Air Serbia to take delivery of second A330 jet in October


Air Serbia will add a second wide-body Airbus A330-200 aircraft to its fleet this October. As EX-YU Aviation News learns, the carrier has adopted the decision to lease its second twin-aisle jet. In addition, it has decided to launch flights to China that same month, pending government approval. The development will mark the first expansion of the airline’s long haul operations since introducing services to New York City in June 2016 and its first scheduled flights to Far East Asia since its predecessor, JAT Yugoslav Airlines, discontinued operations to Beijing in October 2000. Furthermore, the decision has been made as Hainan Airlines readies to launch its own flights from the Chinese capital to Belgrade this weekend.

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Under the Bilateral Air Service Agreement signed between Serbia and China in 2016, Air Serbia must submit its application to launch flights to China with the Civil Aviation Administration of China at least sixty days prior to inaugurating its operations. The application must include data on the type of services, aircraft, frequency and validly period. Any subsequent modification of the timetable must be submitted at least thirty days prior to start of operations. The Air Service Agreement also notes, “The designated airlines of each contracting party shall have fair and equal opportunities to operate agreed services. While operating the agreed services, the designated airlines of each contracting party shall take into account the interests of the designated airline of the other contracting party so as not to affect unduly the services which the latter provides on the whole or part of the same routes”.

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Last year, Air Serbia replaced its A330-200 jet with another aircraft of the same type, that has lower leasing costs, which is believed to have contributed to pushing its sole long haul service, between Belgrade and New York, into profitability. This summer, in addition to serving the Big Apple, the jet has also been trialled on shorter popular routes such as Paris, Barcelona, Zurich, Istanbul and Moscow. During the pre-pandemic 2019, China was the largest long haul market from Serbia based on OAG data. Air Serbia has a codeshare agreement in place with Air China between Vienna and Beijing, while in 2020, the Serbian carrier renewed its Special Prorate Agreement with Hainan Airlines enabling passengers to reach Beijing from Belgrade via Brussels, Berlin and Moscow. Most of these services are currently suspended by Chinese carriers due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

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