Air Serbia Touches Down at Rijeka Airport for First Time in 30 Years

Daniela Rogulj

Just a few days ago, Lufthansa landed at Rijeka Airport for the first time and thus established a permanent line with Munich. And now, on June 4, 2019, Air Serbia landed at Rijeka Airport. Therefore, for the first time in almost 30 years, Rijeka is once again linked to Belgrade with a direct flight, reports on June 4, 2019. 

The new airline was welcomed with a traditional inauguration ceremony and water cannon salute. Representatives of the Rijeka Airport attended the ceremony with chief representatives of Air Serbia Goran Grozdanić, Chief Marketing Officer Maja Šotra, Regional Manager for Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina Damir Rigo, and Area Controller in charge of Rijeka Airport Zlatko Kuzmanović.

Thirty passengers were on the flight from Belgrade and were welcomed with homemade cakes and folk dancing by the young KUD Ive Jurjević from Omišalj. The tape was cut collectively by Air Serbia representative Goran Grozdanić and head of the RJ Plan and development of the Rijeka Airport Vedrana Čubranić.

This new line has established a direct air link between Rijeka and Belgrade, which will take place twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout the year. This will, as Vedrana Čubranić pointed out, cut travel time between the two cities from six hours on the highway to only eighty minutes in the air. 

Traffic on the Belgrade-Rijeka line will be operated by the ATR 72 which can accommodate 66 passengers. During the high season, the A319 aircraft will work with a capacity of 144 seats.

Air Serbia is Serbia’s national airline flying to a total of 49 destinations in Europe and the Mediterranean, with direct lines to the Middle East and North America, and direct flights from Belgrade to international destinations in Asia, Australia, and Africa.

“Introducing a direct year-round regular line between Rijeka and Belgrade represents a very significant step forward for the Kvarner region, since it was introduced after almost 30 years when it was traded twice a day in the former Yugoslavia. This line is of great significance as it will travel throughout the year, and introducing lines that will travel for 12 months are the foundation for the further sustainable development of the Rijeka Airport, as it reduces its seasonality and passengers can connect with larger centers throughout the year,” concluded Čubranić.

Air Serbia will also soon begin flights to Zadar, which will operate twice a week, on Fridays and Sundays, from June 21 to September 15, 2019. 

Recall, Air Serbia has already operated seasonal flights from Belgrade to Dubrovnik, Split and Pula, while the airline flies to Zagreb throughout the year. This summer, however, the Serbian airline will cover Croatia’s entire Adriatic coast, plus Zagreb, with its new flight announcements. 

Airline expert Alen Šćuric revealed that Air Serbia would have 31 flights per week to Croatia on the summer flight schedule, which is 4.5 flights a day, while they will run 12 flights a week in the off-season. The airline will offer about 165,000 seats annually, in both directions, on their total flights to Croatia, said Šćuric.

“This means that around 1.5 percent of all Croatian air passengers will travel through Belgrade,” says Šćuric. Though Croatia’s tourists may find that these lines are primarily used to bring Serbian tourists to the Adriatic, Šćuric believes that 70 percent of those passengers will travel across Belgrade to other destinations where Air Serbia operates. 

On the other hand, the Croatian national carrier Croatia Airlines has only one line for Serbia and Belgrade from Split in the summer, where it offers a total of 5800 seats. And it will stay that way for now. Croatia Airlines said that Belgrade has been part of the regular evaluation of the company’s network planning department for a long time, but also that the new lines introduced in the last three years showed a higher demand, and accordingly gained an advantage when opening new routes.

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