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Serbia Asks FAA for Higher Rating to Enable Flights to U.S.

Serbia asked the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to “verify” it deserves Category 1 rating that would help open direct flights between the Balkan country and the U.S.

The procedure may take three to six months to complete and involves a visit by FAA officials to the Balkan nation to inspect safety and other aviation standards, Serbia’s Civil Aviation Directorate said today in an e-mailed statement.

The country was downgraded by the FAA in 2004 on “regulatory shortcomings” and for failing to meet FAA criteria, “although we did comply with European norms,” Directorate’s spokeswoman Katarina Andric-Milosavljevic said in a phone interview.

The upgrade will encourage U.S. carriers to open flights to Serbia, whereas Serbia’s unprofitable flag carrier, state-owned JAT Airways AD is not likely to start transatlantic flights soon, she said.

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