place in cargo for yourself, don't bother us others!
      And no, I don't hate animals, just prefer having them in the nature, not on board.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous20:14

      you must really hate animals.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous21:00

      AirSerbia accepts animals on board. Check it on their website. The animal ( dor or a cat ) must be under 8kg including the box for the animal and should be placed under the seat in fromt of you.

      Delete
  18. Anonymous10:48

    Good move JU.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous11:47

    All those A330 they have and intend to obtain are quite old, wouldn't it be better to bite the bullet and get something newer and less tired. After all they are charging the same prices more or less as other airlines that have much nicer cabins and interiors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:49

      They are just 9 years old.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:50

      The ineriors on YU-ARB are literally the same as Aer Lingus.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous12:35

      The same layout yes but ARB interior has so many scratches, broken armrests, window blinds not operational, not clean interior and so on. I didn't fly Airt Lingus so I can't comment but ARB interior is in a poor state and from what people are writing here ARC is even worst.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous13:37

      Both ARB and ARC have returned from maintenance and issues with cabin maintenance fixed. People being courteous enough to not destroy the aircraft interior in the first place would be great.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous14:49

      Anon 11:47 "charging the same prices more or less as other airlines"

      What other airline offers nonstop flights from Belgrade to New York, Chicago and Tianjin?

      Delete
    6. Anonymous21:09

      Well they should, but they are not brave enough. Comparing 330 with 787 in term of fuel consumption, difference is more than 1t less fuel consumption in favor to 787.
      If you add better cabin on which you are going to spend less money for maintenance, you are going to spend same amount of money for both but with 787/330neo you have better product

      Delete
  20. Anonymous12:23

    Looks like these planes are now flying for Srilankan, if so they might arrive in a terrible state. Recently there was an add about grounded planes in Colombo due to rats...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:15

      They are not, Srilankan is flying with C18 Y252 configuration, and that is not the one mentioned above (Etihad's), so do not scare future passengers with rats :) :) :)

      Delete
  21. Anonymous13:15

    @ Ex-Yu
    If I'm not mistaken there are 24 business class seats at seat map?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous19:55

      Regards my previous post at 13:15, seat map shows 24 business class seats but the text says 22. Ex-Yu typo?

      Delete
  22. Miroslav NY14:46

    Looks like 2025 may be the first year Air Serbia purchases new planes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous17:37

      Da li si ti realan?

      Delete
  23. Anonymous18:01

    The nexts ones could be the introduction of Neos to replace these old A320 and 319 ! :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anonymous23:44

    Maybe a stupid question, but considering there is a secondary market for seats: Will the seats being used in the reconfiguration ARB and ARC be new from the manufacturer or removed ones from other EY birds and refurbished?

    (not that is a big difference, I am just curious how the industry works).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous00:00

      Most likely removed from stored EY A330s. It's much cheaper and there isn't a major backlog compared to ordering brand new seats (there are big supply chain issues with the seat manufacturers at the moment).

      Delete
    2. Anonymous00:21

      Fair enough, so at least we can look forward to a homogeneous long haul fleet soon.

      Delete

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