Air Serbia
Air Serbia logo-en.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
JU ASL AIR SERBIA
Founded17 June 1927; 95 years ago (1927-06-17),
(as Aeroput)
Commenced operations26 October 2013; 9 years ago (2013-10-26),
(as Air Serbia)
HubsBelgrade Nikola Tesla Airport
Niš Constantine the Great Airport[1]
Frequent-flyer programEtihad Guest[2]
Subsidiaries
Fleet size18
Destinations63[5]
Parent companyGovernment of Serbia (82%)[6]
HeadquartersBelgrade, Serbia
Key people
RevenueIncrease 290.73 million (2018)[9]
Net incomeDecrease €11.17 million (2018)[9]
Total assetsIncrease €193.31 million (2018)[10]
Total equitySteady €0 (2018)[10]
Employees1,756 (2018)
Websiteairserbia.com

Air Serbia (stylised as AirSERBIA; Serbian: Ер Србија / Er Srbija) is the flag carrier of Serbia. The company's headquarters is located in Belgrade, Serbia, and its main hub is Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport.[11] The airline was known as Jat Airways until it was renamed and rebranded in 2013.[12][13]

History

See also: Aeroput and Jat Airways

Origins

JAT DC-10 in 1984.
JAT DC-10 in 1984.

Air Serbia originated in 1927 when the first Serbian company for civil air transport Aeroput was formed. 1927 was also the year the nation's capital Belgrade became the hub of its operations, with the inauguration of an international airport. Aeroput became the flag carrier of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and, by the opening of numerous airfields throughout the country, significantly improved connections between the various regions. Besides providing passenger, mail, and cargo service to its domestic destinations, Aeroput inaugurated its first regular scheduled international route, Belgrade–Zagreb–Graz–Vienna, in 1929. During the 1930s, it expanded by opening new routes to other destinations in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Albania, and Italy. These new routes helped it position itself as a major regional airliner.[14] Its fleet consisted in one Aeroput MMS-3, one Breguet 19/10, two Caudron C.449 Goéland, one De Havilland DH.80A Puss Moth, one De Havilland DH.60M Moth, one De Havilland DH.83 Fox Moth, one De Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide, one Farman F.190, one Farman F.306, eight Lockheed Model 10 Electra, six Potez 29/2 and three Spartan Cruiser II, one of which was built under licence by the domestic Zmaj aircraft factory.[15]

After WWII, the company was nationalized and rebranded as JAT Jugoslovenski Aerotransport in 1948, thus becoming the flag carrier of the SFR Yugoslavia. Despite being a communist country, Yugoslavia broke relations with the Soviet Union and became a cofounder of the Non-Aligned Movement.[16] As a result, its fleet consisted almost entirely of Western-built aircraft. The carrier entered the jet age in 1963 with the acquisition of the Sud Aviation Caravelle, followed by the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 in 1969, the Boeing 707 in 1970, the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 in 1971, and the Boeing 727 in 1974.[16] By the 1980s, JAT operated regular flights to all the continents except South America, which was planned for commencement by the 1990s. In 1985 JAT became the first European operator of the Boeing 737-300,[16] and introduced the ATR 42 and ATR 72 in 1987 for its regional and domestic routes. According to IATA in 1988, JAT was the tenth largest airline in Europe by flying to 76 destinations in 39 countries, which included long-haul flights to Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, New York, Montreal, and Toronto in the west, and Beijing, Calcutta, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney in the east.[16] Its fleet modernization plan began in the 1980s with the introduction of the Boeing 737, while its long-range DC-10s were scheduled to be replaced by either the Boeing 767-ER, the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 or the Airbus A340.[16] However, its modernization plan was never realized due to the start of the Yugoslav wars. During the 1980s, JAT also established a maintenance hangar in Belgrade and a pilot-training academy in Belgrade and Vršac.[16]

The continual growth of the company was disrupted by the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. JAT became a public company on 29 February 1992[17] and continued its role as the flag carrier of the FR Yugoslavia.

