Air Serbia Eyes Significant Expansion

The carrier believes it will reach 2019 traffic levels in 2023.

Credit: Rob Finlayson

Belgrade (BEG)-based Air Serbia said it plans to launch as many as 12 new routes between April and June.

The carrier did not specify all of the potential destinations, but it is planning expansion in Europe and the Middle East. Air Serbia did announce in January that it will add a slew of new destinations from BEL in June, including Amman (AMM); Bologna (BLQ) and Trieste (TRS) in Italy; Hanover (HAJ) and Nuremberg (NUE in Germany; Lyon (LYS), France; Salzburg (SZG), Austria; and Sochi (AER), Russia.

Air Serbia said that, “for the best part of 2021,” it had a market share at BEG “of close to or even more than 50%," exceeding its pre-COVID-19-pandemic market share at its home airport. The airline’s full-year traffic was 35% lower in 2021 veruses 2019. 

“Being flexible, adapting quickly to the market changes, using sound resource management and constantly embracing innovations, we managed to accomplish satisfactory results during the biggest global crisis in our industry,” Air Serbia CEO Jiri Marek said.

“We are looking forward to a further expansion in European and Middle Eastern markets, which awaits us from April and June, when we will be launching flights to as many as 12 destinations from the Serbian capital. We began a stage of continued growth as a regional leader, and we are on track to meeting the goals set already now for 2023—reaching the pre-pandemic levels [of traffic],” he added.

Air Serbia operates only one widebody aircraft, a former Aeroflot Airbus A330-200, which is primarily used on its sole transatlantic route to New York Kennedy (JFK). The BEL-JFK route’s average load factor in 2021 was 71%, rising to an 80% average during the summer months.

The carrier is evaluating acquiring a second A330, which would be used to expand Air Serbia’s North American network and launch flights to Asia, most likely to China. Air Serbia has operated cargo flights to China with its A330 during the pandemic.

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