Friday, December 2, 2016

Belgrade Airport revises growth forecast

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport is close to handling five million passengers by year's end following a record November. However, it is set to come just short of its planned target. The airport, which repeatedly estimated it would handle five million travellers by the end of 2016 has now adjusted its forecast to "above 4.9 million". The figure would still represent the airport's busiest year on record, which is to be accompanied by its biggest annual profit ahead of the its planned privatisation next year. In 2015, Belgrade handled 4.776.164 passengers, which is to be surpassed in the coming weeks. During the January - November period in 2016, the airport saw 4.580.739 travellers pass through its doors, an increase of 2.5% on last year.

The General Manager of Belgrade Airport, Saša Vlaisavljević, says, "During the second half of the year we have registered records on a monthly basis. In November, we handled a record 331.242 passengers, an increase of 11% compared to the same month last year. The figure represents the biggest growth so far this year". He added, "Since the start of the year we welcomed 4.6 million passengers, which gives us a realistic expectation that we will handle over 4.9 million travellers in 2016". During the past month, Belgrade Airport registered a 4% increase in aircraft movements. Furthermore, the airport improved its punctuality with over 90% of flights departing on time, while the average duration of delays decreased from eight to six minutes.

Belgrade Airport anticipates a strong year ahead, with the number of flights increasing 5% during the 2016/17 winter season. Furthermore, next summer, Wizz Air will base its second aircraft in the Serbian capital and launch a handful of new routes while strengthening its existing network. In addition, low cost Transavia will introduce services from Amsterdam, while a Chinese carrier is poised to inaugurate flights from Beijing. The airport's busiest airline, Air Serbia, has also hinted at new destinations next summer which could include Tehran and Astana. On the financial front, Belgrade Airport recorded revenues of 60.4 million euros during the first three quarters of the year, while it registered a net profit of 21.2 million euros over the same period, up 22% on last year.

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN290.580 5.8
FEB266.660 0.5
MAR313.174 0.7
APR365.335 4.2
MAY416.332 2.5
JUN460.020 0.3
JUL589.159 4.3
AUG590.292 2.7
SEP519.376 5.6
OCT438.980 9.3
NOV331.242 10.7

Air Serbia boosts on board amenities


Air Serbia has boosted its on board offering by enhancing several services including its amenity packs and in-flight entertainment. The airline's business class amenity kit now contains a collection of essential travel items in a blue neoprene bag which can be reused as an iPad Mini case and includes natural skincare products, a sleep pack, as well as a shaving kit on request. The long haul business class service now also includes a set of Air Serbia pyjamas and slippers. Meanwhile, economy class passengers also receive a small amenity pack in a drawstring bag featuring travel basics. The Serbian carrier has noted that its in-flight entertainment app, Elevate Play, which allows passengers to watch movies, TV shows and listen to music on board the airline's short haul Airbus fleet free of charge, has attracted strong demand and registered several thousand downloads since its launch in June. "We’re delighted by the excellent feedback we have received for our Elevate Play service, which provides guests with a long haul entertainment offering on short haul flights. Air Serbia is part of a small group of pioneering airlines who offer free wireless entertainment and this shows the importance we place on innovation”, the carrier's CEO, Dane Kondić, said.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Croatia Airlines committed to regional expansion

Croatia Airlines has confirmed it still plans to open regional bases across south-eastern Europe and acquire 100-seat aircraft for next year. It comes after the carrier made no mention of the plans at a news conference last week during which it revealed it is considering introducing several new routes out of Zagreb in 2017, including Moscow, Dublin, Oslo and Stockholm. In a statement to EX-YU Aviation News, Croatia Airlines said, "The company is still working on a plan that includes setting up bases in some south-east European cities and still has plans for acquiring regional jets". Croatia Airlines' CEO, Krešimir Kučko, previously noted that the company has calculated its planned regional expansion and decided on its route network. "Everything should be defined by the end of the year and implemented from April 1, 2017", Mr Kučko said. "The pace at which each base will be launched will depend on the arrival of new aircraft", he added.

The Croatian carrier has previously unveiled Sarajevo, Skopje, Pristina and Tirana as its planned new bases from which it would maintain flights to several European cities. However, these are not set to open all at once. "Market research data has shown that there is a potential for the successful opening of additional bases in the south-eastern European region and Croatia Airlines, as a European Union community carrier, has recognised its business interest in this", the airline told EX-YU Aviation News. It added, "The prerequisite for this is to purchase four to six new aircraft and extensive preparations are underway. Only after would it be possible to define all the details and possibly open additional bases". Croatia Airlines handled 59.497 passengers on its flights between Zagreb and Sarajevo in 2015, 46.809 travellers between the Croatian capital and Skopje, and 7.126 passengers to and from Pristina. The carrier suspended operations to Kosovo's main airport this winter but will operate several charters from the city and resume scheduled operations next summer. On the other hand, the airline does not serve Tirana.

Croatia Airlines initially planned to introduce new 100-seat jets this year, however, this did not materialise. Instead, it wetleased an ageing Fokker 100 aircraft from Trade Air. Last week, the carrier defended the move, stating, "Due to technical reasons and a change in government in Croatia, it was impossible to follow through with the operational lease of a 100-seat aircraft and the company instead wetleased a Fokker 100". This winter season, the airline looked into the possibility of leasing an Adria Airways Bombardier CRJ900. Croatia Airlines intends to bridge the gap in capacity between its Dash 8 turboprops and larger Airbus jets with the lease.

Trending in November


During November, the expansion of low cost carriers in the region and their plans for 2017 fuelled the most interest among visitors. Furthermore, new route launches planned for 2017, as well as job opportunities in the industry, were popular. EX-YU Aviation News' talk with Norwegian Air Shuttle was the most read article in November.

The full list of the top ten trending stories this November can be viewed below:

A total of 2.741 comments were left on articles published during the month, while visitor numbers increased 24.2% compared to November 2015.