Development since the 2000s

JAT Airways Boeing 737-300 in 2010.
JAT Airways Boeing 737-300 in 2010.
Air Serbia's former Airbus A330-200 in a special Serbia Creates livery
Air Serbia's former Airbus A330-200 in a special Serbia Creates livery

In 2003, the country was renamed Serbia and Montenegro, and that same year the company was renamed Jat Airways. In 2006, Montenegro declared independence and Jat Airways became the flag carrier of Serbia. An aging fleet and lack of investment made the airline unprofitable. So the Serbian government sought for a strategic partner for the company.[18]

On 1 August 2013, Jat Airways and Etihad Airways entered into a strategic partnership agreement under which Etihad would acquire a 49% interest in Jat Airways and its management rights for five years.[19] The Republic of Serbia would retain a controlling interest of 51% and hold five of nine monitoring committee seats in the company.[20] Jat Airways was then reorganized and renamed Air Serbia in October 2013. It launched its inaugural flight from Belgrade to Abu Dhabi[12] on 26 October 2013.

On 23 June 2016, Air Serbia's non-stop flights between Belgrade and New York commenced using an Airbus A330-200 leased from Etihad partner, Jet Airways. This transatlantic service became the first non-stop flight operated by a former Yugoslav carrier into the United States since 1992, when all of JAT's long-haul flights were suspended.[21]

Air Serbia implemented an extensive restructuring plan in mid-2017 to improve its performance. The goal was to focus on net profit, a new fare structure, new sales channels, and offer additional services that would increase efficiency.[22] From May to June 2017, it retrofitted its Airbus A319 and A320 fleet with Recaro BL3520 seats to standardize its seating plan. This resulted in a seating capacity increase of 12%.[23] On 24 January 2018, the carrier announced the introduction of a new pricing model that would create four fare types in an effort to unbundle its fares. Passengers can choose from four fare types, with each fare type determining luggage allowance, priority boarding, fast track through the airport, travel date changes, and other entitlements.[22]

On 1 March 2018, Air Serbia opened the Elevate Deli & Bar service on its short and medium-haul flights to give passengers the option to purchase food and drinks on the flight. This service replaced its previous inflight catering and offers one of two menus based on flight length and type of aircraft operating the route. Inflight catering on its long-haul, transatlantic service remains unchanged, with passengers receiving a free meal.[24]

In 2021 the company was awarded the Order of Karađorđe's Star.[25]

Since Serbia did not impose sanctions on Russia following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the airline continues to operate regular flights to the country, creating a loophole for Russian citizens to fly to Europe.[26] As a result, the airline has faced dozens of bomb threats which airline officials have attributed to foreign intelligence agencies seeking to disrupt its flights to Russia. In April 2022, it was reported that a NATO military aircraft had trailed an Air Serbia flight as it left Russian airspace.[27]

Corporate affairs

Ownership structure

Originally, Air Serbia was jointly owned by the Government of Serbia, which held a 51 percent share interest, and Etihad Airways, which owned a 49 percent share interest and management control.[28] On 30 December 2020, the Government of Serbia purchased 31% from Etihad, and thus currently holds 82% share interest.[6]

Business trends

Air Serbia's key performance indicators are (years ending December 31):

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Turnover (€m) 262 305 320 288 288
Net profit (€m) 2.7 3.9 0.9 15.7 12.2 9.5
Number of staff 1,488 1,370
Number of passengers (m) 2.3 2.55 2.62 2.62 2.48 2.81
Passenger load factor (%) 67 71 72.4 73.4 71.2 72
Cargo carried (000s tonnes) 2.7 3.8 4.9 6.2 6.2
Number of aircraft (at year end) 19 20 21 21 20
Notes/sources [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34][35]

Subsidiaries

Aviolet

A now retired Aviolet Boeing 737-300.
A now retired Aviolet Boeing 737-300.

In May 2014, Air Serbia launched their now-defunct[36] charter brand, Aviolet (Serbian Cyrillic: Авиолет),[37] using a fleet of three Boeing 737-300s[38] under Air Serbia's IATA airline code (JU).[36] The majority of Aviolet charter flights were operated during the peak holiday season, which runs from June to September. The first Aviolet-branded flight took off from Belgrade on 4 May 2014, flying to Antalya.[39] As of 2021, Aviolet is defunct as the charter operations were taken over by Air Serbia itself.[36]

Air Serbia Ground Services

Formerly known as SU-Port, Air Serbia Ground Services (ASGS) was the official provider of aircraft ground handling services in the Republic of Serbia, being certified by Serbia's Civil Aviation Directorate. ASGS provided ground handling operations to passengers, baggage, aircraft, cargo, and mail. Since its founding in 2002, the company handled more than two million passengers and 8500 flights for Air Serbia and other airlines annually.[40] It was discontinued in November 2017, and all employees were transferred to Belgrade Airport.[41]

