Air Serbia has had a great September this year, carrying 69.8% more passengers than in September 2021. This makes it the airline’s busiest September since it launched as a brand in 2013.
Two million passengers so far this year
Earlier this week, the Serbian national airline carried its two-millionth passenger of this year. The result was reached on Wednesday 5th October. Meanwhile, in all of 2021, the airline carried 1.6 million passengers.
Of the two million passengers carried in 2022 so far, 1.7 million were carried on scheduled services and 300,000 were carried on charter flights.
In September alone, Air Serbia operated 3,400 flights: 2,900 flights were scheduled flights, and 500 were charters. The Serbian flag carrier is buoyed by strong outbound demand from Belgrade, with Serbian citizens now being able to travel to Europe after two years of COVID restrictions.
Boško Rupić, Air Serbia’s General Manager Commercial and Strategy, said:
“Even though the vacation season has practically passed, the summer season in the airline industry is still ongoing. As usual, demand for flights during September is somewhat lower than in July and August, which were record-setting months in terms of the number of passengers carried, but is still very high for this period of the year. Thanks to the trust shown to us by our passengers, during 2022, we have achieved excellent results. In September, we carried our 20-millionth passenger since we had started operating under the name of Air Serbia, and now also our 2-millionth passenger since the start of 2022. We are heading toward new records, constantly striving to expand our offer with new, even more attractive destinations.”
The airline saw its best September in history. Photo: Getty Images
Charter flights are key
The Serbian flag carrier has historically been very successful in utilizing its fleet for charter flights over the summer, and 2022 was no different.
The airline ran over 1,000 charter flights out of its base, Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG), but also out of the Serbian city of Niš, where Air Serbia embarked on a significant expansion over the last several years following two PSO contracts awarded to it by the Serbian Government to fly from there.
Serbia is a landlocked country, and its citizens have historically been keen holidaymakers, so Air Serbia capitalizes on this. Apart from running 1,000 charters, the airline also ran scheduled services to the following seaside destinations:
On the Adriatic coast:
- Pula (PUY)
- Rijeka (RJK)
- Zadar (ZAD)
- Split (SPU)
- Dubrovnik (DBV)
- Trieste (TRS)
- Tivat (TIV)
- Bari (BRI)
In Greece and Cyprus:
- Thessaloniki (SKG)
- Athens (ATH)
- Larnaca (LCA)
Air Serbia has four destinations in Russia. Photo: Air Serbia
Russian demand is helping
Air links between Russia and almost all of Europe are suspended, but not in Serbia. The country’s government has refused to impose sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, so Air Serbia has found itself in a fortunate position of being one of only two airlines that can link Russian airports with Europe’s mainland destinations. The other is Turkish Airlines which transfers Russian passengers via Istanbul.
Air Serbia serves Moscow (SVO), Sochi (AER), Saint Petersburg (LED), and Kazan (KZN). These flights are sold out weeks in advance on the inbound sector, and they offer a substantial feed for the airline’s European network.
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