Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Air traffic control centre opens

New headquarters for Serbian air traffic control
The multi million Euro state of the art air control centre in Belgrade has been completed. Its opening this evening will mark a landmark change in air traffic control in the region. The new building, located next to Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, has 9.500 square metres and construction on the building began in March 2009. The building has been completed six months ahead of schedule. A total of 500 controllers will be able to work at the same time inside the building and 4.000 aircraft will be handled per day. Belgrade control takes care of Serbia’s and Montenegro’s airspace, as well as 55% of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s airspace and the airspace above international waters of the Adriatic Sea.

The new building will be opened today at 18.00 CET by the Serbian Prime Minister, Mirko Cvetković. Also attending the grand opening are Serbian President, Boris Tadić, 20 directors from various European air control centres and high ranking officials from the Montenegrin Government.

The construction cost of the new air traffic control centre in Belgrade amounts to 19 million Euros while, together with the new equipment, the entire project tops 90 million Euros. According to the project manager, Belgrade now has the most up to date air control centre in the world and the largest control centre in the Balkans.

Meanwhile, in another show of keeping up with the times Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport will, from January 1, 2011, begin using an ePassport gate. The gate will allow Serbian passport holders to scan their passports and leave their fingerprint. If the fingerprint sample matches the one in their passport, passengers can proceed without any further passport control checks. Citizens from other countries that are holders of a biometric passport will also be able to use the gate instead of proceeding to passport control.


  1. Good job Belgrade and Serbia!
    As for the epass or whatever, I think it is a great thing as usually there are so many people waiting at the passport control that it is crazy (well during the rushour times).
    It'ss great to see Belgrade becoming the strongest and best equipped airport in the region!

  2. Get us more such good news. Bravo Belgrade !!

  3. Nice to know not everything in Serbian Aviation is bad news ;-)

    Good stuff for us here in Belgrade :) It was looking good when i was at the airport 2 months ago, and was surprised to hear on tv last night that today will be the opening day :)

    As for the epass thingy, what intrest me is, will it stamp our passports? I like my stamps in my passport :) but i agree with anonymous1, will be good in reducing lines at passport control.

  4. The last time I came into the country I didn't receive a stamp... I asked for one but the policewoman working there refused to give me one :(

  5. Good luck! Hope you can be as busy as the Maastricht one day. On my EK flights to LHR, CDG, VCE and MUC, all of them fly over Belgrade when traveling south.

  6. Great news! Looks like that the region is going to be modernised. After Belgrade Ljubljana is going to get brand new centre as well.

  7. At least the Slovenians aren't so STUPID to locate their ATC centre on airport property, as they have done in Belgrade - such a STUPID STUPID move, using valuable space that could be used for airport-related activities now or in the future such as extra car parking, an airport hotel, etc.
    This will surely be the first, and only, regional ATC centre to be located so close to an airport terminal anywhere in the world. But at least they've put a tennis court next to it.

    That is nothing to be proud of.


    this is part of their expansion plan. on youtube, there is a video called "Belgrade" and it shows the expansion of the airport which should start within 5-10 years, the expansion is going to go towards the other side (it will include a new runway and much more) and will cover a lot of open fields. there is room for that, and the airport control centre is in conjunction with that. get your facts straight before getting negative.

  9. @ anonymous,

    the ATC centre in LJU is on the airport itself too..
    apx 300 metres from the departure hall... right next to the old JP DC-6

    Slovenians also nix good :-)

  10. @Alex Nicolic:

    If you think there is any need for a second runway at Belgrade, you are badly misinformed. Belgrade could easily handle up to 13-15 million passengers on an annual basis before any need for additional runway capacity is required. Considering they'll be lucky to reach 3 million next year (2011), that date is a LONG LONG way off.

  11. No one said that they are going to build a second one tomorrow but rather in 5-10 years so there is still time. By then if everything stays as it is Belgrade could handle about 4 to 4.5 million passengers

  12. Great news for Belgrade. This is going to greatly modernize the airport (and it needs modernization) and improve safety of air travel through Serbian airspace. I am guessing that the rest of Bosnia will allocate its air traffic to this new control center and Macedonia will follow suite.
    As for the so-called project to expand the airport, I think it will first undergo a major renovation of Terminal 1 which looks absolutely horrible when compared to Terminal 2. But with the projected amount of passengers passing through Belgrade in 5-10 years, it would make sense to even begin plans for Terminal 3. And they have begun building a terminal close to Terminal 1 but I don't know if that actually is a terminal, or a hotel, or something else. And a second runway is more for speeding the amount of take-offs and landings, allowing more aircraft to pass through Belgrade. All in all excellent news.

