Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Transavia to launch Belgrade and Ljubljana flights

Dutch low cost carrier Transavia will launch flights from Amsterdam to both Belgrade and Ljubljana next year. The KLM subsidiary plans to operate three weekly services each to the Serbian and Slovenian capital cities, providing competition to both Air Serbia and Adria Airways. Flights to Belgrade and Ljubljana are set to launch on April 4 and operate each Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday with a 183-seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Tickets are already on sale through the airline’s website. The addition of both Belgrade and Ljubljana to its network are part of Transavia’s larger expansion plans from Amsterdam next summer season, which will see the carrier add a total of six routes.

Transavia will compete directly against Air Serbia on its flights between Amsterdam and Belgrade. The Serbian carrier maintained eleven weekly services on the route this summer with its Airbus A319 jets. It boasts codeshare agreements with KLM, Etihad Airways and Air Baltic on the route. In July, Air Serbia’s CEO, Dane Kondić, said the airline would see significant low cost competition in the coming period, noting that it “weighs heavily on our thoughts in terms of our future plans”. On the other hand, Wizz Air maintains services from Belgrade to Eindhoven, which is some 125 kilometres from Amsterdam. It operates the route twice per week.

The Dutch low cost carrier will compete against Adria on its service from Amsterdam to Ljubljana. The Slovenian carrier has been running four weekly flights on the route this summer and plans to boost frequencies during the coming winter. Adria also has a codeshare agreement in plave with KLM on its flights between the Slovenian capital and Amsterdam. News of Transavia’s arrival to Ljubljana comes just weeks after easyJet announced plans to launch its second route to the city. Ljubljana Airport is looking for foreign carriers to boost their operations following a decline in passenger numbers over the past few months as a result of Adria Airways’ network reductions.

Further flight information for the Amsterdam – Belgrade service can be found here, while additional details for the Amsterdam – Ljubljana route can be viewed here.

Ohrid Airport anticipates France charters in 2017


Ohrid Airport expects to welcome charter flights from France next year after hosting a group of tour operators from the country over the weekend. “Organising a visit to Macedonia for France’s largest tour operators this weekend is part of TAV Airports continued efforts in attracting new airlines to the country”, the company said. Ohrid Airport has seen significant growth this year with Arkia Israeli Airlines and Air Serbia launching seasonal services to the lakeside town. The airport welcomed 104.998 passengers during the January – August period, an increase of 44.4% on last year.

A321neo visits Split and Podgorica


The first Airbus A321neo equipped with CFM International LEAP-1A engines visited both Split and Podgorica late last week as part of Wizz Air’s test flight program for the aircraft, Registered D-AVXB, three experienced Wizz Air pilots flew the jet from Perugia to Split and then onward to Podgorica, Heraklion, Samos and back to Naples. The airports were selected due to a number of factors including mountainous terrain, the close proximity of the sea, short runway length and stronger crosswinds. The aircraft first took to the skies in February this year for testing purposes. Wizz Air has 110 jets on order, with deliveries to begin in 2019. The A321neo is the largest member of the A320neo family and incorporates many innovations including latest generation engines, sharklet wing tip devices and cabin improvements, which together will deliver up to 20% in fuel savings by 2020.

A321neo in Split

Monday, September 26, 2016

Podgorica overtakes Sarajevo as EX-YU airports soar

Airports across the former Yugoslavia handled over 13.5 million passengers during the first eight months of 2016, with Podgorica overtaking its counterpart in Sarajevo as the ninth busiest after three years. Podgorica Airport welcomed 127.027 passengers through its doors this August (some 9.000 more than Sarajevo), representing an increase of 12.5% on the same month last year. The numbers were aided by Wizz Air, which launched two new routes to the Montenegrin capital during the month. It will receive a further boost in September with Ryanair introducing its third route to the city. During the January – August period, Podgorica was almost 4.000 travellers ahead of Sarajevo Airport. The last time it was busier than its Bosnian counterpart was in 2013.

Elsewhere, Skopje Alexander the Great Airport saw its slowest monthly growth rate since June last year by handling 175.027 travellers, an increase of 0.7%. During the month, the airport surpassed the one million passenger mark for the year. However, numbers are expected to pick up in the coming period with Wizz Air to introduce new flights from Hannover in late October. So far in 2016, Skopje Airport has welcomed 1.106.590 passengers, a notable increase of 17%, thus maintaining its position as the fastest growing capital city airport in the former Yugoslavia.

EX-YU airport results, JAN - AUG 2016

AirportPAXChange (%)
Belgrade3.291.141 0.4
Zagreb1.839.994 6.6
Split1.717.428 18.2
Dubrovnik1.438.077 14.9
Pristina1.228.298 11.6
Skopje1.106.590 17.0
Ljubljana926.675 5.3
Tivat734.791 6.9
Podgorica588.862 14.2
Sarajevo584.956 7.8

The majority of Croatia’s airports have seen strong growth and record figures this year. The President of the Air Transport Association at the Croatian Chamber of Economy, Tonči Peović, who also manages Brač Airport, explains, “The major factor for the increase in demand for air transport is GDP growth across Europe. Apart from the fact that GDP, and therefore purchasing power, grew in most EU states from where we see the majority of passengers, there have also been some other factors that have resulted in an increase in traffic in Croatia’s skies. One of them is the increased tourist demand for Croatian resorts, as a result of reduced visits to some traditional European and North African destinations such as Turkey, Tunisia and Greece”. Mr Peović notes that airlines have also reduced their average fares. “These factors, in addition to low cost carriers which operate to Croatia’s busiest airports in Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Pula, Rijeka and Osijek, have enabled more tourist arrivals, which has, in turn, led to an increase in passenger numbers”.

AirportPAXChange (%)
Zadar378.318 6.1
Pula349.663 25.0
Tuzla204.178 25.2
Rijeka106.912 3.3
Ohrid104.998 44.4
Niš50.555 298.1
Mostar37.685 31.0
Osijek21.096 0.2
Banja Luka15.342 4.0
Brač9.483 48.3
Mali Lošinj5.376 45.9

Flydubai to operate promotional Tivat charter


Flydubai will operate a promotional charter flight from Dubai to Tivat on Monday October 3, the company has confirmed. Flight FZ4749 will carry a business delegation from the United Arab Emirates, a number of tour operators, members of the press and officials from the airline. The return service will run on Wednesday. Flydubai initially planned to introduce flights to Podgorica this year but has postponed the service until further notice. It is believed operations could begin in 2017.

The flight to Tivat will take off from Dubai Airport at 13.10, while the return service will leave at 18.10 two days later. The flight will operate with the airline's Boeing 737-800 aircraft.