Air Serbia evaluating winter long-haul leisure routes

Air Serbia has said it is looking into long-haul leisure routes it could operate during the winter months, however, the airline noted it is primarily targeting less served destinations. The carrier expects to take delivery of its third Airbus A330-200 jet before the start of the 2023/24 winter season, and a fourth will likely follow shortly after. Speaking to “ch-aviation”, Air Serbia’s CEO, Jiri Marek, said, “The issue of seasonality with the growth of the long-haul fleet is getting less and less problematic … We have a list of destinations which have positive business cases. We are just waiting to get the aircraft to go on – before it was the opposite, you had the aircraft, and you were looking where you could utilise it. We are definitely looking into the leisure winter destinations but rather at some niche because everybody is putting capacity into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi”.

Air Serbia was close to adding Havana to its destination network during the previous winter season but ultimately didn’t follow through with its plans. In March, Cuba’s Ambassador to Serbia, Leyde Rodriguez Hernandez, held talks with Air Serbia’s management over the potential introduction of flights between Belgrade and Havana. The two sides agreed to maintain communication and establish appropriate conditions for the eventual introduction of nonstop flights between the two capital cities that would be supported by local tour operators. Based on data from global travel provider OAG, cities that could be considered as leisure destinations with strong demand from Belgrade include Bangkok, Pattaya, Denpasar (Bali), Male (Maldives), Havana, Colombo, Seychelles, Zanzibar, Mauritius, Cancun and Varadero in Cuba.
Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News earlier this year, Mr Marek commented, “For us leisure destinations will be more opportunistic, and by that, I mean niche destinations, not the strategic ones. For example, there is high demand for Bangkok during winter, however due to overcapacity on that market, we might achieve full flights but not profitable ones due to low yield, as there is strong competition from Middle East carriers. However, we will be looking at winter leisure destinations. Obviously, we would work a lot with tour operators. In the past, we were looking at Mombasa or Zanzibar and some other options, but this will always be in synergy between us and the tour operators”.

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