Summer 2011 on Final Approach (Part 2)

In the first part of ‘Summer 2011 on final approach’ we looked at the new routes routes launched and we analyzed why some airlines failed during the Belgrade traffic boom.

With 19% rise in passenger numbers in February, we can assume that the airlines serving Belgrade are more than optimistic regarding the coming summer season.

Today, we will take a closer look at the preliminary summer schedules of the non-aligned airlines (not part of any alliance) and how they are getting ready for the summer.

First one on the list today is the national carrier of Latvia, airBaltic, and their four weekly flights from Riga.

Last summer the airline achieved unexpectedly good results with an average loadfactor of 90%. The airline was forced to discontinue the flights due to a lack of adequate equipment. The lease on their Fokker 100 was expiring in late summer long before the delivery of their new Dash-8.

airBaltic will offer connections to the Baltic states, Scandinavia and Russia via its hub in Riga. The airline offers a business class product, whereas in the economy class section they offer the ‘buy on board’.

You can read the full story here: https://aviationoverview.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/airbaltic-returns-to-belgrade/

In the past Aerosvit operated flights to Belgrade via Sofia using their Boeing B737-400. The weekly flight was mostly for the origin and destination market between Serbia and Ukraine.

With the introduction of smaller regional aircraft such as the Embraer 145 and Antonov 148, the airline was able to increase frequencies by reducing capacity on certain routes, Belgrade being one of them.

After revising their business plan, the airline decided to transform Kiev into a true hub.

The B737-400 was replaced by much smaller E145 (capacity 50 seats) which enabled the airline to increase Belgrade from one to four weekly flights. The initial connecting possibilities via Kiev were limited to just a few destinations within Ukraine  in addition to Tbilisi and Tel Aviv.

Today the following destinations can be reached via Kiev:

Domestic: Dnepropetrovsk, Donetsk. Kharkov, Lugansk, Lvov, Odessa, Simferopol, Uzghorod.

International: Copenhagen, Tbilisi, Athens, Tel Aviv, Almaty, Astana, Krasnodar, Moscow, Rostov, St. Petersburg, New York, Dubai and Tashkent.

With the new, revised summer schedule we can see that in addition to the fourth weekly frequency the airline will have an overnight stop in Belgrade. The stop will enable the airline to have an early morning departure out of Belgrade and in such a way offer better connections in Kiev.

 

Kiev-Belgrade

1—5–  14:30-15:35
-2—6-  22:25-23:30

Belgrade-Kiev

1—5–  16:20-19:15
–3—7  07:05-10:05

 

With this new, revised schedule Aerosvit has become far more aggressive in their operations out of Belgrade. Other airlines with early morning departures include Lufthansa to both Munich and Frankfurt, Austrian Airlines to Vienna and CSA to Prague. Malév was planning on introducing overnight flights shortly before the last summer season. After a sharp drop in passenger numbers the airline decided to postpone the additional flights until further notice.

B&H Airline entered the Serbian market a couple of years ago through a codeshare with Jat. For years now Jat Airways had operated their flights to Sarajevo with an overnight stop. This facilitated connections through Belgrade for passengers travelling between Bosnia and Europe.

However, with one flight per day it was common for passengers to spend several hours at the airport. With growing competition in Sarajevo, most notably from carriers such as Adria, Malév and Austrian Airlines all operating more than 7 flights per week made it obvious that Jat was going to lose the battle.

When Air B&H announced that it was launching afternoon flights to Belgrade, I was personally hoping that Jat Airways would immediately start codesharing on the route.

By fully cooperating with Air B&H, Jat Airways would finally have two daily flights to the Bosnian capital. It was vital for the airline to reduce the connecting time for the passengers in order to become more competitive on the market.

 

Roughly a year after launching the flight, Air B&H had announced the suspension of its service to Belgrade.

With Air B&H gone Jat will not be in a position any time soon to offer the second daily flight. This is mostly caused by a serious lack of aircraft and vision within the management of the airline. Not to mention that Jat has allowed this to happen shortly before the first summer where the citizens of Bosnia can travel without visas.

Cimber Sterling will be adding their third frequency on their Copenhagen-Belgrade route. This summer passengers flying between the two cities will enjoy considerably lower fares due to an increase in competition.

In addition to Cimber Sterling and Jat Airways flying to Copenhagen, the lowcost airline Wizz Air will be operating two flights per week to Malmö.

April 13th 2011 has been set as the date when the Italian carrier Eagles Airlines is set to launch their flights from Forli to Belgrade.

The route is set to be operated twice per week using a Fokker 100. Forli will be the 4th Italian city to have a direct air link with Belgrade after Rome, Milano and Trieste.

 

 

As announced yesterday, the Greek carrier Olympic Air will be returning to Belgrade after a year of absence. For those interested full story can be found here: https://aviationoverview.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/olympic-air-returns-to-belgrade/

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