Air Serbia has taken delivery of the third Airbus A330-200 in its history earlier today. The aircraft landed in Belgrade (BEG) on a flight from New York (JFK), where it had arrived two days ago from the world’s largest commercial aircraft storage: the boneyard that is Arizona’s Pinal Airpark (MZJ).
The aircraft touched down just after 01:00 local time in Serbia today, Tuesday 22nd November. It was supposed to have arrived weeks ago to cover for Air Serbia’s other A330, which is undergoing maintenance in Naples (NAP).
To cover for the late arrival of the new A330, Air Serbia has been wet-leasing a Wamos Air Airbus A330-200, which has been operating flights for it since 7th November.
The newly-arrived Airbus A330, carrying the registration YU-ARC, will help Air Serbia achieve its long-haul expansion plans. The airline currently has a single long-haul route to New York (JFK), but it will also be flying to Tianjin Binhai International Airport (TSN) starting 9th December and Chicago O’Hare (ORD) starting 17th May.
The aircraft was previously registered as ZS-SXW when it was operated by South African Airways, which took delivery of the aircraft in 2011. Air Serbia has released no details on what to expect for its interior.
Photo: Air Serbia
Four liveries on three A330s
The Serbian national airline now has a fleet of two Airbus A330-200s. Across the three A330s that it operated, the airline has had four liveries.
Its first A330, which has since been returned to the lessor, had the standard Air Serbia livery. It was then painted in a “Serbia creates” livery. The second A330 has a special livery with the portrait of Nikola Tesla on its tail.
Now, this third A330 has a special livery too. Its tail is painted with the portrait of Mihajlo Pupin, a Serbian scientist who was based in the United States.
Air Serbia is following Norwegian’s livery pattern of different aircraft showing portraits of historically significant figures. Only the A330s have such a pattern at the moment, with the ATRs and the A320 family aircraft all painted in Air Serbia’s standard livery.
Photo: Air Serbia
Air Serbia is booming
The Serbian national airline has had a highly successful summer season. The airline beat its pre-pandemic passenger figures in September and carried more passengers in the first nine months of 2022 than it did in all of 2021.
It embarked on a significant expansion this summer to make use of the lifting of COVID restrictions and to cater to the pent-up outbound leisure demand. It launched seven new routes in a single week at the start of June: Bologna, Bari, Hannover, Lyon, Nuremberg, Salzburg, and Trieste. It also launched domestic flights in January, Valencia in April, Palma de Mallorca and Sochi in mid-June, and Kazan in September.
The airline is still seeing booming demand from Russian passengers. Air links between Russia and almost all of Europe are suspended, but this is not the case for Serbia. The country’s government has refused to impose sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, allowing flights to continue.
Thus, Air Serbia is in the fortunate position of being one of only two airlines that can link Russian airports with most of Europe. The other is Turkish Airlines which transfers Russian passengers via Istanbul.
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