Air Serbia is preparing to take delivery of several aircraft in the upcoming days, weeks and months, including ATR72-600s, Embraer E195s, and Airbus A330-200s with the airline noting network expansion will only be announced once the aircraft are physically on the ground in Belgrade. Speaking at the Southeast European Aviation Summit in Belgrade yesterday, Air Serbia’s CEO, Jiri Marek, said, “One thing we learned last year is that we won’t be announcing new destinations and opening sales unless aircraft are physically here in Belgrade for the purpose that we don’t get caught by surprise by maintenance delays. We took our eighth ATR last week. We are expecting, depending again on the successful completion of maintenance, the ninth ATR this week or early next week. During May we are expecting our tenth ATR to arrive. We are working on two Embraers joining the fleet. The first of two A330s was originally supposed to come in May but due to landing gear issues, but from one of the reputable maintenance providers from Europe’s north, that I will not name, it is now scheduled to come in July”.

Mr Marek noted network growth is on the horizon but warned, “Again, until the aircraft arrive physically in Belgrade we will not be announcing new flights. Once it is in Belgrade [A330], we will be announcing flights and opening sales, most likely Shanghai, and potentially also Guangzhou at the same time”. Asked by EX-YU Aviation News how its current China operations are competitive with a single weekly service to Tianjin, the CEO said, “At the moment the flight to China is profitable and it is mostly for point-to-point demand as it is one weekly. There are not too many passengers beyond Belgrade or behind Tianjin. For that, we will need to grow the frequencies, but we would prefer for those frequencies to go to Shanghai and Guangzhou where there is a lot more potential beyond Belgrade and behind Shanghai and Guangzhou. In the future there is potential to grow but long haul is a very heavy investment and our aim is to grow profitably so we won’t place capacity on the market that won’t be profitable. Therefore, we will grow steadily”.
As previously reported, Air Serbia recently added a wet-leased Bulgaria Air E190 aircraft to its fleet with another to join in June. The Serbian carrier plans to begin its own E195 operations in July with two jets. Asked by EX-YU Aviation News how the introduction of the new aircraft type within the airline’s own fleet is progressing, Mr Marek said, “We set the target [for the introduction of the Embraer in the fleet] at three months with one month buffer which brings us to the beginning of July. At the moment, it is going according to plan. We have already hired several pilots. We are also working on the introduction of the aircraft into our internal systems, starting from maintenance to flights ops and others. At the moment, we believe that if everything goes according to plan, we will have them in the fleet flying commercial flights by the beginning of July”.

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