Thursday, January 18, 2018

EX-YU airport race 2017


Airports across the former Yugoslavia handled a record 25 million passengers in 2017. For the first time, nine airports managed to welcome over one million travellers with Tivat and Podgorica joining the list. Split was the fastest growing among the larger airports, with an annual increase of 23.1%, while Podgorica saw the biggest growth among capital city airports for a second year in a row, boosting its passenger numbers by over 20% on the year before. For the first time, four airports handled over two million travellers in a single year. Compared to 2016, Pula overtook Zadar, while Niš Airport raced ahead of Ohrid and Rijeka. Furthermore, Brač Airport performed better than Banja Luka. The table below does not include annual data for the smaller Banja Luka, Mostar and Maribor airports as the three are yet to publish their figures, however, common to all is that their numbers decreased in 2017 compared to the year before.

AirportPassengers 2017Passengers 2016Change (%)2007-17
Belgrade5.343.4204.924.992 8.5 112.6
Zagreb3.092.0472.766.087 11.8 55.2
Split2.818.1762.289.987 23.1 136.7
Dubrovnik2.323.0651.993.243 16.5 103.1
Pristina1.887.4021.743.208 8.3 90.6
Skopje1.868.2721.649.374 13.3 198.4
Ljubljana1.683.0451.404.831 19.8 10.4
Tivat1.129.720982.558 15.0 96.8
Podgorica1.055.142873.278 20.8 126.7
Sarajevo957.696838.966 14.2 89.6

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport maintained its position as the busiest in the former Yugoslavia, welcoming over five million passengers in a single year for the first time. On the other hand, Croatia cemented its lead as the busiest overall market with over 9.6 million passengers handled at nine commercial airports. Zagreb registered over three million travellers for the first time, while Split added over half a million passengers when compared to the year before. In another first, Dubrovnik surpassed the two million mark. Osijek Airport saw strong growth on the back of new flights launched by low cost Eurowings and Wizz Air, making up for the loss of Ryanair's operations. The results come on top of a bumper year for the tourism sector, during which 18.5 million foreign visitors arrived in the country, up 13% on 2016. Rijeka Airport bucked the trend with its figures declining by just over 2%, despite soaring cargo traffic and profits.

AirportPassengers 2017Passengers 2016Change (%)2007-17
Pula595.812436.121 36.5 55.0
Zadar589.841520.924 13.4 393.8
Tuzla535.596311.398 72.0-
Niš331.582124.917 165.4 988.8
Ohrid159.072145.002 9.7 249.5
Rijeka142.111145.297 2.2 11.7
Osijek43.37330.605 41.7 1435.9
Portorož25.45023.783 7.0-
Brač21.59612.354 74.8 31.2
Mali Lošinj6.0426.402 5.6-

Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport recovered last year following a disappointing 2016 and surpassed its previous record set a decade ago. Podgorica Airport continued to post strong figures, fuelled by the introduction of new routes from a mix of legacy and low cost airlines. This is despite a slow year for national carrier Montenegro Airlines. In total it saw 537.234 arrivals and 517.908 departures. Sarajevo was the only capital city airport to stay under one million passengers, however, it is expected to surpass the figure this year following 14.2% growth in 2017.

Among the smaller airports in the region, Tuzla Airport welcomed over half a million passengers in 2017, registering its busiest year on record. It saw 535.596 travellers pass through its doors, an increase of 72% on 2016. The growth was fuelled by Wizz Air, which based a second aircraft in the city during the year. Niš Constantine the Great Airport also put in a good performance, recording its busiest year by handling 331.582 passengers, up 165.4% on 2016. During the year, the airport recorded 1.477 aircraft movements, an improvement of 104.6%, and processed 2542.9 tons of cargo, up 29.2%. Despite having no commercial flights, Portorož Airport welcomed over 25.000 primarily leisure travellers visiting the city and its surroundings.

Wataniya Airways to boost Sarajevo flights

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Kuwait's Wataniya Airways will increase its services between Kuwait City and Sarajevo this summer. The airline will initially run flights three times per week, before peaking at five weekly during the height of summer. The new schedule represents an increase on last year's operations which varied between two and three times per week. A number of carriers from the Middle East have announced plans to boost frequencies to Bosnia and Herzegovina's capital this year.

