Air Serbia will maintain flights to Russia for now despite surge in demand

Air Serbia is set to become one of the few European carriers allowed to operate in Russian airspace after most European countries imposed a blanket flight ban on Russian-registered planes, prompting reciprocal measures to from the Russian authorities. Air Serbia, which maintains eight weekly services between Belgrade and Moscow, has seen its flights sell out until Thursday, with the airline now starting to schedule its widebody Airbus A330-200 on certain dates this week to offer more seats . Before adding more capacity, flights from the Russian capital to Belgrade were fully booked until Saturday, with the exception of Wednesday when few seats remained available. Aeroflot, which maintained eight weekly flights from Russia to Belgrade, and Nordwind Airlines, which operated a twice-weekly service, have been forced to suspend operations to the Serbian capital as their planes are no longer able to navigate the airspace bans in order to reach the city.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said yesterday: “We are closing EU airspace to aircraft that are Russian-owned, Russian-registered or Russian-controlled.” Macedonia and Montenegro will also join the ban. point, the European Union has not prevented foreign carriers from using its airspace for flights to Russia. However, this may change. Closing European airspace to Russian airlines and vice versa had an immediate impact on global aviation. Air France said it was temporarily suspending flights to and from China, Korea and Japan, as it “studies plan options for flight to avoid Russian airspace, in accordance with the directives of the French and international authorities”. that it would not be viable to operate its Asian flights.

In addition to Moscow, Air Serbia currently operates a weekly service from Belgrade to St. Petersburg. During the summer season, the carrier also offers flights to Krasnodar and Rostov-on-Don, while it plans to inaugurate services to Sochi from June. However, most of the latter destinations depend on Russian passengers transferring to Western Europe. It is highly likely that European Union member states will stop issuing Schengen visas to Russian citizens. Russia is one of the largest markets for Belgrade airport, with Russian citizens allowed to enter Serbia without a visa. During pre-pandemic 2019, a total of 329,543 passengers flew between Belgrade and Moscow.

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