Croatia refuses to grant Air Serbia license to sell tickets

Serbia will look to protect its national airline and its economy, the country’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić has said.

Source: Tanjug

He was commenting on a decision by Croatia’s air transport authorities not to grant Air Serbia a license to sell airline tickets in Croatia for flights via Belgrade to destinations in third countries.

Vučić said on Tuesday he hoped the reason for the decision by the Croatian authorities was not "fear of competition."

“I do not want to believe that someone has become afraid of facing competition from an airline of a Balkan country that will not become part of the EU in at least the next five years,” Vučić told a press conference in Kruševac.

He stressed that “Serbia is a country open to competition and contests” and pointed out that numerous Croatian companies were doing successful business in Serbia.

“We want to do good business, too," Vučić said, adding that the government in Belgrade would seek to protect Serbia’s carrier and economy.

He said that one could tell by the reaction of the Croatian authorities "how important Air Serbia is right now and how much better, more modern and more successful than other companies in the region it has become.”

Air Serbia has recently announced that it will reintroduce flights between Belgrade and Zagreb and offer two per day starting from December 12, for the first time in 23 years.

However, the Croatian civil aviation authorities did not grant Air Serbia the license to sell tickets and fly passengers from Zagreb via Belgrade to third destinations.

The problem is that Air Serbia could fly passengers from Croatia to 15 destinations in the EU at more favorable prices than those offered by Croatia Airlines.

In a letter delivered to Tanjug late on Tuesday, The Croatian Civil Aviation Agency indicated that Air Serbia could sell air tickets and operate passenger transport services only and exclusively between Belgrade and Zagreb.

Although Serbia and Croatia have signed an open skies agreement, the Croatian airline argues that Serbia cannot be selling tickets to passengers for flights from an EU member state’s city via Belgrade to a third destination in a European Union country.

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