Air Serbia is to continue its network expansion with the launch of a three times weekly link between its base at Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport and Tirana’s Nënë Tereza International Airport, Albania's only international airport. The new route, which will continue through the winter 2014/2015 schedule, will be operated by an ATR 72 turboprop from September 23, 2014.
The carrier has embarked on a major growth since it was launched in October 2013 when United Arab Emirates (UAE) carrier invested in former Serbian flag carrier, JAT Airways. In its first ten months of operation it added flights to include close neighbours of Ljubljana, Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Bucharest, Podgorica, Tivat, Skopje, Budapest, and Sofia, many of which had not been regularly linked to Belgrade for more than two decades, while flights to Beirut were added in June.
This winter it will boost frequencies on many of its routes with expanded schedules planned from Belgrade to Brussels, Frankfurt, Ljubljana, Moscow, Podgorica, while Sarajevo will see the deployment of an A319 on three of its seven weekly flights instead of the smaller ATR 72 that currently serves this market.
According to a study by Oxford Economics, Air Serbia is making a significant contribution to the Serbian economy. The combined direct, indirect and induced economic contribution to the Serbian economy is expected to be more than US$700 million in 2014. This means Air Serbia will contribute around 1.5 per cent of Serbia’s Gross Domestic Product.
The new Belgrade – Tirana route will mark the return of Air Serbia to another former JAT Airways market. Its predecessor had served the city pair up until October 2008, at times offering a more than daily service. “The re-introduction of services to Tirana is an exciting and significant addition to our regional network," said Dane Kondić, chief executive officer, Air Serbia. “The new flights will support trade ties between Serbia and Albania, with Tirana standing as one of the emerging commercial and business centres in Southeast Europe”
In our analysis, below, we look in greater detail at O&D passenger flows in this market. The data shows that around 2,000 passengers a year still fly between the two cities since JAT Airways ended its previous operation. Alongside the point-to-point demand, Air Serbia expects to securing a significant amount of connecting traffic as connectivity into Tirana is limited. "The new services will offer our guests from Tirana increased travel options and enhanced connections over our Belgrade hub to 38 business and leisure destinations across the Balkan region, Europe and the Mediterranean," added Kondić.
Flight Schedule via AirlineRoute...
Belgrade - Tirana
JU212 BEG1320 – 1430TIA AT7 247
JU213 TIA1500 – 1610BEG AT7 247