New dawn breaks for Serbian airline
Belgrade, October 26, 2013
A new dawn broke for Serbia today, as the country’s revitalised national airline took to the skies, with new jets, routes and partnerships setting Air Serbia on the way to its goal of becoming the region’s leading carrier.
Air Serbia was officially launched by Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, at an event held in the presence of senior government figures and other VIPs, national and international media, and airline employees.
The carrier’s first Airbus A319, in the new Air Serbia livery of red, blue and white, and boasting the new logo bearing a stylised Serbian national coat of arms designed by Serbian student Tamara Maksimovic, was unveiled by DPM Vučić at a glittering ceremony at Belgrade Airport.
The launch was welcomed by Air Serbia’s CEO as ‘good news for travellers, good news for the business and good news for Serbia’. Dane Kondić said that new investment in Air Serbia would deliver a customer-focused, commercial business which would attract trade and tourism into the nation.
Welcoming the launch, CEO Dane Kondić, said: "This is good news for travellers who have now more route network choices regionally and across the globe. It is good news for the business, with new investment and a strict commercial mandate that will secure the airline’s long-term future. And it good news for the Serbian economy, helping to develop tourism and trade routes over the long term."
Starting from today (October 26), Air Serbia will launch a new route from its hub at Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla International Airport to Abu Dhabi besides operations to Banja Luka (Bosnia), Bucharest (Romania), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Prague (Czech Republic) by the end of 2013, he added.
These new flights add to the 29 destinations previously served by the airline as part of its 2013 summer schedule, said the Serbian carrier.
Air Serbia also plans to launch another seven new routes between January and April next year in addition to rescheduling existing operations to optimise connections via its hub in Belgrade.
By June 2014, it will have doubled frequencies and capacity, to serve 43 destinations in 30 countries, with 73,000 seats on more than 670 flights a week.
Eight Airbus A319 and two A320 aircraft have been leased, the first part of a two-phase fleet modernisation strategy which will give Air Serbia one of the most modern and efficient fleets in the region.
The first of these A319 aircraft, unveiled today, has the new two-class configuration, with eight seats in Business Class and 120 in Economy. Five more Airbus A319s will be in service within the next two months, with another four in 2014.
Vučić said the launch of Air Serbia marked an important new beginning for the airline industry in the country. "Having a strong and successful airline is vital for Serbia’s future economic development and growth. Air Serbia will deliver hundreds of millions of dollars a year into our economy," he stated.
"We have been able to attract external investment, in addition to our own Government commitment, to rebuild this airline into something special. We are bringing in the best technical skills, business know-how and expertise to ensure Air Serbia evolves into a successful airline," he added.
On the Etihad link, the Deputy PM said: “Our new partner, Etihad is an airline that has grown faster than any other full-service national airline in the last decade. Yet it has never lost sight of its commercial mandate, tripling its profits last year. We are looking forward to that rigor being applied to our national airline.”
Etihad president and CEO James Hogan said: "We look for partners who share our vision of best in class service, working to a commercial mandate and delivering trade and tourism into their national economies."
“The team at Air Serbia is professional, enthusiastic and committed. With the right focus, and working with Etihad and our many strong partners, we believe Air Serbia can become a force to be reckoned with in this region,” he added.-TradeArabia News Service