Will Niš keep the momentum?Niš Constantine the Great Airport in Serbia handled 23.627 passengers in 2010, up by 37.6% on 2009, thanks mostly to Montenegro Airlines. In 2010, Niš was predominantly served by 2 airlines, the low cost Italian Wind Jet and Montenegro Airlines. Despite subsidies from the city authorities, Wind Jet suspended flights from Forli to Niš back in October 2010. The city provided some 1.1 million Euros to Wind Jet and bought out 50 seats per flight, although there was an average of only 25 passengers during the peak summer season. It is Montenegro Airlines that has transported the bulk of passengers heading to and from Niš. The Podgorica – Niš – Podgorica service, which operates 5 times per week, is also subsidised, as the city purchases 40 seats per flight.
While Niš handled the most passengers since 2007, the airport will have to find new airlines if it wishes to attract more passengers. In late 2010 the airport was closed for several days due to a dire financial situation until its rival, Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, provided it with some much needed cash. Last year, Adria Airways’ regional director for Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Orhan Hodžić, said the airline was planning to introduce flights from Ljubljana to Niš in the summer of 2011, although there is no evidence that the Slovenian carrier, which is struggling with its own finances, will be doing so. It is believed that the city authorities no longer have funds in order to subsidise airlines to commence flights to Niš.
Niš Constantine the Great Airport is currently advertising itself on the market, claiming that flights from Niš to Frankfurt Hahn, Zurich (4 times per week), Paris (2 times per week), London (2 times per week), Vienna (3 times per week), Munich (2 – 3 times per week), Istanbul (2 times per week) and Moscow would be a success.