Air Serbia reported a €12.2 million ($13.9 million) net profit for 2018, down 22% from €15.7 million a year ago.

The airline said 2018 set the foundation for expanding its network. CEO Duncan Naysmith said, “This also served as a basis for our long-term strategy, which has already been implemented and will reinforce our role as regional leader.”

The Serbian flag carrier transported 2.48 million passengers in 2018. ASKs were 4.03 billion and load factor was 71.2%, slightly down from 73% year-over-year (YOY).

Air Serbia’s charter arm, Aviolet, operated a record 958 charter flights and carried 223,000 passengers, an increase of 28% YOY. Revenue from charter operations rose by more than 40% in 2018, to €20.7 million, which improved on 2017—a record year.

In March 2018, Belgrade-based Air Serbia said it made considerable business improvements by introducing a new fares concept and increasing online sales. Ancillary services reached €6.9 million, nearly 5X-higher than 2017.

“Regardless of the numerous and demanding challenges in the airline industry, Air Serbia is [not only] developing its product portfolio to ensure even better financial and operative results, but also [offering] our passengers an excellent product for an economical price,” Naysmith said.

Air Serbia said it implemented measures involving business improvements, process optimization and network expansion preparation in June 2019.

On July 15, Air Serbia launched operations from its new base at Niš Constantine the Great Airport to Nuremberg, Germany. One Airbus A319 based in Niš also operates to Bologna (Italy); Tivat (Montenegro); Gothenburg (Sweden); Karlsruhe, Hannover, Friedrichshafen, and Frankfurt-Hahn (Germany); Ljubljana (Slovenia); Budapest (Hungary); Salzburg (Austria); and Rome (Italy).

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has a 49% stake in Air Serbia.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at