Air Serbia plans to add nonstop service between New York and Serbia’s capital of Belgrade. The carrier would begin flying the route in June, pending regulatory approval.
If approved, the New York-Belgrade service would restore a route that Air Serbia’s predecessor Jat Airways was forced to discontinue in 1992 amid conflicts during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.
Air Serbia says it would lease Airbus A330-200 widebody jets to fly the long-haul trans-Atlantic route between Europe and the United States. Currently, the carrier’s fleet consists only of short- and medium range aircraft.
“The launch of non-stop flights between Belgrade and New York in June this year will be a hugely proud and significant moment in the short history of Air Serbia, demonstrating the growth and ambitions of the airline,” Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic says in a statement.
“We cannot underestimate the positive impact the new service will have on the people and businesses of Serbia as we open this air-bridge to the United States, which is home to so many Serbian communities who will now have a unique opportunity to fly to Serbia with the national airline,” Vucic adds.
Air Serbia’s passengers flying from New York would be able to connect to the airline’s regional destinations across the Balkans and Southern Europe. Among the connecting options: Istanbul, Athens and the Albanian capital of Tirana.
Air Serbia is 49%-owned by Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad Airways, which has used a series of “equity partnerships” in Air Serbia and other airlines to help expand its reach in Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia.
“In addition to creating a safe and commercially-sustainable airline, one of the pledges we made when Air Serbia was launched in 2013 was to re-connect Serbia with major Serbian population centres around the world,” says Etihad CEO James Hogan, who is also the Vice Chairman of Air Serbia’s supervisory board.
“We are naturally delighted, therefore, to announce the launch of the New York service which, as well as enhancing business and cultural ties between the two countries, will provide a major boost to inbound tourism to Serbia,” Hogan adds.
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