Air Serbia Launching Belgrade To Beijing Flights

Air Serbia Launching Belgrade To Beijing Flights

13

With Etihad Airways no longer managing Air Serbia, the Serbian flag carrier is now looking at adding a second long haul route.

Air Serbia’s planned Belgrade to Beijing route

Serbia’s state-owned postal operator, Posta Srbije, has announced that Air Serbia will launch flights between Belgrade and Beijing as of January 2022. Here’s how the logic for this route is described:

“In order to establish long-term stable delivery of postal items from China, Posta Srbije initiated direct negotiations with the national operator of China, and additional acceleration of e-commerce flows is expected in January 2022, announced by introducing a direct Air Serbia flight to Beijing.”

There had been discussions about Air Serbia launching China flights for quite a while, in order to increase economic cooperation between the two countries. In 2017, Hainan Airlines operated flights from Beijing to Belgrade via Prague, though that service only ended up lasting for about a year, unfortunately, and was cut in 2018.

As of now there has been no official announcement from Air Serbia about the route, though I’d imagine that’s coming soon. Given that both the airline and postal service are government owned, I think it’s safe to say that this is a pretty reliable statement of intent (which isn’t to say that the government couldn’t backtrack, but…).

Currently Air Serbia’s only long haul flight is between Belgrade and New York. The airline launched this route in 2016, and has maintained it consistently for five years, though with varying frequencies.

Air Serbia will fly to New York & Beijing

Will Air Serbia get a second Airbus A330?

Air Serbia currently has a single wide body aircraft, which is a former Aeroflot Airbus A330-200 that was recently acquired. The airline previously had a different Airbus A330-200, but the decision was made to swap out planes, given a more favorable lease agreement on the new plane.

Can Air Serbia operate both New York and Beijing flights with a single Airbus A330?

  • Looking at the current schedule, Air Serbia is scheduled to operate just 2x weekly flights to New York in January through March, 3x weekly flights in April through May, and 4x weekly flights in June
  • With tight scheduling, the airline could do a Beijing rotation in around 24 hours, so the airline could in theory add Beijing rotations on days where New York flights aren’t operated
  • For a long time there have been rumors that Air Serbia may acquire a second A330, and if the airline follows through with Beijing service, it seems most likely that the airline would acquire a second A330
  • The most likely outcome seems to be that the airline could use its first A330 for winter rotations to New York and Beijing, then in the spring it could get a second A330, and then by summer the airline could even add Toronto into the mix, since that route has been rumored for a long time

Bottom line

Air Serbia intends to launch nonstop flights between Belgrade and Beijing as of January 2022. This will mark the second long haul route for the Serbian flag carrier, as Air Serbia has otherwise flown to New York for the past five years.

It’s cool to see Air Serbia expanding, though I’m curious to see how this plays out — will the airline acquire a second A330, or what exactly is the plan for operating this service?

What do you make of Air Serbia’s planned Beijing route?

(Tip of the hat to EX-YU Aviation)

Conversations (13)
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  1. BOB

    AIR Serbia prices are just unsuitable high, and no one wants to pay for it. If the route via Moscow, with short layover, opens again, even Serbian people will use that because economy class with Aeroflot is at least three times cheaper

  2. roger

    I still think Air Serbia should establish ties with several ONEWORLD Carriers and attempt to serve Eastern Europe for them. China Southern could also be a good partner for them since CS has left SKYTEAM. Eastern Europe has great potential in the future with tourism and business developments moving forward.

  3. Raisin Scone

    I think it's great. China is the world's largest economic power. Plus, China helped Serbia in troubled times when the EU turned its backs on the non-EU Balkan states. I think they should get a second A330 for this route, though.

  4. Endre

    China’s shopping tour continues. Half of all countries became Chinese satellite states

    1. Bob

      Are you wishing that to you country with the fence all around its borders?

    2. tuotuo

      Very unlikely they could get permission to land in Beijing in January 2022

  5. Peter

    Well the EU turned Serbia away when they needed help, so that’s why Serbia turned to China. Chinese and Serbian can visit each other’s country visa free and I personally met a lot of Chinese tourists in Serbia in 2019.

    I do think it’s a great chance for Serbia to increase popularity in China in terms of tourism and economic popularity, as well as transporting passengers to other destinations while offering a “Belgrade stopover” kinda...

    Well the EU turned Serbia away when they needed help, so that’s why Serbia turned to China. Chinese and Serbian can visit each other’s country visa free and I personally met a lot of Chinese tourists in Serbia in 2019.

    I do think it’s a great chance for Serbia to increase popularity in China in terms of tourism and economic popularity, as well as transporting passengers to other destinations while offering a “Belgrade stopover” kinda like what TAP or Swiss has been doing before COVID. Belgrade is a great party city, that’s all I could say :p

  6. Ethan

    In addition to cargo, they can get a lot of business from Chinese who are trying hard to get back to China, especially from South American and Africa.

  7. Charles

    Interesting new route. I wonder if Etihad will offer miles on this route and what that will look like? Missing the Czech air from Prauge to ICN sweet spot.

  8. Caleb

    I can't imagine the average Serbian person is too excited about this. I love Serbia but the place can be a little xenophobic. I was last there in 2019 and heard so many derogatory comments said openly about Chinese people. I grew up speaking Serbian with my grandmother so understood but... the idea of open ridiculing visitors?

    1. Henry

      Probably not more xenophobic than any other place in the world.
      You should see/hear how Swiss people talk about Asians and Arab tourists in the main tourist regions (Alps, lakes, …)
      And I‘m sure Westeners aren‘t „always“ considered highly in China… and some stupid words will be directed.

  9. Wilhelm

    Do Chinese nationals need a visa to visit Serbia? If not, this could quickly attract a fair number of visitors. On top of this there’s a political dimension for China. They’ve launched the 17+1 partnership, though some European countries have left and hence it’s no longer 17 (I’m not sure how many).

    1. Jack

      No visa needed for Chinese visitors to Serbia, the same goes for Serbians visiting China.

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tuotuo

Very unlikely they could get permission to land in Beijing in January 2022

Bob

Are you wishing that to you country with the fence all around its borders?

BOB

AIR Serbia prices are just unsuitable high, and no one wants to pay for it. If the route via Moscow, with short layover, opens again, even Serbian people will use that because economy class with Aeroflot is at least three times cheaper

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