Air Serbia, the national airline of the Republic of Serbia, has announced plans to launch flights from Belgrade (BEG) to New York (JFK) in June 2016.
Subject to government and regulatory approval, it will be the first non-stop service between Serbia and the United States in 24 years, to provide a new air-link between the two countries which share deep cultural and commercial ties.
New York JFK will be Air Serbia’s first long-haul destination since its launch two years ago and the aircraft will be the first wide-body to enter the fleet of the Belgrade-based airline.
According to recent surveys there are more than 200,000 people of Serbian ethnicity living in the United States, including New York and Chicago, which has the biggest Serbian diaspora in the United States, and the number increases significantly when including other Balkan countries.
Aleksandar Vučić, Prime Minister of Serbia, said: “The launch of non-stop flights between Belgrade and New York in June next year will be a hugely proud and significant moment in the short history of Air Serbia, demonstrating the growth and ambitions of the airline.
“We cannot underestimate the positive impact the new service will have on the people and businesses of Serbia as we open this air-bridge to the United States, which is home to so many Serbian communities who will now have a unique opportunity to fly to Serbia with the national airline.”
Siniša Mali, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Air Serbia, and Mayor of Belgrade, said:
“The introduction of non-stop flights between Belgrade and New York is another milestone in the evolution of Belgrade as a regional hub and the growth of Air Serbia.
“The New York service will bring large numbers of business and leisure travellers from the United States to Serbia providing a significant boost to the economy.
James Hogan, Vice Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Air Serbia and President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “In addition to creating a safe and commercially-sustainable airline, one of the pledges we made when Air Serbia was launched in 2013 was to re-connect Serbia with major Serbian population centres around the world.
“We are naturally delighted, therefore, to announce the launch of the New York service which, as well as enhancing business and cultural ties between the two countries, will provide a major boost to inbound tourism to Serbia.
“The new service shows one of the main strengths of Etihad Airways Partners. In launching this trans-Atlantic service, Air Serbia can call upon the expertise and resources of pilot and cabin crew training, as well as fleet and engineering support.”
Dane Kondić, Chief Executive Officer of Air Serbia, said: “The launch of the Belgrade-New York non-stop service is a fantastic example of the positive impact of the Air Serbia strategic plan, which is progressing well and continues to be on-track to meet and surpass its targets.
“We have been asked for many months when a new United States service will start, and we are pleased now to reveal the destination and intended launch date and look forward to welcome guests onboard our flights between Belgrade and New York, offering them our world-famous Serbian cuisine and hospitality as they cross the Atlantic.”
The five flights-a-week service will be operated by a leased two cabin A330-200 aircraft. Air Serbia is currently considering lease options with Etihad Airways Partner airlines as well as with other external companies.
The Air Serbia New York flight schedule will offer guests convenient connections from many of the airline’s regional destinations across the Balkans and Southern Europe, including Istanbul, Athens, and Tirana.