Saturday, October 10, 2015

Winter 2015/16
Adria Airways

Adria's winter network stabilises following years of cutbacks

The 2015/16 winter season begins on Sunday October 25, with Adria Airways set to make some changes to its network. Following years of cutbacks, the number of frequencies on most services out of its main hub in Ljubljana remain unchanged compared to last year. However, the airline will not maintain one new route launched this summer - Ljubljana - Stockholm. On the other hand, the carrier will add another two weekly flights to Paris from the Slovenian capital for a total of four weekly services, restoring frequencies to the same levels as in winter 2013/14. It will also add an additional weekly flight between Ljubljana and Tirana. The new route from Ljubljana to Berlin, launched this summer, will continue to operate during the winter three times per week.

Adria Airways will maintain the same schedule from its Pristina base when compared to last winter, while an additional weekly service will be added between Tirana and Frankfurt. The new Lodz - Amsterdam route, launched this summer, remains in place throughout the winter months as well, while flights from the Polish city to Munich will almost double. The latter is codeshared by Lufthansa. In February, Adria plans to retire its last Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft. Munich becomes the airline's most frequented destination, with a total of 29 weekly flights from Ljubljana, Pristina and Lodz.

The 2015/16 winter season runs until March 26, 2016. Please note that the changes listed below are preliminary and based on current availability in the Global Distribution System (GDS). Furthermore, the table below displays the peak weekly frequency on each route during the course of the winter season. EX-YU Aviation News will be bringing you winter season changes for each national carrier in the former Yugoslavia over the coming weeks.

Departing Ljubljana

DestinationFrequency W14/15Frequency W15/16ChangeNotes
Berlin03 3-
Paris24 2-
Tirana89 1-

Departing Pristina

DestinationFrequency W14/15Frequency W15/16ChangeNotes

Departing Tirana

DestinationFrequency W14/15Frequency W15/16ChangeNotes
Brussels02 2-
Frankfurt23 1-
Paris02 2via Brussels
Ljubljana89 1-

Departing Lodz

DestinationFrequency W14/15Frequency W15/16ChangeNotes
Amsterdam04 4-
Munich611 5-

Friday, October 9, 2015

Wizz Air to launch new Belgrade service

Wizz Air to commence Belgrade - Baden-Baden flights next year

Following over a year of downsizing at its Belgrade base, low cost carrier Wizz Air will introduce a new service from the Serbian capital, with flights to Baden-Baden in Germany to launch at the start of the 2016 summer season, on March 28. Services to the spa town in southwestern Germany, located close to the borders of France and Switzerland, will operate twice per week with an Airbus A320 aircraft each Monday and Friday. Tamara Mshvenieradze, Wizz Air's Corporate Communications Manager, said, "With our new Belgrade service to Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, we now offer thirteen international routes from two Serbian airports. We look forward to welcoming many more visitors to the country and to carry more Serbian travellers on leisure and business on our modern Airbus A320 fleet".

Wizz Air, which is the second busiest airline operating out of Belgrade, saw its passenger figures decline 11.4% from the city during the first half of the year, which was accompanied by a 16.2% decline in the number of operated flights. The no frills carrier cut its capacity from the Serbian capital by 130.000 seats over the past year, with 700 fewer flights operated as a result of Belgrade Airport's decision to increase fees, which Wizz says has made it one of the most expensive airports in its network. The new Baden-Baden service will become Wizz Air's first route launch from Belgrade since it introduced flights to Larnaca in March last year. The airline will have no direct competition on the route but does face indirect competition from Air Serbia, which maintains flights to Stuttgart located just over seventy kilometres from Karlsruhe and 100 kilometres from Baden-Baden.

The low cost airline has expanded rapidly this year within the former Yugoslavia, opening thirteen new routes and its third base in the region. It introduced services from Malmo and Basel to Serbia's second airport in Niš and commenced five new routes from Skopje, where it based its third aircraft. Furthermore, the airline opened a base in Tuzla and added Ohrid to its destination network by launching two routes, one of which is operated on a seasonal basis.

Tickets for the new Belgrade - Baden-Baden service are already on sale via the airline's website. Further flight information can be found here.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Serbia - Kosovo to discuss future air service

Serbia and Kosovo to discuss Belgrade - Pristina flights on October 13

Serbia and Kosovo are set to discuss the launch of a new Belgrade - Pristina air service during high level, EU-moderated, reconciliation talks between the two sides known as the Brussels Dialogue on October 13. Originally, the potential resumption of flights between the two cities, following a sixteen year hiatus, were discussed in April by the Serbian and Kosovan Chambers of Commerce. However, the Kosovan Minister Without a Portfolio in Charge of Dialogue with Belgrade, Edita Tahiri, requested for the issue to be examined at a higher level, deeming it a political, rather than an economic, matter. The Head of the Serbian government's Office for Kosovo, Marko Djurić, confirmed last night that the flights will now be discussed as part of the dialogue. "One of the topics that will be covered during the October 13 talks include the launch of a Belgrade - Pristina air service", Mr Djurić said. The two delegations will be headed by Ms Tahiri and Mr Djurić.

