Only one day after Air Serbia announced to double flights between Belgrade, Serbia and Moscow, Russia, the decision was turned back. The country (and Air Serbia) received much criticism and backlash. First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Emine Dzheppar wrote on Twitter: “Serbia is the only one in Europe with an open sky to Russia. Making money on Ukrainian blood is unworthy of a European Union candidate country.”
Serbia is one of the few that did not impose sanctions on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is also one of the few to be spared from the closure of Russian airspace. Therefore, the only European air corridor left open to Russia is via Serbia, which is now acting as a gateway.
Air Serbia planned 15 weekly flights against 7. But Serbia’s populist president, Aleksandar Vucic, said Air Serbia will go back to one flight to Moscow a day following “the witch hunt” against his country.
Next to financial reasons, the airline wanted to compensate for the suspension of flights by the Russian company Aeroflot, which can no longer serve Belgrade because it has been banned from European airspace.
Yesterday, an Air Serbia Airbus A330 that just departed for Moscow was forced to return to Belgrade after a bomb threat.
Russia has banned access of its airspace to airlines from 36 countries in response to European restrictions. The Belgrade hub also benefits European Union airlines which have increased their flights to and from Serbia.
#AirSerbia doubled direct flights to Moscow while??airlines stoped flights to #Russia and closed the airspace to ??airlines&private jets. #Serbia is the only one in Europe with an open sky to Russia. Making money on??blood is unworthy of #EU candidate country #StandWithUkraine pic.twitter.com/apJGa0JcHt
— Emine Dzheppar (@EmineDzheppar) March 12, 2022