Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Inside Zagreb Airport's new terminal

The construction of Zagreb Airport's new passenger terminal is in its final months with work expected to be completed in September and the opening scheduled for March 2017. At approximately 65.000 square metres, the facility is spread over three floors and features three baggage carousels, eight air bridges, nine security checkpoints, 23 passport control booths and a car park with the capacity to handle 1.100 vehicles. The rectangular main body of the terminal extends into two asymmetric piers, with the west pier, for international operations, boasting six air bridges and the east pier, for domestic traffic, featuring two air bridges. In addition, one air bridge in the international section will be able to accommodate larger aircraft such as the Boeing 777 and B747. Furthermore, the airport includes three remote stands next to the terminal, while stands at the current passenger building will also be used if the need arises. Each of the aircraft parking positions at the new facility includes a Visual Docking Guidance System which gives information to a pilot attempting to park their aircraft. The air bridges have been manufactured by the Spanish company ADELTE.

The terminal itself will include a large 600 square metre duty free shop operated by Aelia, cafe bars, smoking cabins and automated baggage handling. Enough space has been left for additional check-in counters and baggage carousels to be added once the new terminal reaches its maximum capacity. The building's supporting structural frame consists of circular columns and beams with pre-stressed concrete decks and four reinforced concrete kerns for vertical communication. While the north facade features air bridges, the south, east and west facades have flat aluminium curtains with structural glazing. The roof is partially glazed, and partially covered by an aluminium shield.

During subsequent phases, the terminal is expected to be expanded to cover the existing three stands, while remote parking positions would be built across from the air bridges. Furthermore, a rapid-exit taxiway is planned in the second phase of the project. The maximum capacity of the terminal in its ultimate phase will be eight million passengers per year. The project is valued at 243 million euros, with the terminal managed by the French-led Zagreb Airport International Company (ZAIC). The consortium is made up of Aéroports de Paris Management 20.77%, Bouygues Bâtiment International 20.77%, the Marguerite Fund 20.77%, International Finance Corporation 17.58%, TAV Airports 15.0% and Viadukt 5.11%.

Photos by EX-YU Aviation News. Click to enlarge.

Terminal entrance and car park

Check-in and security

Departures area

Entrance to air bridge, passport control at arrivals

Baggage claim area

Automated baggage handling area and arrivals

Terminal airside and remote parking

Belgrade Airport begins work on de-icing platform


Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport has begun construction of a 20.500 square metre de-icing platform. Located near the entry-way to runway 12, the platform will be able to handle up to four aircraft at the same time, two of which will be serviced and another two which will be waiting in the queue. Furthermore, the platform will accommodate all necessary de-icing equipment. The de-icing platform will reduce holdover time, speed up aircraft movement and ease congestion at the gates. The project also includes the extension of the taxiways which will lead to and from the platform. Construction is expected to be completed in time for this coming winter season.

easyJet brings forward Pristina launch


Budget airline easyJet will bring forward the launch of its new service from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to Pristina by a month. The two weekly service, which was originally to commence on November 2, will now start on October 1. Initially, flights will run once per week, each Saturday, during October and will increase to two per week in November. Paris will mark easyJet's fourth destination out of Pristina, complementing existing flights to Berlin, Basel and Geneva. Further flight details can be found here.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Solid start for Air Serbia's New York service

A month in from launching its first transatlantic service, Air Serbia has recorded solid results on the route so far. According to Serbia's Prime Minister, the carrier has registered an average cabin load factor of 84.1% on the 254-seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which is utlised five time per week to New York. Air Serbia's CEO, Dane Kondić, conceded that, as a newcomer, it is difficult to establish brand awareness on the crowded transatlantic travel market. Speaking to "Travel Weekly" recently, Mr Kondić said, "Flying as a young brand is no easy feat, but we're lucky in that we have a fairly sizable diaspora in the US. There are 200.000 people who are Serbian and of Serbian descent coupled with just as many people who are from the remainder of the former Yugoslav federation". The airline has run a number of promotional campaigns to attract new passengers to the service, particularly in the former Yugoslav markets.

Local travel agents in the United States, who specialise in sales to the former Yugoslavia, have told EX-YU Aviation News that ticket sales and interest in flights from New York to Belgrade have considerably increased in the lead-up to the service launch and spiked some thirty days ago when the route was inaugurated. According to the airline's CEO, Air Serbia also plans to attract more tourists from the United States but also lure travellers heading to the Adriatic coast. "As Serbia grows as a leisure destination, we hope to draw more passengers. Read many publications; they will tell you Serbia is a great destination to go out and see. We are positioning Belgrade as a gateway into the Adriatic coast of Croatia and Montenegro".

However, solid passenger numbers do not necessarily translate into profitability. According to Serbia's Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, the route will turn a profit in three year's time. "We have a significant number of Albanians using the service and we will look to capitalise on this", Mr Vučić said, hinting at the possibility of the resumption of flights between Belgrade and Pristina. "The target is to reach an average cabin load factor of 90% in the foreseeable future", he added. On the other hand, the President and CEO of the Etihad Aviation Group, which Air Serbia is a member of, James Hogan, has said the financial investment in launching the flights was minimal due to the support of other group members. Another way in which Air Serbia is looking to increase revenues on the route is by carrying a larger share of freight. The carrier's A330 has a belly-hold cargo capacity of fifteen tonnes or forty square metres per flight. “Since launching the flights, we have seen strong demand from postal services for carrying mail across the Atlantic, including from authorities in Serbia, as well as Slovenia and Bulgaria, and the United States Postal Service", Mr Kondić said. He added, "We are also now transporting freight to the United States from Serbia and all over the region, including Bulgaria, Macedonia, Bosnia and Turkey, showing that our new flight is already enabling significant economic activity and trade growth”.

Delta rules out EX-YU interest


The word’s second busiest carrier, Delta Air Lines, has ruled out any interest in operating flights to the former Yugoslavia in the near future. The airline recently inked a number of codeshare agreements allowing it to sell its own tickets to the region. Apart from codesharing with Air France and KLM between Paris, Amsterdam and Zagreb, the carrier has also added its designator code and flight numbers onto ČSA Czech Airlines’ services between Prague, Zagreb and Skopje. “Codeshares are an important part of Delta’s network strategy as they allow us to reach parts of the globe that we do not operate to ourselves. We have many partnerships of this nature around the world”, a spokesperson for the airline said. They added, “Although we continually evaluate our markets and make adjustments to our network when required, we are happy with our current network footprint in the former Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe and at this stage do not have any plans to update this”. In 2013, Delta was the only carrier to file a complaint against a planned codeshare between Air Serbia and Etihad Airways on flights from Abu Dhabi to the United States. The codeshare was ultimately rejected by US regulators. However, a month ago Air Serbia and Etihad were granted approval for the latter to place its codes onto Air Serbia’s service between Belgrade and New York, without any objections from Delta. Over the past few months, a number of airports in the former Yugoslavia, including Zagreb and Dubrovnik, have expressed their interest in offering direct flights to the United States.