Sunday, July 04, 2021

India’s SpiceJet launches Belgrade charters

Indian low cost carrier SpiceJet will begin a series of charter flights from New Delhi to Belgrade, which are planned to operate throughout July. Services are being maintained with the Boeing 737-800 aircraft with flights alternating via either Yerevan in Armenia or Tbilisi in Georgia, catering for Indian travellers heading to the Serbian capital to undergo quarantine before being able to continue their onward journeys. Indian expatriates residing in the United Arab Emirates, United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and several others have been stranded in India for months as countries around the world have either banned flights or arrivals from the subcontinent in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, Serbia, which is the only country in Europe not to require visas for Indian nationals, has become a popular quarantine location.

According to Indian tour operators who are selling three, fourteen and 22-day quarantine packages in Serbia, over 1.000 Indian nationals have already visited the country. Carriers operating to Belgrade have also benefited from the surge of arrivals from the subcontinent, primarily Qatar Airways, Lufthansa, Flydubai and Turkish Airlines, resulting in all of them to either increase frequencies or capacity in response to the sudden surge in demand. On select flights from Belgrade, airlines are recording over 60% occupancy by Indian passport holders. The SpiceJet flights will be primarily used by Indian expatriates from the United Arab Emirates. The UAE has suspended inbound travellers from India and other South Asian countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka since April 24. Thousands of desperate travellers have chosen to return to the UAE by quarantining themselves for fourteen days in Serbia.

Outside the Covid era, India and Serbia have seen growing demand for air travel. The subcontinent was Serbia’s sixth busiest long haul market in 2019. New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad were the largest sources of traffic between the two nations, with Delhi and Mumbai themselves accounting for 67% of all passengers between the two countries. Qatar Airways was the most popular transfer airline, handling 30% of the traffic. It was followed by Etihad Airways and Aeroflot. 

04/07/21 EX-YU Aviation

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