Air Serbia has operated three cargo rotations between Belgrade and Bahrain with its Airbus A330 aircraft, YU-ARA, and it will operate another two. The A330 is transporting medical equipment that the state of Bahrain donated to Serbia. This follows the decision between Bahrain and Serbia to strengthen their relations, following a phone call between the political leaders of the two countries in November last year.
From Bahrain to Belgrade
An Air Serbia Airbus A330 aircraft has been flying consecutive rotations this week between Bahrain International Airport and its base, Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. The flights are carrying medical cargo that Bahrain is donating to Serbia. The donation was first announced in November 2020, following a phone call between the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić.
This is not the first time Air Serbia has used its Passenger-configured Airbus A330 for cargo operations. Back in spring 2020, Air Serbia operated cargo flights almost continuously between Shanghai and Belgrade. In the week beginning Monday 20th April, the aircraft, registered YU-ARA, was used every single day. The travel restrictions imposed last year gave rise to several other unique flights that YU-ARA operated: for example, a passenger repatriation flight to Washington and another one to Los Angeles.
To reach Bahrain from Belgrade, Air Serbia flew over Bulgaria, Greece, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. The flight time en route to Bahrain averaged four hours and fifty minutes for the past three flights, while on the way back it was longer: five hours and thirty minutes.
Each flight carried its own flight number: so far, they were JU10, JU11, JU12, JU13, JU14, and JU15. There are two more rotations planned, so they will presumably carry the codes JU16, JU17, JU18, and JU19.
The first flight left Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport on Monday, 11th January, at 05:10 local time. It arrived in Bahrain at mid-day, and spent just over an hour there to take off for Belgrade at 13:23, landing in Serbia at 16:48. The second rotation took place just several hours later: the A330 departed Belgrade minutes after midnight on Tuesday, 12th January, landing in Bahrain at 07:19 and departing again at 09:00 to return to Serbia at 12:34. It then left Belgrade again, the same day, departing Belgrade for Bahrain at 19:28, landing at 02:16, taking off again at 03:59 and landing in Belgrade at 07:32 today morning, on Wednesday 13th January.
YU-ARA otherwise flies to New York JFK
Air Serbia has no wide-body aircraft in its fleet besides this Airbus A330 YU-ARA. Ordinarily, this aircraft flies scheduled services between Belgrade and New York JFK.
However, at the moment, the aircraft is not being fully utilized because January is a month of low demand. Thus, the A330 only operates rotations between Serbia and the USA on Thursdays and Saturdays, returning on Fridays and Sundays.
Have you ever flown Air Serbia? What do you think of Bahrain donating medical equipment to Serbia? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.