Thursday, November 5, 2009

Preparing for passengers ... and taxis

Busy times ahead for Belgrade Airport
The largest airport in the former Yugoslavia, Belgrade Nikola Tesla, is preparing itself for a large scale passenger increase as European visa travel is abolished and Serbia’s sky becomes liberated.

In December the airport will have 2 new customers – Romania’s TAROM and Hungary’s Malev. The two companies will operate a total of 10 new weekly flights from the airport. In February, the low cost Nikki will bring in new competition on the Vienna – Belgrade service while from May next year Croatia Airlines is expected to touch down with scheduled flights from Zagreb. As a result of these newcomers, and more that are expected, the airport is quickly polishing itself. Terminal 1 will, after 2 years, once again be used by airlines. From January 1, 2010 all passengers flying with Norwegian Air Shuttle, Germanwings, Jat Airways (on charter destinations), Nouvelair, KoralBlue Airlines and Nikki, from February, will check in at terminal 1. At this terminal the passenger taxes will be cheaper by 2 Euros and this way the airport hopes to establish terminal 1 as a low budget terminal.

Other development at the airport includes the expansion of the terminal 2 gates area as well as a planned business lounge renovation. Over the summer the airport renovated its arrivals hall. The airport welcomed recent news from its largest customer, Jat Airways, that it will introduce a free taxi service for all its passengers in Belgrade with a return ticket. However, the airport says that this will be a logistical nightmare. It is expected that there will be a total of 4.000 – 6.000 daily taxi commutes only as a result of this service. The airport says it will not be up to them to regulate traffic at the airport, instead, Jat Airways, the City of Belgrade and the taxi companies involved will be running the project.

Belgrade Airport is reporting a reduction in passenger numbers this year but hopes that with new customers soon arriving it will have large scale increases next year. Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport has the capacity to handle 5 million passengers per annum.

18 comments:

  1. next year will be an intresting year for Serbian Airports. Cant wait for the summer schedule to start :p

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  2. Lets really hope for the best! When I see Easyjet, Ryanair, Wizzair etc. flying to and from Belgrade's terminal 1 then that will be it and we could talk about real low cost companies flying to/from BEG!!!!! Good luck

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  3. 2 euros less taxes at terminal 2? Oh no that's too much of a discount, they've overdone it (/sarcasm)

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  4. Do any one of you know where you can read about expansion plans for Nikola T airport?renovation of airbridges,waiting areas-will they expand and how when the limits are reached within 3-4 years. Thanks in advance for any answer/Henrik

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  5. Anybody read the news about visa-free travel? Looks like it will be pushed forward to 19.12. AB, get ready!

    btw, that headline on B92 looked awesome!

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  6. Would you be so kind to tel me / us where does it say that "white schengen" will be pushed from 19.12. ????

    Which hedlines you are talking about on B92?? Thank you

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  7. @ Anonymus,

    You can read the news in pretty much any of the Serbian newspapers:

    http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2009&mm=11&dd=05&nav_category=11&nav_id=390728

    P.S. That is the headline I was referring to.

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  8. What was terminal one used for before? Any pictures of what it looks like, I imagine VERY retro!

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  9. @ peter from syd

    Terminal 1 is a small area of delapidated space at BEG. The floor tiles are cracked at many places, the check in desks are green...its a step back in time. Things change once you walk down the corridor to Terminal 2 and things look abit more modern. Terminal 2 isnt much more impressive, and in the arrivals hall if i jumped high enough i coupld probably touch the roof!

    @ Milos

    2 euros is almost 200 dinars, giving you a saving enough to recharge some credit on your mobile ;) A taxi from Nikola Tesla to the city is 900 dinars (over 2.000 with the illegal taxis). The drive is 20 minutes. The new price, around 700 dinara is much much less than what you would pay say in Vienna, Frankfurt, London...

