The Serbian Ministry of Transport, Construction, and Infrastructure has launched a tender for the operation of Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes from Morava airport to Vienna and Thessaloniki.

The government is seeking a carrier to operate 3x weekly year-round flights to Vienna and 3x weekly during the summer season to Thessaloniki alone. According to tender documentation, the government hopes to attract Serbian migrants living in Austria and enable tourist traffic to Greece.

The government has earmarked up to RSD675 million dinars (USD6.4 million) in subsidies for the two routes through the end of 2021, including up to RSD35 million (USD330,000) by the end of 2019 and up to RSD320 million (USD3 million) each in 2020 and 2021.

The prospective operator will have to demonstrate that it has generated at least RSD1.2 billion (USD11.3 million) in cumulative revenue over the last three years. It also has to have at least one back-up aircraft stationed in Serbia with a capacity of at least 70 seats and a call centre in the country. The conditions strongly favour Air Serbia (JU, Belgrade).

Prospective operators have until November 21 to submit their proposals to the ministry.

Morava is located 115 kilometres away from Belgrade and has a 2,200-metre-long runway. The reconstructed former military airport, located in central Serbia, was officially opened in June this year but has yet to secure any scheduled routes.

The tender for services from Morava is the second PSO procedure launched by the Serbian government. Earlier this year, it awarded rights to operate 12 routes from Nis to Air Serbia.