Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport is now acting as one of the main European gateways for Russian passengers seeking to leave their country amid the ongoing war in Ukraine and economic sanctions. One of the world’s leading travel data and analytics companies, ForwardKeys, notes that available seat capacity scheduled in the first week of March from Russia to Serbia shows around a 50% increase compared to February 21, before full-scale military operations began. Capacity will grow all the way through to the start of the 2022 summer season, on March 27, with Air Serbia yet to update its schedules for the coming summer on its Russia routes, although the airline may be unable to restore its seasonal operations to the airports of Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar which are currently closed by Russian authorities due to their proximity to the war zone.
The number of tickets issued from Russia for onward travel via Serbia surged 60% in the week immediately after the start of the war compared to the whole of January. Although 85% of Russian transfers via Belgrade were destined to Montenegro during the first month of the year, the figure declined to 40% in the week after the start of the war, as Serbia became a hub for onward travel to other European countries. The main markets for onward travel for Russian passengers via Belgrade, following Montenegro, are Cyprus, France, Switzerland and Italy. Serbia is also one of the rare European markets to see its global flight bookings decline less than 10% following the start of the war, with most other European markets registering a decline of between 30% and 50%.
Source: Ex-Yu Aviation News