Air Serbia achieves record passenger numbers for H1 2023

An Air Serbia Airbus on the taxiway.
Photo Credit: Air Serbia

Air Serbia has set a soaring trajectory in 2023, shattering previous records and surpassing all expectations. As of the end of August, the airline has already carried a remarkable 2.76 million passengers, a number that surpasses the total passenger count for the entire year of 2022.

Even more impressively, it is anticipated that Air Serbia will exceed its 2019 record of 2.81 million passengers in the first week of September this year.

H1 2023 Performance

Record-Breaking Passenger Numbers

In the first two quarters of 2023, Air Serbia transported approximately 1.7 million passengers. This achievement represents an impressive 87 percent increase compared to the previous year and a remarkable 59 percent surge compared to the record-setting pre-pandemic year of 2019.

Incredibly, when looking at the total number of passengers passing through Belgrade airport, it becomes evident that Air Serbia carried a significant share, accounting for about 50 percent of all passengers.

The market share of Air Serbia passengers at Belgrade airport in June alone reached an impressive 55 percent.

An Air Serbia Airbus A320 landing.
N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Flight Operations

During this period, Air Serbia operated an astounding total of 19,181 flights. This marks a 63 percent increase compared to the same period last year and a substantial 38 percent surge compared to the first six months of 2019.

This increased flight frequency has undoubtedly contributed to the airline’s remarkable success in 2023.

Financial Performance

Preliminary financial reports reveal that Air Serbia recorded a staggering profit of 22.4 million euros in the first half of the year. This achievement is nearly on par with the profit earned for the entire year of 2022, showcasing the airline’s exceptional financial stability and growth.

Air Serbia CEO Comments

In the face of numerous challenges, including adverse weather conditions, refueling bans, staffing shortages at airports, a global scarcity of spare parts, and other unfavorable circumstances, Air Serbia’s CEO, Jiri Marek, shared his perspective on the airline’s performance.

“The current summer season will be remembered for numerous challenges,” said Marek. “Despite it all, during July and August, we carried over a million passengers to more than 80 destinations worldwide, thus breaking our records set even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most intensive month was July, during which we carried 27 percent more passengers compared to July 2022, and 39 percent more compared to the same month in 2019.”

“Good results were also recorded in August, which was our 14th consecutive record-breaking month. At this moment, we are already intensively preparing for the upcoming winter season, which is expected to be very dynamic,” he concluded.

During July and August 2023, Air Serbia’s most popular regional destinations included Tivat and Podgorica.

In Western Europe, passengers flocked to Zurich, Paris, and Amsterdam, while in the wider Euro-Mediterranean zone, popular destinations included Istanbul, Larnaca, Athens, and Barcelona.

Impressively, among the long-haul destinations, New York ranks among the top ten destinations in terms of passenger numbers during these two summer months, showcasing the airline’s global reach.

Giving Back to the Republic of Serbia

In light of its impressive financial results, Air Serbia has taken a significant step by complying with domestic laws and the legislative framework of the European Union.

The airline has decided to pay 20 million euros to the Republic of Serbia this year, as a repayment for the funds received through the recapitalization process.

Air Serbia expressed its gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Serbia for its unwavering support and emphasized its commitment to fulfilling all obligations under the Recapitalization Agreement.

The Republic of Serbia initiated the recapitalization of its national airline in December 2020 and September 2022, aligning with European and domestic regulations.

This strategic move aimed to eliminate business disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic during 2020 and 2021, and it has clearly contributed to Air Serbia’s remarkable success in 2023.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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