Air Serbia Catering

Air Serbia Catering (ASC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Air Serbia. Located near Nikola Tesla Airport, the company prepares and handles inflight meals for Air Serbia, as well as other carriers flying to and from Belgrade. Founded in 1967 as part of JAT, ASC has operated as an independent company since 2005 and became part of Air Serbia in 2014.[42]

Destinations

Main article: List of Air Serbia destinations

Air Serbia operates flights to 63 destinations in 32 countries as of May 2020, including its hubs at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport and Niš Constantine the Great Airport.[43]

Codeshare agreements

Air Serbia has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:[44]

Etihad Airways Partners

Air Serbia has been a member of the airline alliance Etihad Airways Partners since its founding in 2014. The alliance included current members Etihad Airways and Air Serbia and former members Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, and Air Seychelles. The alliance offered Air Serbia's passengers access to a combined network of over 400 destinations across six continents.[51][failed verification]

Fleet

Air Serbia Airbus A319-100
Air Serbia Airbus A319-100
Air Serbia Airbus A320-200
Air Serbia Airbus A320-200
Air Serbia ATR 72-500
Air Serbia ATR 72-500

Current fleet

As of September 2022, Air Serbia's fleet is composed of the following aircraft:[52]

Air Serbia fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
J Y Total
Airbus A319-100 10 8 136 144
Airbus A320-200 2 8 166 174
Airbus A330-200 1 1 [53] 21 236 257
ATR 72-200 2 66 66 To be retired.[54]
ATR 72-500 1 70 70 To be retired.[54]
ATR 72-600 3 2[55] 72 72
Total 19 3

Livery

Introduced in October 2013, Air Serbia's livery was created by graphic designer Tamara Maksimović. Featuring Serbia's national colours – red, blue, and white – the design, with its graphical elements and details, is based on Serbian medieval art. The carrier's logo, featured on the tail, is a stylized double-headed eagle inspired by the Serbian coat-of-arms.[56][57] The carrier's name and logo can be seen on both the fuselage and belly of each aircraft.

