Air Serbia plans five-member widebody fleet
Air Serbia plans to operate up to five widebody aircraft in the future as it prepares to take delivery of its second twin-aisle jet in the coming weeks. “In 2023, we will operate two Airbus A330s. If China proves successful and markets open up, we could go to three planes. In the long term, I can imagine a fleet size of around five aircraft on long-haul routes,” Air Serbia CEO Jiri Marek told “Aero Telegraph”. He added: “The two aircraft we will now use are the A330 Ceos, which offer good value for money. We already have a lot of experience operating this aircraft. On the other hand, on the short and medium-haul, we are not limiting ourselves to the Ceo version, because the rental market is very dynamic and volatile following the pandemic, and we will seize all the good opportunities that arise”.
Air Serbia aims to have all of its cabin crew trained for the jumbo jet, with new batches of crew starting their courses soon. Air Serbia is leasing its second A330-200 aircraft from Aircastle Limited, the chassis having previously operated for South African Airways. The jet is due to arrive in Belgrade next month and will operate to Tianjin, New York and European destinations. It will temporarily replace the airline’s current A330-200 which will undergo scheduled maintenance during the winter season, after which both jets will be used. “As well as servicing future flights to China, which we plan to launch this fall, this aircraft will also be deployed on flights to major high-demand European destinations,” Marek said.
The CEO has previously described taking on a second A330 as a “big deal” for a regional carrier. “We are very pleased with the performance of our A330-200 as flying to a single long-haul destination with a single aircraft is quite difficult. The new addition will be vital to our future expansion, launching new routes and increasing the frequency of flights within our existing destination network,” Mr. Marek said. Although still to be confirmed, Air Serbia is expected to lease the A330 previously registered as ZS-SXW. She was delivered new to the South African national carrier in 2011 and has been in storage since May 2020, when she was returned to her owner.