Busy year for Belgrade Airport
Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport has recorded its busiest year on record since opening its doors back in 1962 as it has welcomed over 3.363.919 passengers, improving on last year. December passenger growth is nearing 20% thanks in part to the launch of six new routes this month (Banja Luka, Prague, Sarajevo, Bucharest, Ljubljana and Geneva). The busiest time of the month begins from today with the number of arriving passengers expected to soar as the Christmas holidays approach. During the year, the airport also recorded its busiest day of all time on August 2. The results come despite a sluggish start to the year, influenced by Jat Airways’ significant frequency reductions and fleet shortage.
During the year the airport partially expanded and refurbished its C gates, with the rest currently undergoing reconstruction. Additionally, in September, the airport completed the expansion of its terminal two apron by adding an additional 26.000 square metres and has also built new jetways. Earlier this month, six new air bridges were put into use at the airport. Nikola Tesla Airport has announced other major investments in the year to come with the installation of a visual docking guidance system (VDGS) at a price of 340.000 euros. The VDGS is an electronic display system placed at the gate, allowing pilots to park their aircraft with greater precision and safety. In addition, a new baggage handling system will be purchased, with the investment worth 150.000 euros. Under Air Serbia’s request, the airport will also open two new ground level gates under the A4-A5 gates from which passengers will be bussed to remote stands.
This coming year promises to be a busy one for the airport. Three new airlines have so far announced flights to the Serbian capital (TAP Portugal, Vueling Airlines and Etihad Regional) while easyJet (Geneva), Wizz Air (Larnaca) and Air Serbia (Beirut, Budapest, Kiev, Sofia, Varna and Warsaw) will launch new flights from the airport. Recently, the CEO of Belgrade Airport, Velimir Radosavljević, told China Radio International there is a possibility for Belgrade to have a direct air link to Beijing in the near future with Air China, China Southern and Hainan Airlines cited as potential partners. Another important development set to unravel in 2014 is whether the government will be successful in its attempt to award Etihad Airways a twenty year concession of Belgrade Airport.