Serbia and Kosovo are just a step away from re-establishing an air link between Belgrade and Pristina after more than 20 years. The news comes just months after a historic agreement was signed between the two, with the blessing of the USA and Lufthansa Group.
Kosovo-Serbia flights are edging closer
As Kosovo and Serbia make progress on normalizing their economic relations, further details are emerging about the process of re-establishing an air link between Belgrade and Pristina.
Last week, on September 4th, Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo’s prime minister Avdullah Hoti signed an agreement under the brokerage of the United States in which they formally confirmed their intention to significantly improve connectivity between each other.
The US’s Special Advisor for National Security and Foreign Policy, Ric Grenell, discussed the agreement in an interview to the American Center for Law & Justice, posted on YouTube. In the interview, he confirmed that there is now a formal agreement that gives the green light for an airline to re-launch flights between Belgrade and Pristina for the first time since 1999.
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Further details keep emerging
Speaking to Radio Free Europe, and as reported by ibna, the Infrastructure Minister for Kosovo, Arban Abrashi, confirmed that flights would be operated by a Lufthansa Group airline. Furthermore, he said that the first flight will take off “in record time,” and that Serbia, Kosovo, and Lufthansa are already in the process of negotiating an agreement.
Previously, no airline could start flights between Pristina and Belgrade because there were too many administrative barriers in place. Serbia and Kosovo could not agree on what airspace the aircraft would be using when flying between the two countries. Currently, all airlines serving Pristina from the North must approach the airport from the South, via North Macedonia.
Also, as previously agreed, point to point passengers will not have to carry a passport with them. Instead, they will use their identity cards issued by Kosovo or by Serbia, depending on where their journey originates. This way, the issue of passports is avoided – Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as an independent state.
Eurowings will operate the route
As Simple Flying reported at the time, Eurowings opened a base in Kosovo in June 2019. This was only the second Eurowings base outside Germany and Austria, the first being Palma de Mallorca.
As part of the new agreement, Eurowings has been given full freedom to select its codeshare partners on this route between Pristina and Belgrade. The route could be particularly useful to Air Serbia as a feeder for its Belgrade – New York JFK flights, which are currently doing very well.
When do you think this service will actually launch? What do you think of the fact that Lufthansa Group will be the airline to re-establish these flights? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.