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Air Serbia appoints local GSA

Formerly known as JAT Airways, Air Serbia (JU) now has representation in the Australasian market, with the appointment of Aviation Online as its local GSA.

Silversea Air Serbia 010Formerly known as JAT Airways, Air Serbia (JU) now has representation in the Australasian market, with the appointment of Aviation Online as its local GSA.

Aviation Online is owned by the Cassar family which also runs the Breakaway Travel Industry Club, with the company’s GSA operation currently also representing Brussels Airlines, Air Malta and Alitalia.

The Air Serbia division is headed up by former Qantas and Virgin Australia executive Stevan Sipka – pictured with a collector’s edition A320 aircraft in the brand new Air Serbia livery.

Air Serbia was reborn in late 2013 after the Serbian government signed an agreement with Etihad Airways, which holds 49% of the carrier. Air Serbia codeshares on Etihad services from Australia, with excellent connections through to Belgrade and then onto a network of about 12 destinations across Europe.

Sipka told Travel Bulletin he was excited about the opportunities for the brand in Australia. With an estimated 20,000 people of Serbian descent living here there’s significant potential for VFR traffic, as well as a heretofore untapped leisure market wanting easy access to Belgrade and Eastern Europe.

As well as boosting sales, other issues on Sipka’s plate include aviation bilaterals. Serbia has been designated as the successor to the former Yugoslavia in a number of existing air services agreements following the Balkan war, but there’s currently some work to be done to clarify the arrangements.

Air Serbia operates a two-class product, with the business class offering utilising similar hardware to Etihad’s short-haul offering and the carrier’s crew also undergo Etihad service training.

However despite the close relationship between the carriers, in Australasia Air Serbia is operating completely independently under its newly appointed GSA arrangement.

 

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