Belgrade and Niš stumble in January
After 34 months of consecutive passenger growth, Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport has seen its figures slump in January. The airport welcomed 210.050 passengers, a decrease of 2.1% compared to the same month last year. While Jat Airways did cut down on frequencies in the first month of the year, its fleet problems were not the cause of Belgrade’s poorer performance as the Serbian carrier managed to boost its passenger numbers. The airport saw 3.108 airline operations, down a significant 5.9% on the year before. While Belgrade did host the European Handball Championships last January, which resulted in a 20.1% passenger boost compared to January 2010, several airlines have left the Serbian capital since. While Malév has declared bankruptcy, during last month Niki and Air One suspended services.
The airport will hope that Pegasus Airlines, easyJet, the return of LOT Polish Airlines and the launch of several new destinations by Wizz Air will help boost figures in the coming months although the airport will have to deal with Air France’s and SkyWork’s exit in March. Air France’s service will be replaced by Jat Airways and Wizz Air’s new flights to the French capital.
Meanwhile, Serbia’s second airport, Niš, also struggled in January. It too played host to the European Handball Championships last year but registered only 1.686 passengers in January 2013, down 21%. Furthermore, Montenegro Airlines has reduced its number of flights from Podgorica to Niš from daily to five weekly. However, better times are to come as Mistral Air will launch flights from Trieste on April 26 while flights to Antalya in Turkey are also planned for the summer season.
Meanwhile, construction work on the expansion and modernisation of Nikola Tesla Airport is in full swing. Serbia’s public broadcaster, RTS, recently filed this report reviewing the progress being made on the terminal building (YouTube access required, in Serbian).