Air Serbia Debuts Chicago-Belgrade Nonstop Flights

Air Serbia Debuts Chicago-Belgrade Nonstop Flights

DALLAS — Air Serbia (JU) has officially touched down at Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD). After an almost ten-hour flight covering 4,998 miles, flight JU506 arrived at ORD from Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG).

This is the first time in 31 years that there is a nonstop flight connecting Chicago and Belgrade. The last nonstop flight was operated by JAT Yugoslav Airlines, the predecessor to JU, in 1992. The inaugural flight comes exactly 31 years to the day the last nonstop commercial flight linking Belgrade and Chicago.

The new service will connect Chicago and Belgrade two times a week. Then on June 12, the service will increase to three weekly frequencies. Today’s flight was operated by one of the airline’s two Airbus A330-200s aircraft registered YU-ARB. The aircraft has been with JU for two years and has 257 seats in two cabins, 21 lie-flat seats in business class, and 236 in economy class. The carrier’s second A330-200 is registered YU-ARC and has 268 seats in two cabins with 18 lie-flat seats in business class and 250 seats in economy class.

Air Serbia YU-ARB touches down at ORD. Photo: Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA)

Chicago is the second destination in the United States served by JU after New York (JFK). Starting on June 18 until September, the airline will connect JFK and BEG with daily flights. In December, JU launched a once-weekly service between BEG and Tianjin, China (TSN), and is the only European airline to offer nonstop flights to TSN. 

The flights to Chicago will operate under their historical flight numbers from 1992. Until June 12, JU will operate flights between ORD and BEG on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with different flight times for each day. The Serbian airline will then add a third weekly flight on Mondays beginning June 12.

On Mondays, flight JU506 will depart BEG at 12:50 PM and arrive at ORD at 4:50 PM. On Wednesdays, it will depart BEG at 6:50 AM and arrive at ORD at 10:50 AM. On Saturdays, it will depart BEG at 5:20 PM and arrive at ORD at 9:20 PM. On Mondays, the return leg, flight JU507 will depart ORD at 6:40 PM and arrive at BEG the following day at 11:30 AM. On Wednesdays, it will depart ORD at 12:40 PM and arrive at BEG at 5:30 AM the next day. On Saturdays, it will depart at 11:10 PM and arrive at BEG at 4:00 PM the following day.

YU-ARB AirSERBIA (Nikola Tesla Livery) Airbus A330-243. Photo: Francesco Cecchetti/Airways

A Long-awaited Route for Serbian Chicagoans

When JU announced the new route between BEG and ORD in November 2022, it was met with much anticipation and excitement. Hundreds of thousands of Chicago residents are of Serbian origin creating demand for a nonstop route connecting Chicago with Serbia.

Travelers originating in Chicago can easily connect to other destinations in Air Serbia’s network, including Sarajevo, Prague, Rome, Bucharest, and Berlin. For travelers originating in Belgrade, JU’s partnership with American Airlines (AA) and JetBlue (N6) offers travelers onward connections across North America.   

Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee commented, “On behalf of Mayor Brandon Johnson, I welcome Air Serbia to Chicago, and we look forward to a long and continued partnership connecting Chicago residents to this new destination in one of Europe’s great cities…More than 350,000 Chicagoland residents are of Serbian origin, and we’re thrilled to be able to offer them a fast and easy connection to their roots in the Balkans.” 

Air Serbia at ORD. Photo: Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA)

Jiri Marek, CEO of Air Serbia, commented, “This day is of special importance for our company, Serbia, Belgrade, and the entire Western Balkan region, as well as the large number of our compatriots who live and work in North America.” 

Adding, “We are pleased that we responded to passenger needs, and for enabling them to easily fly over 8,000 km, on Air Serbia’s comfortable wide-body aircraft. We believe that the flights between Belgrade and Chicago will be useful for all passengers, regardless of the reason for travel, and that it will help improve business, tourism, and all other links between Serbia and the U.S.” 

Over the next year, the new JU route will create US$55m in economic activity for the Second City.

Air Serbia water cannon salute at at ORD. Photo: Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA)

Featured image: YU-ARB AirSERBIA (Nikola Tesla Livery) Airbus A330-243 lands at ORD. Photo: Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA)

Joshua Kupietzky has a passion for aviation and deep expertise in the aviation industry. He’s been enamored with the facts and figures of the airline industry, and the details of the make and model of commercial aircraft for as long as he can remember. Based in Chicago, US. Follow him on Instagram @jbkaviation

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