Will Air Serbia Launch Flights To Toronto?

Air Serbia could soon be launching flights from Belgrade to Toronto, as it emerges that Serbia and Canada have again entered talks to make the air connection possible. The Canadian Ambassador to Serbia, Kati Csaba, said both sides are working on this with “intensive efforts.”

An Air Serbia A330 aircraft could soon be flying to Toronto. Photo: Getty Images

Belgrade to Toronto flights launching soon?

Espreso reports that Serbia’s Prime Minister, Ana Brnabić, met with the Canadian Ambassador to Serbia, Kati Csaba, last week. Among other matters, they discussed the introduction of direct flights between Toronto and Belgrade.

Kati Csaba said that “Canadian investors have recognized Serbia as an excellent market for investment into the mining industry and the energy sector.” She then said that she is “confident” that the economic relations would be further advanced by an upcoming direct air link between Belgrade and Toronto.

Interestingly, Kati Csaba also explicitly stated this route would be launched despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and that Serbia and Canada are working on its introduction with “intense efforts.” Drawing on reasons why she believes these flights would be both useful and necessary, Csaba said (translated):

“This direct air link (…) will be of extreme importance, both for further development of relations between the two countries, as well as for the vast Serbian diaspora in Canada that represents an important link between our two nations.”

Air Serbia already has already made contact with Toronto Pearson International Airport. Photo: Getty Images

An agreement already exists

Serbia and Canada signed an Air Service Agreement in 2018. Through this agreement, a direct flight between Belgrade and any point in Canada, most likely Toronto, was made possible. In fact, at the time when the agreement was signed, Kati Csaba stated that the Canadian Embassy in Serbia, which she was already leading at the time, was in talks with Air Serbia about the introduction of flights.

Rumors have been circulating the local press for the past few years about Air Serbia potentially acquiring a second Airbus A330 aircraft with which it could launch Belgrade-Toronto-Belgrade flights. Even Toronto Pearson International Airport confirmed that it was in touch with Air Serbia about these flights.

An agreement with a Canadian airline would help with the load factor on this route. Photo: Getty Images

Should Air Serbia launch flights to Toronto?

Air Serbia would indeed have several reasons to launch flights on this route: the sizeable Serbian diaspora in Canada would be the main reason. At the same time, Air Serbia’s extensive regional network and an organized transfer system in Belgrade Nikola Tesla would aid the profitability of the route by enhancing its load factor with transfer passengers. The vast majority of the airports that Air Serbia serves in the wider region do not have a direct link to Canada, and so Air Serbia would be as competitive as Lufthansa, KLM, or LOT.

However, Air Serbia is facing some obstacles too. Firstly, it is not a member of any alliance. As such, it would not be able to channel passengers via Toronto to Canada and the United States unless it signed a codeshare agreement or at least an interline with Air Canada or WestJet. Also, the Serbian airline has previously been found to be delayed on as many as a third of its flights when it expanded too quickly last year.

Do you think flights between Belgrade and Toronto are going to materialize soon? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.

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