BELGRADE – Thursday’s inaugural Air Serbia flight from Belgrade to New York is a crowning achievement of three years of work, Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali, who also chairs the airline’s supervisory board, said on Wednesday.

“After 24 years, we will again have direct flights from Belgrade to New York, operated by a Serbian airline. That will make us the only one of the 11 countries in the region to have direct flights to New York operated by a domestic company,” Mali told a press conference presenting an Airbus A330 plane that will be flying to New York five times a week.

“The flights also represent a crowning achievement of everything we have been doing for Air Serbia over the past three years,” he said

The start of direct flights to the US opens a new page in the history of the company, the city of Belgrade and entire Serbia, Mali said.

In the beginning, there was Jat Airways, a loss-making airline that had an aging fleet, while now we have a profitable company that flies new planes and to more destinations, Mali said, noting the significance of Air Serbia’s strategic partnership with Etihad Airways.