Air Serbia Helps Deliver 100,000 Sputnik Vaccines To Belgrade

Air Serbia’s Airbus A330-200 aircraft has been busy again. Apart from operating scheduled flights to New York JFK, it has made seven round trips to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) in order to transport the Sputnik V vaccine to Serbia.

Air Serbia Helps Deliver 100,000 Sputnik Vaccines To Belgrade
Another 100,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine arrived in Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport yesterday afternoon. Photo: Tanjug

100,000 more doses of Sputnik V arrive to Serbia

100,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine arrived in Serbia yesterday on Air Serbia’s flight JU31 from Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) to Belgrade Nikola Tesla (BEG). This was the seventh time that Air Serbia’s A330-200 aircraft, YU-ARA, was in Moscow in the last two months alone. In early February, for example, Serbia received 50,000 doses of the vaccine via the same route.

The 100,000 vaccine doses were produced in the Generium factory in Vladimir Oblast in the Russian Federation, according to a press release containing a statement by Serbia’s minister in charge of innovation and technological development, Nenad Popović. The vaccines were delivered in 19 special containers to facilitate their storage under the required temperature.

The minister also stated that the Sputnik V vaccine deliveries would continue on a weekly basis, and he thanked Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on behalf of Serbia on this occasion. Serbia will start producing the Russian vaccine in its Torlak Institute in May this year.

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Air Serbia is making great use of its A330

For the duration of the ongoing pandemic, Air Serbia has been a lot of use out of its single wide-body aircraft, the Airbus A330-200. In April 2020, it operated a direct flight from Belgrade to Washington for a two-way rescue operation: on the way to Washington, Air Serbia was rescuing US citizens stuck in Serbia, and on the way back from Washington to Belgrade, it was rescuing Serbian citizens stranded in the US.

Air Serbia Helps Deliver 100,000 Sputnik Vaccines To Belgrade
Air Serbia’s YU-ARA aircraft transported 100,000 vaccine doses yesterday. Photo:

Before that, in March 2020, Air Serbia flew from Belgrade to Los Angeles (LAX). That flight was chartered by the US State Department and the US Embassy in Serbia. In mid-spring 2020, the A330 operated flights from Belgrade to China almost continuously. In the week beginning April 20th, the aircraft was flying either to or from Shanghai every single day.

In January this year, the Serbian flag carrier operated five rotations to Bahrain, carrying medical cargo that the Middle Eastern island donated to Serbia. The flights took place following the decision between Bahrain and Serbia to strengthen their relations in November 2020.

Air Serbia A330
In February, Air Serbia’s A330-200 also transported 500,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine. Photo: Getty Images

A new A330 for Air Serbia

As Simple Flying reported earlier this month, Air Serbia is in the process of acquiring a new Airbus A330-200 aircraft to replace the current wide-body. Reports suggest that the A330 that Air Serbia is using at the moment will be returned to its former close partner, Etihad.

The new Airbus A330 has already been painted in Air Serbia’s stunning new wide-body livery. The aircraft was formerly operated by Russia’s Aeroflot under the registration VP-BLY. It is now in Shannon, Ireland, where it had arrived from Hong Kong on March 3rd. It will be ferried to Belgrade soon.

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