Photo credit: Nedžad Beus

Serbia and Morocco finalise air agreement

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Serbia and Morocco have concluded a new Air Service Agreement (ASA) in order to better regulate air traffic between their two countries and facilitate for Royal Air Maroc to launch its planned service to Belgrade. The Serbian government approved the new agreement and has now referred it to parliament for approval before coming into effect. It will replace the current ASA inked between Yugoslavia and Morocco back in 1964. The Moroccan Ambassador to Serbia, Mohammed Amine Belhaj, confirmed that the kingdom's national carrier has expressed interest to introduce flights between Casablanca and the Serbian capital during the 2018 summer season. "The new flights will certainly increase the number of Serbian tourists visiting Morocco and vice versa. In addition to the launch of this service, we are exploring the possibility of charter flights with Serbian tour operators. There is demand from both sides", Mr Belhaj said.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wizz posts strong results on EX-YU markets


Low cost airline Wizz Air has recorded strong passenger growth in 2017 across its three main markets in the former Yugoslavia - Macedonia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina - and retained its position as the busiest budget carrier in the three countries. The airline handled a record 1.2 million passengers on flights to and from Macedonia, representing an increase of 32% on the year before. It reached an overall passenger share of 59% in the country, as well as a 90% market share among low cost airlines based on seat capacity, the biggest in its entire network. The carrier is ahead of second-placed Pegasus Airlines with a share of 7.7% and Flydubai with 2.8%. Wizz Air introduced several new routes from Skopje in 2017 and based a fourth aircraft in the city. The carrier will increase capacity by 23% to 1.6 million seats on flights to and from Macedonia this year and has announced the launch of a new service between Vienna and Ohrid.

From Belgrade and Niš, the airline carried 745.000 passengers, up from 545.000 in 2016, or an increase 36.7%. The growth came after the airline stationed a second jet in the Serbian capital and launched four new routes. The no frills carrier plans to increase capacity on flights from Serbia by 9% this year to 900.000 seats. The airline recently discontinued services from Belgrade to Nuremberg and Friedrichshafen, and will terminate operations between Niš and Eindhoven this March. As a result, it will reallocate capacity by increasing frequencies from Belgrade to Malta, Basel, Gothenburg and Paris Beauvais. Furthermore, the carrier will introduce a new service from Vienna to Niš in November. Wzz Air's market share among low cost airlines in Serbia stands at 63%, ahead of Ryanair and Flydubai.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Wizz Air handled 583.000 passengers, up from 324.000 in 2016. The figure represents growth of 79.9%. During the year, the carrier based a second aircraft in Tuzla and launched operations to Sarajevo. It has since suspended flights from Bosnia and Herzegovina's third largest city to London and Nuremberg, with Bratislava to follow suit, however, the latter will be replaced by Vienna which will commence this April. In addition, the carrier will boost frequencies from Tuzla to Dortmund, Frankfurt Hahn, Basel and Gothenburg. In total, Wizz Air will offer 700.000 seats from the country in 2018, up 10% on last year. Wizz Air remains Bosnia and Herzegovina's busiest low cost airline with a market share of 48%, ahead of Pegasus and Flydubai.

Wizz Air's market position compared to other LCCs in 2017

Overall, Wizz Air carried over 28 million travellers in 2017 across its network, representing growth of 24% year-on-year. The airline will add at least five new routes to the former Yugoslavia in 2018. Apart from the abovementioned new services from Vienna, the no frills carrier has announced plans to launch flights from Warsaw and Katowice to Podgorica.

Qatar Airways hiring in Belgrade

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Qatar Airways is seeking new cabin crew members from Serbia in its first employment drive in the country this year. The Doha-based airline will host a recruitment event in Belgrade on January 27 at the Metropol Palace Hotel (Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra 69) between 09.00 and 17.00 local time. Those interested must register beforehand. Requirements include a minimum age of 21 years, arm reach of 212 cm on tip toes, high school education with fluency in written and spoken English and excellent health and fitness. Further details, as well as the application form can be found here

Montenegro Airlines' passenger numbers decline

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Montenegro Airlines handled 568.591 passengers in 2017, representing a decrease of 2.2% on the year before. The dip in numbers is slightly less than the 5% decline the carrier initially anticipated. The airline maintained operations with five aircraft compared to six in 2016 and operated a total of 6.959 flights. "In addition to achieving these results with a fleet of five aircraft, the figures are even more encouraging after taking into account the growing competition on the market. In January 2017 there were twelve airlines operating to Montenegro and up to 54 in July", Montenegro Airlines said in a statement. The airline is undergoing a restructuring process aimed at reducing its losses and debt. Consultancy firm Deloitte is currently finalising an analysis of the company's development potential as commissioned by the Montenegrin government. Furthermore, the carrier's management is drafting a five-year business plan, which includes a review of the company's fleet and finances. Montenegro Airlines plans to boost operations in 2018 with new charter flights to Tehran, seasonal services from Tivat to Leipzig, Munich and Copenhagen, as well as additional frequencies to Lyon. It aims to handle 620.000 travellers during this year.