Operating results of the Serbian national airline for the previous year
In the year it celebrated its first decade of operation under the current name, Air Serbia achieved record results. In 2023, the Serbian national airline carried a total of 4.19 million passengers in scheduled and charter traffic, making it the third-best result in its nearly 97 years-long history. Operating from three international airports in Serbia – its main hub in Belgrade, as well as airports in Niš and Kraljevo – Air Serbia completed over 45,000 flights, representing a 44 per cent increase compared to 2022. The previous year, Air Serbia hired several hundred employees and promoted 23 new captains.
In the previous year, the Serbian national airline operated scheduled flights on a total of 87 routes to 34 countries across Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa. Compared to 2022, direct flights to 23 new destinations were established, including Lisbon, Porto, Hamburg, Cairo, Catania, Palermo, Naples, and others. Starting from 17 May, after more than 30 years of hiatus, the national airline resumed flights to Chicago. In the first six months, more than 25,000 passengers flew between Belgrade and Chicago, indicating the significance and success of that route. During the summer season of 2023, Air Serbia operated seven weekly flights to New York, i.e., a daily service. By increasing the number of flights between Belgrade and New York, as well as introducing flights to Chicago, the Serbian national airline offered up to 10 weekly flights between the capital of Serbia and North America during the summer season.
“Air Serbia is not just an airline, it is a bridge that connects people, cultures, and opportunities. To preserve this important role, in our daily work, we are dedicated to passenger satisfaction, improving services, and expanding the fleet, and network of destinations. This has been our mission throughout 2023, a year in which we experienced unprecedented growth. This growth would not have been possible without the support of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, which has been our ally and partner in progress. We owe a great deal of gratitude for the success achieved in the past year to our passengers, partners, and employees. In addition to the achieved successes, which we can and should be proud of, in 2023 we also faced numerous external challenges that made our work difficult. A slow supply chain and a lack of spare parts on the global market, a lack of manpower and equipment at certain airports, industrial actions of the airport services around the world, unfavorable weather conditions – all contributed to the fact that operations were difficult to carry out throughout the year, especially in the summer season. Based on the experiences gained during 2023, we are moving forward. In 2024, we will do our best to adequately address challenges, in order to provide passengers with a better user experience than in the previous year,” said Jiri Marek, CEO of Air Serbia.
In 2023, the Serbian national airline signed two new codeshare agreements. At the beginning of the year, a comprehensive agreement was signed with Qatar Airways, enabling passengers to travel seamlessly to over 40 destinations within the networks of both Serbian and Qatari national carriers. Starting from 26 July, Air Serbia established a codeshare partnership with JetBlue, placing its “JU” code on 25 destinations within the JetBlue network. This has significantly enhanced travel options between the United States and destinations within the Air Serbia network. Throughout the past year, codeshare and interline collaborations were renewed and expanded with airlines such as Turkish Airlines, American Airlines, and Air China.
In addition to the aforementioned, Air Serbia conducted two significant cabin crew recruitment campaigns in 2023, with over 1,700 interested candidates applying in total. In December, a recruitment campaign for new flight crew members was carried out, and concurrently, 23 captains were promoted, marking the highest number of new captains in a single year in the past several decades.
To provide even better service for passengers, in addition to the existing contact centre in Belgrade, Air Serbia has opened additional offices in Niš. Approximately 400 candidates applied for positions, and an exceptionally good response contributed to the company doubling the number of agents it hired. Instead of the initially planned 20, 40 new agents were hired in the first phase. Additionally, ten new CLC agents from Niš joined Air Serbia Ground Services (ASGS), a subsidiary of Air Serbia, providing support in the control of aircraft ground handling. Currently, 70 employees work for Air Serbia in Niš.
On 26 October 2023, the Serbian national airline marked ten years of operating under the name Air Serbia. On the occasion of a decade of operations, new uniforms were created, featuring a unique blend of motifs from Serbian cultural heritage with recognizable symbols of Air Serbia. The new uniforms are worn by members of the cabin and flight crew, employees in the company’s ground services and the Premium Lounge, as well as sales agents in the company’s branches. The ten years of operation were marked by numerous activities and improvements, including the opening of a new retail shop on the second floor of the Galerija Shopping Centre, website modernization, the introduction of new boarding music, and the presentation of a special postage stamp in collaboration with the Serbian Postal Service, designed in honour of the tenth anniversary.
At the end of 2023, the Serbian national airline signed a memorandum of understanding with Menzies Aviation, a leading global partner for ground handling services, intending to launch a joint investment and provide support for the ambitious plans for further growth of Air Serbia. As part of this collaboration, Menzies will offer ground handling services to Air Serbia passengers at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport starting in February 2024.
According to the agreement signed between Air Serbia and the Ministry of Construction, Transport, and Infrastructure, the Serbian national airline will operate air transport on ten Public Service Obligations routes from two airports in Serbia – Morava Airport near Kraljevo and Niš Constantine the Great Airport over the next four years. From Kraljevo, Air Serbia will fly year-round to Istanbul, and during the summer season, to Thessaloniki and Tivat. From Niš, Air Serbia will operate flights to Frankfurt, Ljubljana, Cologne, Istanbul, Belgrade, and Athens, and during the summer season, also to Tivat.
Believing that education is the foundation for building a stable future and convinced that investing in the education of today’s students contributes to a better future, Air Serbia has joined the “Student Card” project, providing students with a 10 per cent discount on the tariff amount within the airfare, and additionally, aiming to help pensioners travel at lower prices, the company has participated in the “Pensioner Card” project initiated by the state. In this way, pensioners can get a 15 per cent discount on the price of Air Serbia tickets.
You can find more information about the activities of the Serbian national airline on the Air Serbia Media Centre webpage.