Miami Herald (Sunday)

A new Miami connection to Europe? State-owned Air Serbia plans direct flights. What to know

- BY VINOD SREEHARSHA vsreeharsh­a@miamiheral­

A new airline service could give South Florida easier access to Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and even provide another way to get to Israel.

Air Serbia, expected to obtain two new long-haul aircrafts this spring, is eyeing Miami Internatio­nal Airport for its next U.S. nonstop destinatio­n from Belgrade.

Marko Djuric, Serbia’s ambassador to the United States, visited Miami over three days late last month.

On Jan. 28, he met with Ralph Cutié, director and chief executive officer of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department.

“Miami is next in the U.S.,” in additional service for Air Serbia, Djuric said in an interview with the Miami Herald the following day. Djuric, who has been ambassador in Washington since October 2020, was on his first official visit to Miami.

A start date for Miami service is uncertain. Air Serbia is a state-owned airline. Company executives declined to provide details after multiple requests for comment.


In November, the government acquired all shares that Abu Dhabibased Etihad Airways had in the company. Air Serbia was known as Jat Airways until 2013.

Discussion­s about the new Miami service have been taking place since at least last year, another person familiar with them told the Miami Herald.

The Serbian government appears keen on

making the flights a reality, and soon.

“I think it will happen this year,” said Djuric in the interview in the lobby of the Loews Hotel in Miami Beach. “Air Serbia is pretty far in talks with MIA.”

If the carrier gets new long-haul airplanes by April, then the Miami flight could be added fairly quickly, the diplomat said, without specifying the month.

Air Serbia flies to about 83 destinatio­ns, 65 yearround and which are in Europe. Miami is the airline’s largest non-serviced market. Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is considered a major hub for Eastern Europe.

In getting started, Djuric said the new service from Miami would likely emulate the only two other places in the United States that Air Serbia flies to non-stop — John F. Kennedy Internatio­nal Airport in New York and O’Hare Internatio­nal Airport in Chicago.

That means the carrier would start with two to three flights a week and

 ?? Courtesy of Air Serbia ?? An Air Serbia flight taking off.
Courtesy of Air Serbia An Air Serbia flight taking off.

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