Saturday, January 4, 2014

Belgrade Airport ends 2013 on a high

Belgrade’s numbers soar in December

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport ended 2013 by recording its highest growth rate of the year. In December, Serbia’s busiest airport handled 267.297 passengers, an increase of 18.9% compared to the same month in 2012. The growth was primarily driven by Air Serbia but also a strong showing by foreign carriers, particularly Swiss International Air Lines, Aeroflot and Wizz Air. During the month, the number of flight operations was significantly boosted. A total of 3.927 arrivals and departures were recorded, an increase from 3.202 in December 2012. During the month, six new routes were launched. They included Banja Luka, Prague, Ljubljana, Bucharest, Sarajevo and Geneva by three different airlines - Air Serbia, B&H Airlines and Swiss.

Belgrade Airport ended 2013 as the busiest airport in the former Yugoslavia and saw its best year on record. Throughout the year, the airport welcomed 3.543.194 passengers through its doors, an increase of 5.3% compared to 2012. A total of 46.828 arrivals and departures were recorded, an increase of 1.839 flights on 2012. As a result, the airport has overtaken Sofia Airport and is in contention of entering the top 100 busiest airports in Europe list.

The airport’s management expects 2014 to be another record year. During the month the airport will see easyJet launch new services to Geneva while Air Serbia has begun frequency upgrades across its network this January. It is in contrast to last year when the airport saw a lacklustre start to 2013. The CEO of Belgrade Airport, Velimir Radosavaljević, says, “In 2014 Belgrade Airport will, without a doubt, see the biggest improvement, that is, the biggest increase in passenger numbers out of any capital city airport in Europe”. So far, the airport is expected to see the launch of several new routes. easyJet and Etihad Regional will launch flights from Geneva, Air Serbia will inaugurate services to Beirut, Budapest, Sofia, Varna, Kiev and Warsaw, TAP Portugal will launch flights from Lisbon while Vueling Airlines will inaugurate a seasonal service from Barcelona. In addition, Wizz Air will launch flights to Larnaca.

69 comments:

  1. So right now BEG is the fourth busiest airport in the Balkans.
    1. Athens ~13 mil
    2. Bucharest ~7 mil
    3. Thessaloniki ~4 mil
    I think BEG could become number 3 next year if the JU expansion continues well.

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    1. IST is also in the Balkans.

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    2. And Sabiha Gokcen (if I wrote it right) if you count Istanbul as A Balkan city.

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    3. Technically speaking Bucharest and Sabiha Gokcen are not in Balkan boundaries.

      On the other hand Budapest is only ~400km away and is far more relevant than say Istanbul or Athens...

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    4. Yes, Technically speaking, Bucharest is not in the Balkan peninsula, but "Balkans" often is used to mean more than just the peninsula. Most people use it to mean the region of Ex-Yu, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, and the Euro part of Turkey.

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    5. Actually, if we talk take geographic maps into consideration then neither Sabiha nor Bucharest are in the Balkans.

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    6. If we take maps into consideration, BEG airport isn't in the Balkans.

      Balkans can refer to the actual Balkan peninsula, or a more abstract area in South East Europe.

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    7. yeah but then neither is Ljubljana...

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    8. Enough with geography for insane...

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    9. aham, but where is Sofia - on apenini or maybe in skandinavia ???

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    10. Don't be stupid, of course Sofia is in the Balkans.

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  2. Congrats to Belgrade, I wonder which airport will have the biggest increase percentage wise for 2013? And what about 2014?

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    Replies
    1. Tuzla will have the biggest percentage increase.

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  3. A6-SAA stays in Abu Dhabi? JU801 will be operated by EY's A320 with massive delay... What's going on?

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    1. http://www.blic.rs/Vesti/Drustvo/432185/Novi-erbas-na-letu-od-Abu-Dabija-do-Beograda-vracen-na-aerodrom-zbog-manjeg-kvara

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    2. It is quite amazing that they immediately managed to get A320 to fly to Belgrade after A319 got broken in the air.

      It was a luck that this happened close to AUH, nevertheless it shows Etihad's commitment and how serious this company is.

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  4. Well if BEG records about 12% growth in 2014 then it will reach 4m pax. But is 12% realistic?

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    1. In some way it is, but it depends all about LF of all routes. My prediction is that the growth will be somewhere between 6 and 10 percents.

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    2. For BEG to break 4.000.000 in 2014, there must be a growth of 12.89%

      It is not impossible because it has been done in the pas. These are years with at least 13% growth:
      2011: 16%
      2010: 13%
      2007: 13%
      2003: 14%

      I personally think that BEG has a good chance of breaking 4mil in 2014 because of the performance of BEG in Nov and Dec of 2013.
      Nov: 14%
      Dec: 19%

      BEG is attracting a lot of new carriers recently, new carriers does not always translate to high demand, but carriers don't often fly to new places unless they are sure they can fill the planes.

      Also, in the first four months of 2013, BEG didn't see any growth because JAT had problems, and the number of flights was around -10% of 2012, so I think we will see a good start to 2014 because there will be a lot more flights in the first four months of 2014 than in 2013. You can check out the detailed numbers here:
      http://beg.aero/about_us/traffic_figures/traffic_figures.889.html

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    3. Well, I am sure that passenger growth during January and February will be around 20% as those months performed really badly in the past. Now that Air Serbia has a decent network and now that it has added additional frequencies passenger numbers will boom.
      I think the rest of the months will see growth between 10% and 20%. I am just curious to see how the summer months perform and if we might get our first month with 500.000 passengers. Hopefully by March we will know what airlines have applied for charter flights.

