Air Serbia plans to keep thirteen destinations it launched this summer season into next winter, which begins on October 29 in the aviation calendar this year. The Serbian carrier will continue to operate services from Belgrade to Tel Aviv, Chicago, Marseille, Lisbon, Krakow, Izmir, Hamburg, Gothenburg, Florence, Ankara, Cologne, Cairo and Budapest. Routes that were introduced this summer but are being marketed as seasonal flights only include Catania, Naples, Palermo, Heraklion, Rhodes, Corfu, Chania, Varna and Ohrid. Changes still remain possible as the airline is yet to finalise its 2023/24 winter season network. According to Air Serbia’s CEO, Jiri Marek, the carrier continues to review its network on an “almost daily” basis.
The Serbian flag carrier has said the new routes launched this summer have all proven successful. “We are very satisfied with all the steps taken so far and the newly launched routes. All are performing well. Of course, some better than others. When you plan for a new destination, it takes some time for it to develop. However, we are noticing a new trend, especially in the post-Covid period, where every new route starts working from day one. We have many examples of new routes being completely sold out within a few weeks of going on sale”, the airline said last month.
Air Serbia is adjusting to new demand patterns among customers. Mr Marek told the “Flight Global” magazine, “One of the most significant changes we have seen is the typically strong days such as Monday, Friday and Sunday, it doesn’t work that way anymore. Now, for example, our strongest day is Thursday. A lot of people work from home more, so it doesn’t really matter where your home is, so we see a flattening of the deviation during the weekdays. We also see that seasonality is getting much more extended. We had a very successful and profitable winter, which was never happening before”. He added, “The changes that will hopefully not stay are these last-minute booking windows. It’s destination by destination, but still the majority of bookings are happening at the last minute. There have also been shifts in the types of passengers travelling, notably towards the premium leisure segment. I would call it ‘high-end leisure’ – it’s travelling more than before”. However, while demand for flights continues to be strong, he cautioned that “it’s also artificially driven because there is a limited supply in terms of capacity”.