Air Serbia Is New York JFK’s Top Airline By Load Factor

Air Serbia was the airline with the highest load factor at New York JFK in September 2020, with an average of 67%. This impressive result in September is the reason why the Serbian flag carrier increased capacity by almost 50% on its  Belgrade-New York JFK flights in October. Let’s take a look at why it’s doing so well.

Air Serbia Airbus A330-202 (YU-ARA) at JFK_Airport
Air Serbia’s Airbus A330 (YU-ARA) at New York JFK Airport, where it was the top airline by load factor in September. Photo: Adam Moreira via Wikimedia

Air Serbia is joint top with KLM

In a press release today, Air Serbia announced that it is the number one airline in New York JFK by load factor, together with KLM of the Netherlands. Their joint highest load factor result was 67%. In joint third place, behind Air Serbia and KLM, are Etihad and Egypt Air. After them, it’s Asiana of Korea.

Commenting on the impressive result, the VP for Americas of Air Serbia, George Petković, said,

“We are very satisfied with the achieved results, which are a good indicator that, despite the coronavirus pandemic, the flight to New York is operating well and represents one of the strongest Air Serbia routes.”

Furthermore, he added that Air Serbia is also a top performer in another area of airline operations at JFK, commenting,

“According to the data of the NY airport, we are at the top of the list in terms of on-time performance as well, i.e. take-offs of planes up to 15 minutes from the planned take-off time.”

Air Serbia Airbus A330 New York JFK
Air Serbia is also the top performer for on-time performance at JFK. Photo: Getty Images

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What is the state of Belgrade-JFK flights now?

Air Serbia is currently operating two flights a week to New York, on Thursdays and Saturdays. This frequency will increase to three weekly between 14th December and 4th January, and four weekly between 18th December and 1st January. All flights are operated by Air Serbia’s sole Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

At the height of the COVID-19 crisis, in March, Air Serbia had grounded its fleet. The air link between New York JFK and Belgrade was established on 6th June. Until 28th October, the Serbian national airline has operated 71 flights and carried 26,121 passengers on the route.

Air Serbia Airbus A330
Air Serbia’s Airbus A330-200 operated a rescue flight to Washington earlier this year. Photo: Getty Images

Why is Air Serbia doing so well on flights to New York JFK?

Donald Trump’s ban on passenger entry from the European Union does not include Serbia, as Serbia is not in the EU. Similarly, Serbia is maintaining a loose border policy itself, and it still allows arrivals from the US to land in Serbia and spend time in the country freely.

This means that all passengers wishing to travel from a country that does not have a direct link with the USA are allowed to do so through Air Serbia’s hub in Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. The opposite is also the case. Consequently, this also boosts the viability of Air Serbia’s regional network which acts as a feeder to the Belgrade-JFK flights.

The VP for Americas of Air Serbia, George Petković, commented on the importance of this route for the Serbian airline by stating:

“The U.S. is a very important market which is available to Serbia and the entire Southeast Europe thanks to us as the only airline in the region with a scheduled direct flight over the Atlantic.”

It remains to be seen if Air Serbia stands to profit from this in the long term, even as travel restrictions are lifted across Europe and airlines increase frequencies on direct flights between North America and Europe once more.

What do you think of this story? Will Air Serbia profit in the long run? Let us know what you think in the comments below.