KLM to maintain limited EX-YU presence
|KLM rules out Belgrade and Sarajevo flights, maintains Zagreb|
KLM plans to maintain a limited presence in the former Yugoslavia in the coming period and has ruled out direct flights to both Belgrade and Sarajevo in a statement to EX-YU Aviation News. Despite being part of one of Europe’s biggest airline holding companies, Zagreb will remain KLM’s only destination in the former Yugoslavia, where it competes against Croatia Airlines on flights from Amsterdam. The Dutch carrier launched the route last May, initially as a seasonal summer service, upgrading it to year-long flights shortly after. This winter season, from October 25, KLM will be reducing its operations to five weekly flights compared to daily last winter. Despite the reduction, the carrier said, “KLM is always optimising its network and is satisfied with the current development of its flights to Zagreb”.
Commenting on possible services to Belgrade, the airline notes it will continue to maintain its codeshare partnership with Air Serbia and does not intend on launching its own flights to the Serbian capital. “KLM is satisfied with the codeshare with Air Serbia. There are no plans to change it at this moment”, the airline’s spokesperson, Joost Ruempol, told EX-YU Aviation News. Earlier this year, Air Serbia and KLM expanded their existing codeshare agreement. Besides sharing flight numbers on the Belgrade – Amsterdam route, operated by Air Serbia ten times per week, the Serbian carrier has also added its designator code and flight numbers on services between Amsterdam and Manchester, operated double daily by the Dutch carrier.
KLM currently has no plans to launch flights to Sarajevo either, however, its low cost subsidiary, Transiava, has been considering the service for some time. Following talks between Transavia’s Chief Commercial Officer, Roy Scheerder, and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Ahmet Halilović, last year, the Ambassador said the low cost airline is eyeing flights between Amsterdam and Sarajevo. “One of Transavia’s the most important prerequisites for launching new flights is the tourist potential of the destination, interest from Dutch citizens and cooperation with local tour operators”, Ambassador Halilović said. Sarajevo Airport is currently in talks with several airlines regarding the potential launch of new services, with more details to be revealed this autumn.