November 9, 2015 / 5:12 PM / 3 years ago

Serbia's flag carrier to resume flights to United States in 2016

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Air Serbia plans resume flights between Belgrade and the United States by June next year more than two decades after they were halted due to an embargo because of the war in former Yugoslavia.

Air Serbia, which emerged from the now-defunct Yugoslav-era JAT Airways in 2013 and is now 49 percent owned by the United Arab Emirates airline Etihad Airways, said it would operate five weekly flights between Belgrade and New York.

“These flights are now undergoing approvals by authorities and regulatory bodies,” company’s director Dane Kondic told a news conference.

The now-defunct Yugoslavia’s JAT ended direct flights to the U.S. in 1992 due to the international embargo.

Serbia and neighbouring countries have sizable diasporas in the U.S. and with direct flights from Belgrade, many from the region would no longer have to stop over in major European hubs such as Frankfurt or Zurich.

Kondic also said that the Air Serbia planned to lease its first wide-body Airbus A330-200 airliner for the flights to New York.

He said the airline’s third-quarter operating revenue rose 26 percent to 86 million euros (61.08 million pound). Last year, Air Serbia recorded a net profit of 2.7 million euros on revenue of 262 million.

According to company’s website, Air Serbia currently operates a fleet of 20 aircraft comprising Airbus, ATR and Boeing models serving 40 destinations directly and an additional 41 airports through codeshare agreements.

Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Jane Merriman

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