  13. @SerbianSausage:
    Bosnia has it's own ATC center, unfortunately not yet operative, but as everything else there, it will be sooner or later (with emphasis on later :) )

  14. @ SerbianSausage:

    We have our own control center, which is set to start in 2011, where Sarajevo will take over the control over the Bosnian sky from Zagreb and Belgrade. ;)

    Anywayz, great news for our neighbors in Belgrade!

  15. @Bosnians

    Congratulations to Sarajevo on their control tower.

    I hope that this will help JAT fly to America :)

  16. @ Anonymous

    There is plenty of room around the airport, i mean, enough for Montenegro and Slovenia to come live with us in Belgrade :p lol

    A new car park and hotel is beingm planned, which will be linked to Terminal 2 by a pedestrian walkway/bridge. I havnt heard much on the hotel, but parking is supposed to be increased by around 5 times the current amount, with even some underground parking.

  17. So s Belgrade in fact planning for a Terminal 3? I guess that the building under construction I saw is the hotel, which makes sense to build (and the walkway too), but I wonder if all that parking is for something else in mind. I mean it's crowded there but 5x the current amount is a lot of spots...I'm also hearing rumors that they plan to build a terminal 3 in the not-to-distant future and connect a line with the future metro to it. Anyone know exactly what is going on?

  18. I don’t know what building you saw under construction but currently nothing is being built at the airport. You might have seen the air traffic control centre which just opened and some work is being done to Jat’s building next to the airport as they sold their New Belgrade headquarters and the entire company is moving to this building at the airport which was until a few weeks ago completely derelict.

    As for the metro which is supposed to start construction at the end of 2012 there is no line within the next 10 years planned to the airport (unfortunately).

  19. Well that sucks. But I just read that there were representatives of the Canadian and American airports attending the opening of this building...I wonder why they are here......

  20. @serbiansausage (koji nick covjece...) why should that help Jat and how can you even imagine novadays Jat flying to USA when much bigger companies like CSA (with more than 50 aircrafts) from eastern europe don't fly there? you need some uplightning my friend. Todays Jat has only the name of the great company that existed till 1991...the glory of JAT disappeared with Yugoslav break up.

    Congratz to BEG on the control tower ;)

  21. @Anonymous

    Nadam se da ti se svidja nick :p

    The air traffic control is more modern and updated allowing the airport to boost that current law on air traffic that the Serbian Gov passed not too long ago. This is more of an indirect message to the USA that Serbia is prepared to host long-haul flights. Besides as the previous anonymous said, there were representatives from Canadian and American airports there, so I assume they were there for a certain reason. As for CSA, they had the same problem with Malev...too few people (even from their own countries) and no competing prices. They had more expensive tickets than Lufthansa and Air France which are closer to their countries than Serbia lol. So if JAT has good enough service and competing prices, then it can compete. I also assume that other people from the Balkans would use those flights to go to their respective countries. I would really like to see Croatia Airlines and JAT code share on flights from Belgrade to Croatian cities, and allow tourists to travel to Croatia and Serbia much easier and cheaper. Besides, I hope that JAT will become privatized and have a completely new fleet by 2012...but then again Serbian aviation lol.

  22. @ Serbian Sausage

    JAT from 2006 could fly to Canada. They got a charter license when they wanted to recommence flights to YYZ back in 2006, but after got one for regular commercial. Serbia still is ranked FAA CAT II and JAT however to this day cannot start flights to the US, even if they have slots at US airports. The air traffic centre doesnt mean they are prepared for long haul flights, they just better equipped at hosting flights above our airspace. I wouldnt want to see JAT codeshare with OU, 1) they are star alliance, 2) enough LH presence in BEG.

    As far as i know, there was plans 20 years ago to make a third terminal. I think the airport has a 5 million per annum capacity anyway, terminal 2 is supposed to be expanded again as well, so i dont see the reason why a third terminal should be built at the moment.


    True JAT could fly to Canada since 2006. But like today it is in such a shitty state that it cannot even buy regional planes as much as long-haul. Besides Air Canada launched some sort of charter to Belgrade from toronto for a while and then stopped due to some fiscal crisis the airline had. But JAT doesn't plan to fly tomorrow or in the coming months...but 2 years! And it counts on the ticket that it will be privatized so hat it actually can upgrade itself.

    The air traffic control center is like I said, more of a symbolic meaning to USA for getting CAT I. But all in all having he most modern and efficient control center in the Balkans/Europe is never bad :)

    And I don't really see a problem with a JAT-CA codeshare. Sure they are Star Alliance and they are like Lufthansa's puppet, but if it gets flights between Croatia and Serbia started then I'm all for it.


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