Local authorities plan for Niš based airline
The city of Niš in south eastern Serbia is considering setting up its own airline in 2013, to be based at Constantine the Great Airport. The city’s mayor, Zoran Perišić, says a decision on the future airline will be made once Jat Airways’ restructuring plans are revealed. According to the mayor, there is a possibility for Jat to base an aircraft in Niš and launch flights to several European destinations. If not, the city will look into leasing an aircraft of its own and starting up its own operations. “Such an airline, with 120 to 150 hours of flying time per month and solid ticket sales could become profitable within two to three months without the need of further subsidies”, Perišić says.
Niš Airport is currently served by five weekly Montenegro Airlines flights from Podgorica, with the city providing millions in subsidies each year. In December, Darwin Airline will launch flights from Zurich and Geneva while next summer season services will be launched from Trieste on behalf of Mistral Air as part of a European Union funded project. “Feasibility studies have shown that there is big interest for flights, especially to Vienna and Zurich as well as Frankfurt where passengers can catch onward connections. Furthermore, there is interest for flight to Paris where there is a sizable diaspora hailing from southern Serbia”, the mayor of Niš concludes.
In 2004, a group of businessmen registered the airline Aero Nais, to be based in Niš. The company even leased a Fokker F100 in Amsterdam to the tune of 7.5 million US dollars with plans to launch flights to Zurich, Istanbul and Southern Italy. However, Aero Nais, which intended to employ some seventy locals, never received an operational license and the ambitious start up never saw the light of day.