Air Serbia sees turnaround with strong first quarter passenger numbers and revenue
- 66 per cent increase in total passenger numbers to 364,924
- 47 per cent increase in revenue
- On track to break-even for 2014
- Network expanded to 31 cities with the launch of two new destinations
- Three more narrow-bodied aircraft joined the fleet
- 46 per cent increase in cargo tonnage to 175 tonnes
Air Serbia, the national airline of Serbia, has announced significantly improved performance in the first three months of the year with a 66 per cent increase in total passenger numbers to 364,924, compared with the same period in 2013. The airline's passenger carrying capacity, which is measured by available seat kilometres (ASKs), has jumped 93 per cent resulting in a 47 per cent increase in revenue during the first quarter of 2014.
Over the same quarter, Air Serbia inducted three Airbus aircraft – two A319s and one A320 - into its fleet.
The increase in passenger numbers is being seen across the network, boosted by connectivity with the Etihad Airways global network.
The Chief Executive Officer of Air Serbia, Mr Dane Kondić, said: "Air Serbia has built a solid foundation in the six months since it was launched and is on track to break-even in 2014. The improved passenger numbers and revenue reflects the growing appeal of the airline for leisure and business travel across the Balkan region and beyond. In addition to strong growth in passenger revenue, we are also growing very important cargo revenue, which provides more stability to the revenue base of the business."
Cargo tonnage increased 46 per cent to 175 tons in the first three months compared with the same period last year, as the network expanded, reliability improved and the cargo capability has been marketed effectively to customers.
Cargo comprises general cargo items, perishables, including exports of local Serbian cheese, as well as spare industrial parts and electronics.
"The improved performance of Air Serbia shows our strategy to grow the business based on strong governance, a modern fleet, a growing and connected network, and a commitment to our guests to be the best, is working," Mr Kondić said. "Our focus is on providing value, convenience and comfort. We are listening to our guests about what they want and in doing so, we are steadily growing demand."
In the first quarter, Air Serbia launched new routes to Sofia (Bulgaria) and Budapest (Hungary). These two routes bring the current Air Serbia network to 34 Euro-Mediterranean destinations serviced directly from its hub at Belgrade's Nikola Tesla International Airport. More destinations will be launched over the remainder of the year.
Air Serbia has also negotiated a series of codeshare agreements, which are helping to build passenger numbers and revenue. Up to the end of March, Air Serbia has expanded codeshare agreements with Etihad Airways, airberlin, Tarom, Adria Airways and BH Airlines.
The daily flights between Belgrade and Abu Dhabi, by both Air Serbia and Etihad Airways, are boosting demand for the Air Serbia network beyond Belgrade.
In the first three months of 2014, Etihad Airways finalised new codeshare agreements on Air Serbia flights from Belgrade to: Amsterdam, Stockholm, Banja Luka, Milan, Dusseldorf, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Berlin.
Air Serbia has improved its selling and distribution capabilities by establishing commercial ticketing agreements with Etihad Regional, operated by Darwin Airline, Jet Airways, Bulgaria Air, Ukraine International Airlines and STA Travel, the world's largest travel company for students and young adults. Air Serbia also established commercial relationships with major global online travel agents, including Expedia and Last Minute.
Mr Kondić said that the Government of Serbia and Etihad Airways were supportive shareholders and partners, who are contributing to the success of Air Serbia in different ways and together are powerful drivers for success.
"The Government of Serbia is monitoring our progress closely and providing assistance and advice where needed and where appropriate. I have no doubt that we will be the leading airline in the region and our success will have a very positive impact on Belgrade's Nikola Tesla Airport, as it aims to become the region's key air transport hub," Mr Kondić said.