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News 22 Feb 13

Belgrade Aims to Restore US Flight Link

After America’s FAA completed its initial inspection of Serbia’s aviation, Serbia hopes the US will allow Belgrade to launch direct flights by year’s end.

BIRN
Belgrade

After the US Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, carried out the first stage of its inspection of Serbian aviation on February 17th, it will decide whether Belgrade meets the requirements to obtain certification for direct flights to the US.

Milutin Popovc, the transportation ministry’s advisor on aviation, said the main audit will probably be carried out in April.

“After that we can obtain FAA’s Category One, which would allow us to establish direct flights to the US and other countries by the end of the year,” Popovic told news agency Tanjug.

Serbia lost its certification to fly to the US in 2004, due to poor organisation of aviation governance and regulations and discrepancies between Serbian and US civil aviation standards and procedures.

Director of the Civil Aviation Directorate, Milan Zivanovic, told Tanjug that the directorate had harmonised rules with international rulebooks and standards since losing Category One status in 2004.

Zivanovic explained that if Serbia obtained FAA’s Category One, domestic airlines could open direct flights to the US with the possibility that other airlines would also use Belgrade Airport for direct flights to the States.

As Serbia’s national carrier, JAT, does not currently plan to offer transatlantic flights, the company is unlikely to be able to start flights to the US within the next two years.

Until the 1990s Belgrade offered direct flights to Chicago and New York once a week. The last were in 1992, on the eve of the break-up of Yugoslavia.

US Deputy Ambassador in Belgrade, Lee Litzenberger, told Tanjug that the US wants closer and stronger ties to Serbia. “Air transport is one area in which we want to support Serbia,” Litzenberger said.

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