Air Serbia seeks additional US destinations

Next year, Air Serbia plans to launch service to Chicago, but is already considering other destinations in the United States.

American expansion

Air Serbia CEO Jiri Marek shared with Aero Telegraph an overview of the airlines’ expansion plans in the United States,

“We are considering other destinations in the United States. But again, our main strategy is to target cities that have year-round potential. We don’t want to increase seasonality, which is already high in our region. This is one of the reasons why we favor Chicago over Toronto, for example, because the Canadian city is not only extremely seasonal, but also extremely unidirectional. At the start of the season the flights are full in one direction, and at the end of the season in the other direction.

The busiest unserved US routes from Belgrade, excluding Chicago, are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas, Denver, Phoenix, Detroit, Atlanta, Boston, Washington, Tampa, Houston and Orlando.


Air Serbia owes much of its success to the Serbian government which subsidizes and owns much of the airline. Photo: Air Serbia

The Serbian carrier already plans to have daily service to New York next summer in addition to two weekly frequencies to Chicago and hopes to agree a codeshare with a major US airline. Air Serbia has previously attempted to enter into a codeshare agreement with US carriers, but was unsuccessful.

“We currently have interline agreements that work quite well. But we are working towards the next level, which is codeshare cooperation with one of the major airlines in the United States. We are in the final stages of negotiations and expect to be able to announce this before the end of the year. – Mark

Latest news from Air Serbia

Earlier this week, Air Serbia announced that it expects 2022 to be a profitable year. Newly appointed CEO Jiri Marek said:

“We are a small regional airline and we want to grow with the market in a profitable and sustainable way. In 2021, we significantly improved our operational performance and even reduced our losses. This year we are aiming for profitability and we will continue on this path in the future as well. We want it to stay that way. Air Serbia will continue to be the leading regional carrier in the Balkan region, and we would like to maintain our market share between 50 and 55% in Belgrade. »

Prior to 2020, Air Serbia was making a profit every year from 2014 to 2020. But without the government subsidies, Air Serbia would have incurred significant losses. The value of the airline grants is unknown, as well as grants offered by the government to more than 50 organizations.

Etihad previously held a stake in Air Serbia, but recently pulled out. Photo: Air Serbia

Less than two years ago, Air Serbia received a capital injection of $100 million, but it is unclear how the money was used. The injection increased the government’s stake in the airline from 51% to 82%, which happened when Etihad pulled out of Air Serbia. As the Serbian government and Air Serbia are closely linked, Air Serbia was able to grow significantly. Mark added,

“Air Serbia has played an important role during the pandemic, helping the Serbian government organize repatriation flights, provide medical aid, etc. And I think we’ve proven that not only connectivity, but also significant economic benefits are the result of our operation. »

The Serbian airline hopes this year’s return to profit will start a trend of long-term profitability.

Do you think Air Serbia will soon be able to do a codeshare with an American carrier? If yes which ? Let us know in the comments below.


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