    @ Henrik

    new glass airbridges were purchased for the C wing of Terminal 2 when it was reconstructed a couple year back. the A wing still has old airbridges but they seem to be in ok condition. waiting areas last time i used BEG were in need of an upgrade. BEG was supposed to have a cargo facility built but, surprise surprise, some scandal came out and nothing has happened.

    Visa liberation on Serbian passports for Russia have happened, for the EU will be from the 19th of december and for the UK it is expected in late 2010.

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  10. -Jatbegmel.

    Thank you for answering, i new about the previous reconstructions but i am just wondering when they will refurbish the waiting areas at the gates -open space with lcd-tv, etc etc, you probably now what i mean.Terminal 1 should also be reconstructed an prolonged, the flight tower will not be in use after 2010-they should use that space.

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  11. Belgrade airport MUST take care of the shameful situation of the illegal taxis.

    What other airport in the world must one NEVER take a taxi from the airport arrivals area?

    All the taxis down there are illegal. 100% The police won't let a non-illegal taxi drive down there, I'm told by many taxis.

    So, what you have, is the police running a criminal syndicate to rip off unsuspecting tourists.

    This is a crying shame and should be an embarrassment to the officials of Nikola Tesla airport.

    This should not be allowed.

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  12. @ henrik

    there are LCD screens that show departures and arrivals and thats all. Its slowly improving, note the word slowly.

    @ doot

    its not really Belgrade Airports responsibility. The city government is responsible for regulating and controlling taxi's in Belgrade. Very soon the problem will be fixed with new barcodes needing to be stuck to windscreens on taxis. Illegal taxis dont get them, and only taxis in the "lux" caterogory will get barcodes with a train, bus and plane drawn on them which gives them rights to transfer passengers to/from the central bus and train station and to/from Nikola Tesla Airport. Here is an article in Latinica and a sample pic of what they will look like:

    http://www.blic.rs/beograd.php?id=118975

    other than that, buy a return ticket with JAT and you dont have to worry about being ripped off by illegal taxis ;-) lol

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  13. [-shudder-] at the poisonous, Balkans "it's not my job/nije moj sektor" mentality.

    I simply can't believe that the airport has no say over what happens at it's front door.

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  14. Well, I think that in last couple of years they improved taxi situation at BEG. You don't see taxi drivers draging you for t-shirt in the terminal, and only 9th and 10th category (or Lux or whatever it's called / introduced two years ago) can work there. Couple of cars are waiting in front of the arrivals, but others are on the parking (if you look at your right when you leave the airport you will see them), and they're called by radio from a small kiosk operated by the airport.

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  15. If they improved the situation, I'd hate to see what it was before.

    The situation is disgraceful.

    The first impression of a city to a visitor is getting robbed the first moment you get off the plane.

    It is almost impossible for this not to happen to someone without local knowledge.

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  16. @ doot

    Illegal taxis do get chased away, but its not the airports problem why there is illegal taxis driving around in Belgrade. Besides, who are you expecting to chase away the illegal taxi's?

    @ Milos Djeric

    I havnt seen that at Belgrade Airport, but they do that at the train station and the bus station. I remember coming off the train from Budapest in august and just as i got off the platform there was several taxi drivers offering me a taxi ride. thank god i had someone waiting for me.

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  17. "Illegal taxis do get chased away"

    They don't.

    Only illegal taxis are allowed to pick up passengers at the arrivals terminal.

    "who are you expecting to chase away the illegal taxi's?"

    The police. Instead, they are in collusion with them, not allowing cars that haven't paid them down the ramp. Every taxi driver will tell you this.

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  18. @-jatbegmel.

    I meant lcd screens in the waiting area after the second x-ray/metaldetector control.
    I dont understand why they dont do something about it-changing windows, carpets, chairs and just put the x-ray away and open up the area like in Budapest, Frankfurt, Copenhagen.
    It is not an big investment and the airport its getting more money for every year.
    Thanks again for answering

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