Blerg wrote:usdcaguy wrote:Blerg wrote:
I think OK as a major international player won't happen, it's too late now and they are sandwiched between OS and LO. On top of that, their business model is kind of confused and messy right now. Tarom did have some ambitions to grow some years ago. They planned Zagreb and Skopje, launched seasonal flights to Dubrovnik... and then it all failed. More recently they tried it again in the other direction with flights to Odessa, Yerevan, Tbilisi... and those didn't work out either. Their European and regional network is too weak, OTP is not fit to be a hub (terms of capacity and overall passenger experience) and they just can't keep up with competition.
That's where JU would be a much better fit especially as it could offer a nice alternative to Austrian Airlines and Vienna. JU's Balkan network is pretty solid.
OTP definitely needs more capacity and air bridges. RO also struggles with its bad image from the 90’s when in many places it was considered the “cheap” carrier and not the preferred one. They do offer good service and a competitive product now, but this has not translated into profitable expansion, likely due to its hub issues.
It really is a shame that OK hasn’t been more aggressive at expanding, but it faces a lot of LCC competition on short-haul routes. Years ago, DL was flying OK* codeshares year-round on JFK-PRG and seasonal ATL-PRG that would have given them feed, but those flights didn’t stick around except for seasonal JFK-PRG. The OK-operated flight to JFK has never come back, either.
Adding JU to ST might be a good idea, but it offers little service to markets that aren’t currently served by other ST partners. Interior ex-Yugoslav markets aren’t exactly a goldmine, either. After AZ leaves the alliance, I JU might make a better fit. I’m not sure JU would want to be in an alliance dominated by an American carrier, however.
Well Air Serbia isn't all about ex-Yugoslav routes, they have quite a decent network beyond this region for an airline their size. This summer they were supposed to have the following destinations in the Balkans:
And then add to that the ex-YU destinations: LJU, ZAG, PUY, RJK, SPU, DBV, ZAD, SJJ, BNX, TGD, TIV and SKP.
They also fly to Larnaca, Beirut, Cairo, Krasnodar and this summer they seem to be going ahead with the introduction of Amman, Rostov, Lviv and Kishinev.
So I do believe that they do have a nice niche market that SkyTeam could profit from.
RO and AZ are both on shaky ground, so it will be interesting to see how things play out. They both already offer connections to many places in SE Europe, but further retrenchment may push the envelope.