Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Split terminal construction to start in October

The construction of Split Airport’s much-delayed multi million euro passenger terminal is finally expected to begin at the end of October. According to General Manager, Lukša Novak, the expansion will increase Split’s annual capacity to 3.5 million passengers, while the facility should stretch over 34.500 square metres. The project is valued at 59.3 million euros and is estimated to take just over two years to complete. The state will exempt Split Airport from paying tax on profit, which will fund part of the investment (17.1 million euros) through its accumulated profits. The rest will be paid through a loan from the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which will not require state guarantees.

Plans to develop the new terminal come as the airport struggles to deal with capacity issues during the summer months. Split Airport has registered its busiest year on record by handling its two-millionth passenger this Monday. Therefore, it has overtaken its 2015 end-of-year result which stood at 1.955.400 travellers. Tatiana Kremen from Ukraine was the two-millionth passenger, arriving on a Croatia Airlines flight from Munich. “We anticipate handling some 2.250.000 travellers this year, which is an increase of 17% on 2015”, Mr Novak said. It becomes the second Croatian airport to welcome over two million passengers this year following Zagreb. So far this September, Split handled 285.580 travellers through its doors. Numbers are expected to continue growing during the winter with Croatia Airlines to boost services from the city to both Munich and Rome.

Split's existing airport was opened in November 1966, while the current passenger terminal was built in 1979 for the Mediterranean Games. It has the capacity to handle one million passengers per year. The terminal was overhauled and slightly expanded in 2005. The construction of the new terminal comes following a protracted tender procedure to select a contractor for the project. Three complaints have been filed by participating parties as to the way in which the tender was conducted. The Croatian State Commission for the Supervision of Public Procurement Procedures has dismissed two cases, while the third is still being investigated. The state has issued construction permits.

Montenegro Airlines extends Thomas Cook deal

Montenegro Airlines has extended an agreement with the French arm of the global travel giant Thomas Cook for another year. The deal will see the tour operator book hundreds of seats on Montenegro Airlines' scheduled service between Paris and Podgorica, as well as seasonal operations from Lyon, between April and November 2017. The carrier has seen its passenger numbers improve 6% on flights to the French capital this year as a result of the agreement which was initially inked in November 2015. The Thomas Cook Group is comprised of a number of tour operators based in fifteen key markets. Furthermore, it owns a number of charter airlines in the United Kingdom, Belgium and Scandinavia, as well as the scheduled German carrier Condor.

Saudi fund eyes Užice Airport


An investment fund from Saudi Arabia has submitted an offer to purchase Užice’s Ponikve Airport in western Serbia, which has been under redevelopment. The Saudis have proposed to complete work on the runway and build a cargo centre and hotel within the next five to ten years. “It is an interesting offer but we are unable to assess its seriousness so we have referred the matter to the Prime Minister and we are expecting a response”, the Mayor of Užice, Tihomir Petković, says. The opening of Užice Airport, initially scheduled for late August, has been delayed after little work was done on erecting a perimeter fence and installing a new lighting system over the summer. In April, the airport opened a new passenger terminal and overhauled its apron. According to local authorities, the opening has been delayed as the finances required to complete the work were miscalculated and additional funding will be needed. Work is now expected to be completed in 2017. Užice Airport was destroyed during the 1999 NATO bombing. However, the Serbian government and the European Union have jointly invested several million euros into the airport. The region is home to some of Serbia's most exported goods. The airport currently handles private and recreational flights.

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.