Wed. Mar 29th, 2023

Qatar Airways has reportedly inked a new codeshare agreement with Air Serbia.
Qatar Airways might be considering increasing its capacity to Belgrade after inking a new codeshare agreement with Air Serbia. The carrier plans to increase its currently 5x weekly service to once daily from March 26th onward and has adjusted its flight time in December to feed into Air Serbia's operations. Let's find out more.
According to EX-YU Aviation, Qatar Airways has inked a codeshare deal with Air Serbia which will be unveiled soon. The deal will see QR flight numbers placed on services to Nis, Tivat, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Ljubljana, and St. Petersburg, and to Western Europe with Dusseldorf, Stuttgart, Hanover, Nuremberg, Salzburg, Bologna, and Venice.
Air Serbia will add its JU code on Qatar's service to Doha and will extend this beyond as well, with Australia a likely target for codeshares. The Serbian flag carrier is also adding a codeshare with an unnamed US airline in the near future, extending its reach far beyond. With opportunities abounding, Qatar may increase its capacity beyond the A320 service it currently offers.
In a statement to EX-YU, Qatar Airways said,
"Belgrade is an important route for Qatar Airways, and the partnership with Air Serbia will definitely expand and improve our presence in the market in the near future and hopefully lead to more capacity. At this point we are still considering whether we will increase frequencies to Belgrade.”
Readers will remember that Air Serbia was once owned by Etihad Airways, which was a major strategic partner. The carrier maintained service to Abu Dhabi until the winter of 2017, while Etihad flew frequently to Belgrade. However, as the Middle Eastern carrier pulled out from its failed investments, the partnership fell apart as well, allowing Qatar Airways to enter and expand. Etihad no longer flies to Serbia but maintains a 16% stake in the flag carrier.
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways has seen a massive increase in its passenger count from Belgrade. In 2017 it served 57,082 travelers, rising to 81,397 passengers in 2018 and 97,815 in 2019. The carrier has served Serbia nonstop since 2016 and, at its peak, had 10 weekly services using the A321, which has fallen recently.
With the pandemic clearing up and Etihad gone as of September 2020, Qatar is looking to capitalize on the growing market and connect opportunities far beyond Europe.
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For Qatar Airways and Air Serbia, the deal could be very lucrative. Qatar will get further access to Eastern Europe and double down on its presence in Western European (namely Germany). Meanwhile, Air Serbia will be able to sell tickets to long-haul destinations like Australia, which sees frequent VFR (visiting friends and relatives) travel from the country. With Doha as its hub, cities in South and East Asia will be an option too, routes that remain untapped for now.
We will know more once the codeshare is announced officially, but expect to see more Qatar Airways flight numbers on the departure board in Belgrade very soon.
What do you think about Qatar Airways and Air Serbia's upcoming codeshare? Let us know in the comments.
Source: EX-YU Aviation
Lead Journalist – India – Pranjal is an experienced journalist with a strong focus on Indian aviation. His background in political science and economics gives him unique insight into issues surrounding international travel and governmental regulations. Pranjal is enthusiastic about new aircraft types and has his stories regularly picked up by renowned publications including Forbes. Based in New Delhi, India.


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