Numbers improve at Belgrade Airport
Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport recorded passenger growth in March for the first time this year despite a significant fall in the number of operated flights. Serbia’s busiest airport handled 220.278 passengers, an increase of 2% compared to last year’s 216.025. On the other hand, the number of arriving and departing flights to and from Belgrade plunged by 10% from 3.457 last year, to 3.110 in 2013. In the first quarter, Belgrade welcomed 603.724 passengers, just down on last year’s 604.210, or a 0.1% decrease. Passenger numbers at Belgrade have been hit by Jat’s major network reductions as it struggles with a fleet shortage.
With busier months approaching, the airport hopes that numbers will pick up. Wizz Air has announced it will not be resuming its seasonal service from Belgrade to Rome this summer. The service was converted into a seasonal only flight at the end of last summer. However, the low cost airline has decided to completely discontinue the service. Both Alitalia and Jat Airways continue to operate the Rome route. Nevertheless, Wizz will launch flights from Belgrade to Beauvais, Oslo Torp, Corfu and Rhodes in the coming months. Furthermore, summer charters are set to begin soon with Sky Airlines and Pegasus operating services from Antalya, Nesma Airlines, Air Cairo and Midwest Airlines from Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh, Tunis Air from Enfidha as well as numerous charters to be operated by Jat. During the summer Etihad Airways will also launch flights to the Serbian capital.
Meanwhile, Niš Constantine the Great Airport handled 1.113 passengers in March, a 34% plunge compared to the same month last year. Recently, Montenegro Airlines agreed to continue flying to the city five times per week from Podgorica after settling a dispute over subsidies with local authorities. At the end of this month Mistral Air will launch flights from Trieste to Niš in a European Union funded project. During the summer, Sky Airlines will launch regular charters from Antalya to the city. In the first quarter Niš Airport welcomed 3.753 passengers, down 23% on last year.