Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hainan Airlines satisfied with Belgrade performance

China's Hainan Airlines has said it is satisfied with the performance of its new service between Beijing and Belgrade, which launched just over a month ago via Prague. The carrier, which maintains the flights twice per week with a 292-seat Airbus A330-300 aircraft, told EX-YU Aviation News, "This route is still in a market nurturing stage, and we believe its performance will continue to improve in the future and meet our expectations". After putting tickets on sale for the new service just several weeks prior to its launch, over 90% of all booking were made by Chinese tourists, however, this is beginning to change. "Tourists contribute a lot on this route, but now we can see some business travellers as well. We’d like to see more business travellers and more Serbian passengers on this route in the future", the airline said.

Hainan Airlines secured fifth freedom rights from Serbian and Czech authorities on flights between Prague and Belgrade, allowing it to sell tickets between the two cities. The carrier notes it is pleasantly surprised by the demand it has seen on this sector. "We are very glad to see an increasing number of passengers travelling between Prague and Belgrade on our flights. We offer a more comfortable aircraft type and a competitive price. We think more and more passengers will fly with us". The Chinese carrier competes against Air Serbia on the route, which maintains ten weekly flights between Belgrade and Prague with the ATR72 turboprop. Hainan has matched Air Serbia's prices and its Friday departure from Belgrade and early morning Monday return to the Serbian capital provides a convenient option for city break travellers.

The Chinese airline has said it is still too early to determine how it will develop its Belgrade service in the future. If there is sufficient demand the airline has said it will either up frequencies or introduce a nonstop service from Beijing next spring. "We will adjust these plans based on market demand. We will evaluate the possibilities whether to increase frequency or operate nonstop before the summer season", Hainan noted. Serbian officials, including the Prime Minister and the Minister for Construction, Transport and infrstructure, expressed hope last month for the latter. Concerning potential expansion in the region, Hainan has said that it is sticking to its current operations, noting, "We don’t have new plans to expand in Central and Eastern Europe".

Tuzla maintains growth momentum


Tuzla Airport has continued to post strong passenger growth by handling 52.816 travellers during the month of September, representing an impressive increase of 90% on last year when it saw 27.793 flyers. During the first three quarters, the airport registered a record 405.858 passengers, up 74.1% on 2016. Tuzla, which serves as a base for Wizz Air, anticipates welcoming over 480.000 travellers this year.

Niš Airport registers record results


Niš Constantine the Great Airport has recorded its busiest first three quarters on record. The airport handled 242.337 travellers during the first nine months of the year, representing an increase of 271.6% on the same period in 2016, when it welcomed 65.216 passengers. In September alone, the airport saw 29.122 travellers pass through its doors, up 98.6%. Furthermore, it processed 2.047 tonnes of cargo during the Q1 - Q3 period. Niš Airport anticipates handling some 330.000 passengers this year, with figures expected to almost double by 2021. The airport has already surpassed its 2016 end-of-year- result when it saw 124.917 travellers.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

TAV eyes third airport investment in EX-YU

Turkey's TAV Airports Holding, which has become a global brand in airport construction projects and operations, has identified its third potential investment in the former Yugoslavia following Macedonia (Skopje and Ohrid) and Zagreb. The company held talks in with the Montenegrin Minister for Transportation and Maritime Affairs, Osman Nurković, in Skopje yesterday where they discussed the planned privatisation of the country's two airports - Podgorica and Tivat. TAV Airports' Business Development Coordinator, Giray Colpan, and TAV Macedonia Board Member, Zoran Krstevski, plan to visit Montenegro where they will examine in further detail suitable concession models with the government. Montenegro previously outlined plans to put its two international airports up for concession after it was unable secure a loan with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for the expansion of Tivat Airport. "We are currently working on preparing a concession model with the World Bank and I believe this process will be completed swiftly", Montenegro's Prime Minister, Duško Marković, said. He added that the concession is vital in order for Tivat Airport to follow through with its plans to build a new passenger terminal, extend its runway and overhaul its taxiways.

During its talks with the Minister, TAV noted that, "Skopje Airport was handling some 600.000 passengers prior to its takeover and had links to twelve destinations. We now welcome almost two million passengers per year, offering 37 destinations to travellers. The annual growth rate is 15%". Mr Nurković said he was impressed with the results TAV has managed to achieve in Skopje since winning a thirty-year concession of the airport in 2012. It has since invested 110 million euros in Skopje Airport and a further ten million in Ohrid. TAV also holds a singificnt share in the consortium running Zagreb Airport, which earlier this year opened a new terminal building. The French Aéroports de Paris holds a 38% stake in TAV. The Turkish company runs seventeen airports around the world, including Istanbul's Ataturk.

Montenegro's opposition parties have slammed the government's concession plans, noting that operator Airports of Montenegro is one of the country's most profitable public enterprises. It recorded a net profit of 4.3 million euros last year, despite debt of 19.2 million euros towards it owed by Montenegro Airlines. The government is yet to decide whether both Podgorica and Tivat will be offered to an investor as part of a package or whether the two will be put on the market separately. Other details are also being determined. Turkish companies have shown strong interest in airport investments in the former Yugoslavia. Apart from Skopje, Ohrid and Zagreb, which are managed solely or partially by TAV, Pristina Airport is run by Turkey's Limak Holding, while IC Altyapi is bidding as part of a consortium with Incheon International Airport Corporation and VTB Capital for the 25-year concession of Belgrade Airport.

SAS to add new Croatia flights


SAS Scandinavian Airlines will introduce new seasonal summer flights to the Croatian coast next year. The carrier will commence services from Bergen and Stravanger in Norway to Pula, and will also add flights from Denmark's second largest city, Aarhus, to Split. SAS already serves a number of Croatian cities over the summer from its main bases in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo. Further flight details can be found by clicking the appropriate links below.

RouteLaunch date
Aarhus - Split24.06.2018
Stavanger - Pula30.06.2018
Bergen - Pula04.07.2018