Serbia plans to partially resume commercial flights “around May 1”, the country’s President, Aleksandar Vučić, said yesterday. It comes following last week’s announcement that the “controlled” opening of Serbia’s airports for commercial traffic would occur during the week of May 4 and May 11. “It all depends on what the doctors say and if the situation remains under control. I expect the partial resumption of commercial flights on or around May 1, because it is easiest to control arrivals through airports. For starters, flights can resume to those airports in Europe and elsewhere which are open and operating”, Mr Vučić said. Air Serbia has been selling tickets for flights from May 1 onwards. If all goes to plan and services resume, the airline’s operations in May will be severely restricted due to airport closures and travel bans.

Currently, European carriers including Aegean Airlines, EasyJet, LOT Polish Airlines and Montenegro Airlines are selling tickets on flights to the Serbian capital during the first half of May, although this is subject to change. Among other global airlines, Qatar Airways, which continues to maintain services to around forty destinations globally, has previously scheduled its Belgrade flight resumption for June 1. A member of the Serbian government’s COVID crisis team said on Monday that all incoming passengers would be given an order to self-isolate upon arrival for a period of 28 days and their whereabouts monitored. The government is yet to communicate whether a ban on all foreigners entering the country, which is currently in place, will continue to be enforced.

Serbia’s Foreign Minister, Ivica Dačić, noted that Air Serbia’s ongoing repatriation flights will most likely come to an end. “In the coming days we will discuss this matter and whether these flights will continue in case other containment measures are eased. We will likely no longer organise these types of humanitarian flights and we will instead look at other options”, Mr Dačić said. Air Serbia has been operating a number of repatriation flights across Europe, Asia and North America over the past month, carrying some 13.000 passengers. The flights have been free of charge for all passengers. For the first time in weeks, the carrier has no repatriation services scheduled for today.