Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Adria interested in Niš service

Niš Constantine the Great Airport passenger terminal
Slovenia’s Adria Airways is interested in commencing services to Serbia’s third largest city, Niš. In order for the service to begin a new aviation agreement between the two countries must be made as currently it only allows the national carrier from each country to operate 1 destination in the other (Ljubljana for Jat and Priština for Adria). The new service could bring Niš Constantine Airport back to life as the airport is currently only served by Jat Airways with 2 weekly flights to Zurich.

However, Niš could be getting a major boost this year. Turkish companies such as Atlasjet, Pegasus Airlines and Sky Airlines are interested in commencing services and Jat is hoping of starting services from Niš to Vienna. Niš is Serbia’s third largest city but it cannot rely on wide scale passenger traffic. The city lacks foreign investment therefore limiting business travel. However, it is attractive to some carrier because of its extreme low costs (many airlines have been offered free handling fees for the first 6 months of operations) and its close proximity to the mountain resort of Kopaonik is an added plus. Other carriers which used to operate flights to Niš were Montenegro Airlines on a seasonal basis (from Tivat) although it has decided not to return this year and Thompsonfly which continues with winter charters to London and Sofia. The authorities believe that the airport’s future lies in cargo operations and plans have begun to develop the airport in a major cargo hub for South Eastern Europe. Niš and its airport were heavily damaged during the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia while the airport was reopened in 2004 after its reconstruction was funded by the Norwegian Royal Family. Late last year the airport was cleared of all cassette bombs which were found in close proximity, undetonated since 1999. This work was carried out by Russian experts.

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