Kosovan media have stated it is “a matter of months” before Air Serbia launches services between Belgrade and Pristina. Furthermore, an agreement signed between the two blocks in Kosovo’s ruling coalition, LDK-PDK and the Serbian Srpska List, foresee the introduction of flights between the two cities. Previously, the Slot Coordinator at Pristina Airport, Driton Hyseni, said, “Both countries have targets to join the European Union, and direct flights will give a good signal that our two nations are leaving the past behind, and looking for a better future”. Last October, the Serbian government reached an agreement with its Kosovan counterpart to extend a free movement agreement, allowing Kosovan passport holders to transit through Belgrade Airport.

The Chairman of the Air Serbia Supervisory Board, Siniša Mali, said last October, “Our goal is to eventually fly twice daily to all capital cities in the region but before we do that we need to connect the last two cities in the former Yugoslavia that we do not fly to yet - Zagreb and Pristina”. Air Serbia has since launched double daily flights to the Croatian capital. The establishment of services between Belgrade and Pristina has been marked as a high priority by the Serbian government. It has been suggested for the flights to be initially run by a foreign carrier, which would be granted rights to operate the route. Currently, the quickest way to fly between Belgrade and Pristina is via Vienna, with journey time of over three and a half hours. JAT Yugoslav Airlines was the last to operate scheduled flights between the two cities.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Record numbers for Belgrade, Zagreb and Sarajevo

Main airports in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia see September growth

The airports in Belgrade, Zagreb and Sarajevo have all seen their passenger numbers grow in September, with the trio ending the third quarter of the year with record results. During the month, Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport saw a modest improvement on last year, returning to positive territory following August's slump. It welcomed 491.656 travellers through its doors, an increase of 1.3% compared to the same month last year. This is despite a decline in the number of operated flights to the Serbian capital, as foreign carriers continue to cut back on their operations. The airport registered 5.424 arrivals and departures, down 1.7%. Overall, it handled a record 3.768.428 passengers during the first three quarters of the year, representing an increase of 5% compared to the same period in 2014. Despite the record numbers, Belgrade Airport will have to deal with the loss of three routes this month as Air Serbia ends its operations to Budapest and Larnaca, while Swiss International Air Lines ceases its Geneva service. Meanwhile, the French Ambassador to Serbia, Christine Moro, last week said that both Bouygues and Vinci are interested in the potential concession of the airport. Bouygues is one of the leading partners in the consortium managing Zagreb Airport.

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN308.381 13.8
FEB264.816 14.1
MAR315.283 11.6
APR381.401 3.6
MAY406.121 5.8
JUN461.490 2.3
JUL564.629 4.6
AUG574.654 0.3
SEP491.656 1.3

Croatia's busiest airport continued its run of good results in September by handling 271.647 passengers, an improvement of 8.1%. Similar to its Serbian counterpart, Zagreb also experienced a decline in the number of flight operations, primarily as a result of its biggest customer - Croatia Airlines. The airport registered 3.572 arrivals and departures, which is down 1.7% on the same month last year. During September, Brussels Airlines launched six weekly flights from the Belgian capital to Zagreb. The carrier says it hopes the service will cater for both holidaymakers and businesspeople. During the first eight months of the year, 140.000 Belgians visited Croatia. The country's main airport welcomed a total of 1.993.994 travellers during the first three quarters of 2015, up 6.9%.

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN150.667 11.0
FEB141.833 10.5
MAR185.693 12.3
APR197.726 2.7
MAY235.133 8.0
JUN248.438 1.8
JUL278.438 6.8
AUG284.419 5.5
SEP271.647 8.1

Finally, Sarajevo Airport was the only from the three to see double digit growth in September and throughout the entire duration of the third quarter. The airport handled a record 79.120 travellers, an increase of 11.2%, with Turkish Airlines continuing to maintain its position as the dominant carrier. So far this year, 621.689 passengers used the airport's services, representing an impressive improvement of 12%. The airport recently began tender procedures for the construction of a rapid exit taxiway. This provides aircraft with the opportunity to vacate the runway at higher speed, permitting another to land or depart in a shorter space of time. Work on the taxiway will begin next year. The investment is valued at two million euros and is the first in a series of infrastructural upgrades at the airport, which includes the expansion of the apron in 2016, as well as the planned overhaul of the runway in 2017.

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN43.700 21.0
FEB39.908 12.6
MAR50.273 9.8
APR63.064 11.4
MAY80.143 12.1
JUN74.855 0.2
JUL89.319 19.2
AUG101.307 14.4
SEP79.120 11.2