Serbia and Turkey have agreed to revise the number of destinations, frequencies and capacity between the two countries to deviate from the restrictive bilateral aviation agreement in force between the two states. The Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate, Turkey’s General Directorate of Aviation, Air Serbia and Turkish Airlines met in Istanbul to finalize the agreement. “The meeting resulted in an agreement on destinations, frequencies and capacities that will be in effect for scheduled flights between the two countries,” the Serbian regulator said. Although details are yet to be announced, Air Serbia is expected to increase operations to Istanbul this winter, complementing the triple daily service of its Turkish counterpart. In addition, the Turkish airline is expected to launch scheduled flights between Antalya and Belgrade in cooperation with Air Serbia next year.
The new agreement will support the drafting of a joint venture between Air Serbia and Turkish Airlines. A joint venture is an agreement between airlines to share revenue on a route. This also includes the coordination of tour planning and disposition. These are usually large companies that involve extensive negotiation. They also often require government approval as competition may be eliminated. The two said the joint venture “will allow the two companies to offer more competitive and affordable flights between Turkey and Serbia, improve the quality of service currently offered, as well as expand their offerings and benefits for all passengers.” Air Serbia and Turkish Airlines are negotiating to extend existing codeshare, cargo and frequent flyer (FFP) program cooperation while developing cooperation alternatives in passenger lounges in their networks. Turkish Airlines is already using Air Serbia’s dedicated Premium Lounge at Belgrade Airport.
This year, Turkish Airlines has added a third daily flight to Belgrade, which will also be maintained throughout the winter, while Air Serbia has introduced a bi-weekly flight from Niš and Kraljevo to Istanbul, which is developing well. In addition, the two airlines have extended their codeshare partnership several times. Serbia and Turkey recently signed a protocol allowing for passport-free travel. The restrictive air transport agreement between Serbia and Turkey, signed in October 2015, came into force in December 2021. Under the deal, each airline must consider how its operations will affect its competitors, while regulators are able to determine whether an increase in capacity or frequencies is warranted and in line with market needs.