Belgrade airport seeks to develop a long-haul network

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Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport estimates that its continued multi-million euro expansion will provide new opportunities for the development of its long-haul network and further increase its number of transfer passengers. Serbia is currently the only market in the former Yugoslavia with long-haul non-stop flights throughout the year. Air Serbia has maintained services from Belgrade to New York since June 2016. The government has attempted to secure additional long-haul operations by renegotiating air service agreements with Canada and the United States, as well as talks with the authorities. Chinese and Indian on potential services. . In 2017, Chinese airline Hainan Airlines introduced flights from Beijing to the Serbian capital via Prague, but these were short-lived as service was cut off after a year.

During the pre-pandemic 2019 period, China (excluding Hong Kong) was Serbia’s largest long-haul market based on OAG data, narrowly surpassing the United States, followed by Canada, the United States. Australia, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, Japan and Indonesia. , Kazakhstan, South Korea and Singapore. Belgrade airport operator Nikola Tesla, VINCI, recently said: “Finding new markets and improving existing ones is of the utmost importance if we want Belgrade airport to become a point of reference in our region. We must provide Air Serbia with the necessary tools to offer new routes – in particular long and medium-haul routes – as part of its hub strategy. “The airport into a new regional hub and will offer new opportunities for the launch of long-haul routes, like the one we have to New York ”.

The biggest long-haul markets from Belgrade airport, 2019

Serbia and China have finalized a medium-term cooperation agreement until 2025, which specifies when the individual projects between the two countries will be implemented. Among them, the introduction of non-stop flights, which is scheduled for the second half of this year. However, China’s zero Covid policy and entry restrictions continue to hamper the possibility of potential services. On the other hand, work on establishing flights between Serbia and Canada is progressing according to the Canadian Embassy in Serbia, noting that it is now up to airlines to announce when they will begin operations. Canada’s Ambassador to the country, Giles Norman, said: “In May 2018, the governments of Canada and Serbia signed an air transport agreement that sets up the framework for cases where the airline industry aviation begins direct flights. The decision to launch direct flights is now a business decision, in the hands of the airlines ”. He added: “The introduction of a direct flight between Canada and Serbia would be very welcome by the large Serbian and regional diaspora in Canada and the Midwestern United States, as well as by companies from both countries. “. Air Canada has considered launching operations in Belgrade, however, a restrictive air service agreement, limiting carriers to two weekly flights, is seen as a deterrent.

Last month, the Serbian Foreign Minister spoke with Rahul Bhatia, the founder of India’s largest airline IndiGo, about the potential introduction of flights to Belgrade after the number of Indian arrivals in Serbia increased by 168% last year compared to the period before the pandemic. 2019. The Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that the launch of non-stop operations between Indian cities and the Serbian capital would further improve trade and tourism relations. He added that Air Serbia wanted to cooperate with IndiGo, especially with regard to flights to third countries.


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