In 2013 the airline launched the "Living Legends" initiative, which pays tribute to famous Serbian citizens who have made positive contributions to society, both in Serbia and abroad. In recognition of its success, Air Serbia names each aircraft after them. Such individuals include inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla, tennis superstar Novak Djokovic, former NBA player Vlade Divac, former footballer and manager Dejan Stanković, actor Miki Manojlović, and musician Goran Bregović.[58]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Početna". www.airserbia.com.
  2. ^ "Air Serbia Etihad Guest". Archived from the original on 10 April 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  3. ^ "AirSERBIA Ground Services". Archived from the original on 24 May 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Catering - about us". airserbia.com. Retrieved 12 September 2016. In early 2014, (Air Serbia Catering) became a subsidiary company of the airline company Air Serbia and part of Etihad Airways Partner Group.
  5. ^ "Our story". www.airserbia.com.
  6. ^ a b N1: "Država otkupila deo Er Srbije, sada u vlasništvu ima 82%"
  7. ^ "Air Serbia names new CEO". www.exyuaviation.com.
  8. ^ "Upravna tela". www.airserbia.com.
  9. ^ a b "Bilans uspeha (2018) - Air Serbia". apr.gov.rs (in Serbian). The Serbian Business Registers Agency. Retrieved 8 August 2019.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ a b "Bilans stanja (2018) - Air Serbia". apr.gov.rs (in Serbian). The Serbian Business Registers Agency. Retrieved 8 August 2019.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Belgrade Airport, with resurgent Air Serbia, challenges the hub order in Central/Southeast Europe". CAPA Centre for Aviation. 18 March 2015. Archived from the original on 21 March 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Air Serbia: A New Dawn for Serbia as Revitalised National Airline Takes to the Skies". Centre for Aviation. 28 October 2013. Archived from the original on 10 December 2017. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  13. ^ "Air Serbia: New Route Network Gives Best Ever Choice for Serbian Travellers". Centre for Aviation. 28 October 2013. Archived from the original on 10 December 2017. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  14. ^ "World Airlines Directory". Flight International. 8 May 1931. p. 407.
  15. ^ Drustvo za Vazdusni Saobracaj A D – Aeroput at europeanairlines.no
  16. ^ a b c d e f "World Airlines Directory". Flight International. 28 May 1988. p. 33.
  17. ^ "Jat Airways on 29 February 1992 turned into a public company". Blic. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  18. ^ "History". Air Serbia. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  19. ^ "Etihad Airways and Government of Serbia unveil strategic partnership to secure future of Serbian National Airline" (Press release). Etihad Airways. 1 August 2013. Archived from the original on 5 August 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  20. ^ "Jat Airways to be renamed to Air Serbia in August". B92. 29 July 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  21. ^ "From Belgrade to the Big Apple: Air Serbia Makes History As First New York Service Takes Off" (in Serbian). Radio Television of Serbia. 9 November 2015.
  22. ^ a b "Rumor: Air Serbia to restructure. Will Etihad pull out?". Aerotime News Hub. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  23. ^ "Air Serbia increases seating capacity of narrow-body aircraft". SeeNews. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  24. ^ "Air Serbia launches new "Еlevate Deli & Bar" catering service". Air Serbia. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  25. ^ "Председник Вучић уручио одликовања поводом Дана државности Републике Србије". Председник Републике Србије. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
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  27. ^ "Air Serbia aircraft shadowed by unidentified fighter jet in Russia". Ex-Yu Aviation. 8 April 2022. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
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  29. ^ "Air Serbia records profitability in first full year of operation". airserbia.com (Press release). 2 March 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  30. ^ "Air Serbia reports net profit of EUR 3.9 million - second successive year of profitablity". airserbia.com (Press release). 4 May 2016. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  31. ^ "Air Serbia achieves net profit in 2016 amid changing competitive landscape". airserbia.com (Press release). 8 August 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  32. ^ "Business improvements bring Air Serbia profit increase in 2017" (Press release). Air Serbia. 2 July 2018. Archived from the original on 29 January 2022.
  33. ^ "Air Serbia posts €12.2 million profit for 2018". Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  34. ^ "Major expansion of the network of destinations and continued business improvement - 2019 delivered a profit of €9.5 million". airserbia.com. 5 August 2020. Retrieved 18 September 2021.
  35. ^ "Air Serbia passenger traffic grows 9.5% in 2019". seenews.com. 30 January 2020. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  36. ^ a b c ch-aviation.com - Aviolet retrieved 28 September 2021
  37. ^ Air Serbia’s charter brand takes off[unreliable source?]
  38. ^ Aviolet official website, retrieved 8-12-2014
  39. ^ "Aviolet - novi brend Air Serbije za čarter letove". Aviokarta.net (in Serbian). 23 May 2014. Archived from the original on 24 May 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  40. ^ "Air Serbia official website - airserbia.com". Archived from the original on 24 May 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  41. ^ "Air Serbia gasi sopstvenu službu zemaljskog opsluživanja aviona". Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  42. ^ "Air Serbia Catering". airserbia.com. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  43. ^ "Air Serbia on ch-aviation". www.ch-aviation.com.
  44. ^ "Codeshare Partner Airlines". Air Serbia. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  45. ^ Liu, Jim (24 April 2019). "airBaltic / Air Serbia expands codeshare network in S19". Routesonline. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  46. ^ "Finnair and Air Serbia establish a new codeshare partnership". Finnair. 28 October 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  47. ^ "Accordo di codice di code share tra Air Serbia e ITA Airways" [Codeshare agreement between Air Serbia and ITA Airways]. italiavola.com (in Italian). 18 November 2021.
  48. ^ link, Get; Apps, Other. "Air Serbia and Luxair ink partnership". www.exyuaviation.com.
  49. ^ link, Get; Apps, Other. "Sky Express and Air Serbia ink deal". www.exyuaviation.com.
  50. ^ "Air Serbia and Turkish Airlines came to a mutual agreement to begin codeshare flights between Belgrade and Istanbul". Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  51. ^ "Početna". www.airserbia.com.
  52. ^ "Our Fleet". airserbia.com. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  53. ^ https://www.exyuaviation.com/2022/10/air-serbia-to-take-delivery-of-second.html
  54. ^ a b "Air Serbia adds first ATR72-600, returns to the Middle East". Ch-Aviation. 28 January 2022.
  55. ^ "Air Serbia's Fleet Expansion Plans: What To Expect". simpleflying.com. Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  56. ^ "Air Serbia - Bruce Drum (airlinersgallery)". Archived from the original on 22 February 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  57. ^ "New name and new look revealed for Serbia's National Airline" (Press release). Etihad Airways. 1 August 2013. Archived from the original on 27 August 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  58. ^ "Air Serbia unveils its fifth "Living legend" – Goran Bregović". Air Serbia (Press release). 28 March 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2017.

Further reading

Media related to Air Serbia at Wikimedia Commons