Air Serbia, surprisingly good for connecting flights
Air Serbia is an Etihad partner and fourth largest national carrier in the central and eastern Europe. Over the past few years it has developed as a good connecting flights operator. A successor of the former JAT Airways, Air Serbia maintains a good regional network in the west balkans. This network includes flights to Banja Luka, Skopje, Podgorica, Tivat, Pula, Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Ljubljana, Ohrid, Tirana. The other parts of the Balkans are also well covered, including daily service to Sofia, Bucharest, Athens, Thessaloniki. The fleet of ATR aircraft proves very efficient for such short range routes. The mid-range routes are served by comfortable Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft. A direct service from Belgrade to New York presents good conenction possibilities for a number of these Balkan cities. Air Serbia leases an Airbus A330 for this route, able to accommodate 254 passengers in two classes.
The Etihad partnership allows efficient connection with UAE and certain Asian destinations, while the good service to key city in the rest of Europe such as Paris, Amsterdam, Stuttgart, Stockholm, Zurich, Milan, London, Vienna and others link the Balkans pretty efficiently. Apart from Etihad Airways, Alitalia, Air Seychelles, JET Airways India and Fly Niki are also part of the Etihad network. This allows for a wide network on a single ticket, frequent flyer benefits and some other nice amenities. The Etihad partnership also elevates the level of service of Air Serbia, allowing it to offer a somewhat better customer service standard compared to the other legacy carriers in Europe.
Air Serbia operates out of Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG), which has its pros and cons. The pros is that the airport is relatively compact allowing for quick switch between flights. The cons relate to the old infrastracture and inefficient operations leading to delays, bad baggage handling and other problems. In case of long layovers or overnight stay, the airport location offers perfect opportunity to explore the city of Belgrade, which is truly magnificient. The airport is not served by metro(which doesn't exist in Belgrade) or trains, but taxis are relatively inexpensive.
Air Serbia was formerly known as JAT Airways, when the government of Serbia entered into partnership with Etihad Airways and rebranded the airline. JAT used to be one of the most prominent airlines of the past, being national carrier not only of Serbia, but of the whole ex-Yugoslavia comprising of Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, FYROM. It was a major airline, serving destinations all over the world including such in the United States. During the 90s, JAT entered into serious financial problems and political restrictions following the desintegration of Yugoslavia and the military conflicts involving the member countries. The economic embargo over Serbia also affected the airline severly. It remained national carrier of Serbia, relying on state support until 2013, when a solution was finally found.
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Wrriten by Connectionreview.com editorial team.