Air Serbia exploring additional US routes

Air Serbia is interested in adding more destinations in the United States once it commences operations to Chicago next year, which will complement its New York service. “We're looking at other destinations in the US. But again, our main strategy is to target cities that have year-round potential. We do not want to increase seasonality, which is already high in our region. That's one of the reasons we favour Chicago over Toronto, for example, because the Canadian city is not only extremely seasonal, but also extremely unidirectional. At the beginning of the season the flights are full in one direction, and at the end of the season in the other direction”, the airline’s CEO, Jiri Marek, told “Aero Telegraph”.

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Global travel data provider OAG notes that the busiest destinations from Belgrade to the US following New York and Chicago are Los Angeles, Miami, Washington and Boston. “In the US there is a strong diaspora not only from Serbia, but from the entire Balkan region. As a result, we have sufficient utilisation in both directions. In addition, we should not forget about freight, which weighs heavily on the success of the New York route”, Mr Marek said. The Serbian carrier handled 61.702 passengers on its New York service last year, reaching 84.6% of pre-pandemic levels on the route. In terms of freight, the airline recorded its best performance on record, uplifting 3.906 tonnes of cargo, up 120% on 2019.

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Busiest unserved US routes from Belgrade, excluding Chicago

Next summer season, the Serbian carrier plans to run daily flights to New York, a two weekly service to Chicago and implement a codeshare with a major carrier from the US, which would further boost passenger numbers. “We currently have interline agreements that work quite well. But we are working on reaching 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 believe we can announce this before the end of the year”, Mr Marek said. In 2016, the Serbian carrier courted several carriers over a codeshare, including American Airlines, but with no success.

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