Air Serbia, Turkish Airlines Explore Potential Joint Venture

The JV would focus on routes between Serbia and Turkey.

Credit: Rob Finlayson

Air Serbia and Turkish Airlines are seeking to expand their current levels of commercial cooperation, potentially going so far as creating a joint venture (JV) between the two flag carriers.  

Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on the sidelines of the recent IATA AGM in Doha, the Star Alliance members said they would “further explore ways of deeper commercial cooperation, possibly leading to [a] joint venture, which will enable the two companies to offer more competitive and more affordable flights between” the countries.   

“It is always better to have joint ventures compared to alliances,” Turkish Airlines chairman Ahmet Bolat told the Aviation Week Network in Doha. “But alliances serve their purposes. Alliances are not for marketing purposes, but at least they offer some standards for passengers, which they like. That is the reason we stay with Star Alliance.”  

As a part of the process, Air Serbia will introduce additional flights on the Belgrade (BEG)-Istanbul (IST) route from July, growing its IST offering to 10X-weekly flights, while Turkish Airlines will allocate widebody aircraft to the route 2X-weekly.  

Both parties will also negotiate boosting existing codesharing between the airlines

“When we consider the global network today, we see how important partnership development in the global aviation industry is,” Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Ekşi said. “Increasing the bilateral relations between our countries and improving the cooperation through our networks are essential for us, especially after the pandemic.”  

With increased levels of cooperation, “we are contributing to the further improvement of relations between our two states, in the interest of users and communities in both countries,” Air Serbia CEO Jiří Marek said.   

Under their existing agreements, the two companies have previously adopted and upgraded codeshare agreements for flights to destinations within the respective airlines’ networks.  

Additionally, Air Serbia has added its code to flights operated by Turkish Airlines’ low-cost subsidiary, AnadoluJet, between Ankara (ESB) and Belgrade. In turn, Turkish Airlines has added its code to Air Serbia flights between Niš (INI) in Serbia and IST and between Kraljevo (KVO) in Serbia and Istanbul.