Air Serbia plans to start Shanghai, Guangzhou sales this month

Air Serbia hopes to commence sales for its planned new services from Belgrade to Shanghai and Guangzhou this month, with both routes to “definitely” launch in the fourth quarter of this year. Speaking to “Aviation Week”, Air Serbia’s CEO, Jiri Marek, said, “We believe we will be able to open sales in June and one destination will start in October and one destination will start in December. Depending on the slot clarification, we are still deciding which will go first, but both Shanghai and Guangzhou will definitely start this year”. The two new destinations will complement Tianjin, which will reman part of the airline’s network and has been scheduled twice per week over the winter months.

Mr Marek noted that China and Serbia have a visa-free agreement, which is helping drive leisure demand, and added that there is also a strong labour flow thanks to Chinese investment into Serbian infrastructure projects. A new free trade agreement will also be introduced on July 1, which will generate additional cargo demand between the two countries. “China is a nice counterbalance to the North Atlantic. It’s such a big market and there is obviously a big opportunity to grow, perhaps not in the number of destinations, but in densifying the frequencies. We are starting with a low number of frequencies because we don’t want to take any risks. We want to stay as a profitable airline. Beyond that, I think in two- or three-years’ time [we will look into] the South Korea and Japan markets”, the CEO said.
Air Serbia is set to take delivery of its third A330-200 aircraft next month with a fourth to follow by the end of the year, which will enable it to expand its long-haul network and effectively double its wide-body fleet. “If everything goes well and there are no issues with spare parts … we expect the first aircraft to arrive at the end of July or beginning of August. The second will be in October”, Mr Marek said. According to the CEO, the lease agreement for both jets has been signed and they are now undergoing maintenance.

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