Air Serbia seeks additional US destinations

Next year, Air Serbia plans to launch a service to Chicago, but is already eyeing additional destinations in the United States.

American expansion

Air Serbia CEO Jerry Maric shared some thoughts on the airlines’ expansion plans to the US with Aero Telegraph,

“We’re looking at other destinations in the US. But again, our main strategy is to target cities that have year-round potential. We don’t want to increase seasonality, which is already high in our area. That’s one of the reasons we prefer Chicago over Toronto, for example.” Example, because the Canadian city is not only very seasonal, but also very one-way. At the beginning of the season, flights are full in one direction, and at the end of the season in the other.”

The busiest unserved US routes from Belgrade to Chicago are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas, Denver, Phoenix, Detroit, Atlanta, Boston, Washington, Tampa, Houston, and Orlando.

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Air Serbia owes much of its success to the Serbian government, which supports and owns much of the airline. Photo: Air Serbia

Air Serbia is already planning to offer daily service to New York next summer as well as two weekly flights to Chicago and hopes to agree to a codeshare agreement with a major US airline. Air Serbia has previously attempted to forge a codeshare agreement with US airlines, but it was unsuccessful.

“We currently have joint agreements that are working well. But we are working on getting to the next level, which is codeshare cooperation with one of the major airlines in the US. We are in the final stages of negotiations and we think we can announce that before the end of the year.” – Marek

Latest Air Serbia news

Earlier this week, Air Serbia announced that it is counting on 2022 to be a profitable year. Newly appointed CEO Jerry Marek said,

“We are a smaller regional airline and we want to grow with the market in a profitable and sustainable way. In 2021, we have significantly improved our operating performance and reduced our loss. This year we aim to be profitable, and we will continue down that path in the future as well. We want it to remain that way.” Air Serbia will continue to be the leading regional carrier in the Balkans, and we would like to maintain our market share between 50 to 55 percent in Belgrade.”

Before 2020, Air Serbia recorded profits every year from 2014 to 2020. But without government subsidies, Air Serbia would have incurred significant losses. The value of the subsidies provided by the airline is unknown, as well as the subsidies provided by the government to more than 50 organizations.

Etihad Airways used to have an ownership stake in Air Serbia, but recently withdrew. Photo: Air Serbia

Less than two years ago, Air Serbia received a capital injection of $100 million, but how the money will be used is unknown. The injection increased the government’s stake in the airline from 51% to 82%, which happened with Etihad Airways’ withdrawal from Air Serbia. Due to the close association between the Serbian government and Air Serbia, Air Serbia has been able to grow significantly. Marek added,

Air Serbia played an important role during the pandemic, helping the Serbian government with repatriation flights, medical assistance and so on. And I think we’ve demonstrated that not only connectivity but also significant economic benefits are a result of our operations.”

Air Serbia hopes to start a profit return this year toward long-term profitability.

Do you think Air Serbia will be able to reach a codeshare agreement with a US airline anytime soon? if so; which of these? Let us know in the comments below.


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