European carrier, Air Serbia, the national airline of the Republic of Serbia, has signed an agreement to lease a Bombardier CRJ900 regional jet aircraft from Adria Airways to support its growing network. The four month wet-lease agreement is a good example of cooperation between the smaller flag carriers – Slovenia’s Adria Airways had previously helped Estonia to establish its new national entity, Nordic Aviation (now Nordica).
The aircraft, which is configured with 86 seats and will be leased between the busy summer months of June and September 2016, will allow Air Serbia to expand its flight network with non-stop flights to Hamburg in Germany and Kiev in Ukraine being introduced from its Belgrade base. In addition, the aircraft will be deployed on the carrier’s existing Belgrade – Sofia route, which is currently operated using an ATR 72 turboprop, increasing seat capacity from 66 to 86 seats.
“We are delighted to strengthen our cooperation with Adria Airways to support the fleet requirements of our growing network and offer guests exciting new travel options for the summer holidays and potentially beyond,” said Dane Kondić, Chief Executive Officer, Air Serbia.
“The Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft offers excellent performance and passenger comfort levels, and is a great match for our planned network expansion to two popular European cities this summer holiday season,” he added.
Air Serbia’s history of commercial cooperation with Adria dates back to 2010, when its predecessor, JAT Airways, established a codeshare agreement with the Slovenian carrier. Adria currently places its ‘JP’ flight code on flights operated by Air Serbia between Belgrade and Ljubljana, Slovenia's capital and largest city, as well as on services connecting Belgrade to Athens, Bucharest and Sofia.
“This arrangement with Adria Airways is a perfect example of the growth opportunities that can be created when small, like-minded airlines work together for a mutually beneficial outcome,” explained Kondić.
Air Serbia will introduce the four times weekly Belgrade – Hamburg route from June 15, 2016 and the six times weekly Belgrade – Kiev route will commence from June 16, 2016. The airline will offer a split schedule on both routes offering morning and evening rotations on different days of the week.
It will be the sole operator on both routes and will resurrect flights to both destinations for the first time since the now defunct Ukrainian carrier Aerosvit Airlines ended flights between Kiev and Belgrade in June 2011 and JAT Airways' short-lived winter operation between Belgrade and Hamburg between December 2006 and March 2007.