Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vučić has announced that Air Serbia would start a service from Belgrade to Tianjin in China. The move follows Hainan’s announcement that it would start a service from Beijing to Belgrade. The route is planned to commence in October but is pending government approval.
Serbia and China are building relations, and these flights will strengthen ties between the two. The two countries are currently in a free trade negotiation, and an agreement is expected to be signed by the end of the year.
Serbia’s president said,
“This a good outcome, as we will attract a lot more tourists and business people but also bring China closer to Serbia, as I am certain a greater number of Serbian tourists, businesses and officials will use this service”.
The flight will strenghen ties between the two countries. Photo: Air Serbia
Tianjin is a port city south of Beijing, connecting China’s capital to the East China Sea.
Air Serbia plans on using its Airbus A330-200 on the route. Notably, Air Serbia is one of the few European airlines allowed to enter Russian airspace. In addition, Air Serbia still flies to Moscow and St. Petersburg. So, flying between Serbia and China won’t be an issue in terms of flying over Russia.
Hainan Airlines Flight
Yesterday saw the inaugural Hainan flight between Beijing and Belgrade and Belgrade to Dalian. These flights will operate every Saturday. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, flights from Belgrade will fly to Dalian and then connect to Beijing.
Vice Chairman of Hainan Airlines, Cheng Ming, said
“Belgrade is one of the first international destinations to be restored by Hainan Airlines due to significant demand. The route will build a bridge to facilitate people to people exchange and promote business between Chinese and Serbian enterprises, which can now seek even more opportunities under the Belt and Road cooperation framework. The flights are scheduled so as to connect onto more than forty domestic destinations in cooperation with Hainan Group airlines. “
Saturday saw Hainan’s inaugural flight to Belgrade. Photo: Hainan Airlines
Air Serbia’s CEO and Serbia’s president welcomed the inaugural flight in Belgrade. Hainan Airlines used an Airbus A330-300 to complete the 10-hour flight.
In 2017, Hainan Airlines operated a flight from Beijing to Belgrade via Prague, which was suspended in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo said,
“It was an honor to fly on the first nonstop service from Beijing to Belgrade. These flights will further consolidate Belgrade’s position as a regional hub. I would particularly like to thank Air Serbia on its assistance for the launch of these services and I look forward to seeing them in China too “.
At key airport
Air Serbia is not the only airline to be flying to Tianjin. Poland’s LOT flies weekly from the Polish capital Warsaw, which started in 2021. Over the past year, there were specially chartered flights between Tianjin and Belgrade to transport Chinese workers to Serbia.
LOT is another airline that flies to Tianjin. Photo: Boeing
Tianjin Airport is a relatively small airport with mainly domestic services departing the airport. Major carriers at the airport include Air China and Tianjin Airlines. In 2018, Hainan Airlines started regular services to Vancouver in Canada. However, the flight was discontinued in 2019. Airbus also has a final assembly line in Tianjin.
This new route is hoped to allow Chinese workers and business people to come to Serbia. Furthermore, Air Serbia also expects many tourists to visit the Eastern-European country.
What do you think of the announcement? Have you flown with Air Serbia? Comment below.
Source: EX-YU Aviation News