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  5. Well done!
    One of the few businesse that appears healthy in Serbia and I hope it does not get sold to Arabs...

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    Replies
    1. The reason behind all this growth is Arabs (without who Jat would now be dissolving and passenger numbers in BEG shrinking), so you may wish to consider refering to those guys with less arrogant tone...

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    2. Actually, the airport is run by the Serbs and it has done really well until now. I would like to remind you that the airport managed to record extremely healthy profits until now, even at times when it wasn't getting a single cent from Jat.
      So you might want to have a less arrogant tone towards the few competent Serbs within the country's civil aviation sector.

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  6. If BEG wants to reach the 4 mil mark, it needs to have an increase of around 38 000 pax per month.

    So, in November BEG had an increase of 30.108 and in December the increase was 42.428. In average, that is 36.269 per last two months.

    And that is just because Air Serbia launched some of the new routes (plus not all of them were launched at the begining of December) and boosted some of the frequencies (for example Tel Aviv), and just because of Swiss in mid December and B & H.

    It is a strong growth even without easyJet in January and Etihad regional to Geneva, even without Wizz to Larnaca, TAP to Lisabon and Vueling to Barca.

    And without all those new routes that will Air Serbia launch in March and May.

    Let's not forget that we will see boosting frequences at the begining of January - for example Tel Aviv, Thessaloniki.

    Also, the list of new lines coming to Belgrade is not over yet, there is a whole year ahead of us. (Emirates as a rumor)

    Only thing that can endanger 4 mil. mark this year would be ceasing visa-free regime for Serbian citizens. We all hope that wont happen.

    Pozdrav i Srbima i Hrvatima i svim eks-Jugoslovenima iz Beograda.

    P.S. I hope we have a direct link to Zagreb and Tirana.

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    1. '...and boosted some of the frequencies (for example Tel Aviv), '

      I think that Tel Aviv growth did not come because of boosted frequencies but because of revised schedule which enables connections in Belgrade now.

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    2. Yea, you are right, but not all the routes had a boost (for example I think Montenegrin ones did not have it) , so I mentioned Tel Aviv as one of the examples.

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    3. Yes, that is true however, Podgorica did get the A319 so I guess the number of seats offered did not go down.

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    4. The biggest losers will be Lufthansa and Austrian, who were counting on transit pax. Now with more non-stop choices from BEG, their numbers will decrease. They are already downgrading the airliners they send to BEG (Lufthansa Regional, Austrian sending their Dash and Fokkers)

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    5. Austrian Airlines always used to send its Fokker and Dash birds to Belgrade. Their early afternoon flight has always been popular and that line is safe as it is convenient for the O&D passengers.
      I think Lufthansa is the biggest loser here. I guess it's more difficult for them to attract the Serbian O&D market because they are dispersed all over Germany. Austria and Switzerland are much smaller so it's easier to have them gravitate around a few airports. I think Lufthansa will not be adding any new frequencies, Germanwings on the other hand...

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    6. The whole LH group in BEG is threatened by the current developments here. MUC flights will be reduced from 3 daily to 2 daily. LX has introduced GVA flights but it will be interesting to see what happens later in the year when U2 and F7 start their flights.

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    7. With easyJet launching Geneva-Belgrade after increasing frequencies on its route from Milan, I wonder if they might be considering launching Hamburg-Belgrade. I am sure Wizz Air's Dortmund flight is drawing quite a few passengers from there. There are a lot of Serbs in and around Hamburg.

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    8. insider: BEG-SKP will see prob. increase to 3x daily in summer. JU also plans to base 1 of the old boings in SKP (charters or even new lines from SKP)

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  7. Nice to see Alitalia (A319) and Austrian Airlines (A320) upgauge their capacity to Belgrade today.

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  8. Does anyone have the JU load factor to Banja Luka. I am assuming it is not very high remembering Adria's average load of 5 passengers per flight.

    Well done to BEG.

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    Replies
    1. It was reported here that the average loadfactor before the Christmas season was around 25 passengers per flight.

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    2. beg-bl od 20 do 30 putnika po pravcu

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    3. almost 50%. it is ok for the first month

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    4. Значи између 30% и 50% од како је успостављена линија? То није уопште лоше посебно ако имамо у виду да је Јат имао просечну попуњеност кабине 20%!

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    5. S obzirom da su svi zivi propadali koji su pokusavali da nesto urade sa Banjalukom, ovo je odlicno...

      Da li je tacno da Air Serbia dobija subvencije za tu liniju od Vlade Republike Srpske ili mozda grada Banjaluke?

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    6. Air Serbia's flights to/from BNX are significantly better than Adria's to/from LJU, LF is still low, but considering it has been only a month and a route takes time to develop I am seeing this to work. Great connection for targeted destinations ( Moscow, Germany, Scandinavia,...). I have used all services flying to/from BNX in the past 5 years (Adria to LJU, JU to BEG, JA to ZUR (SJJ via BNX) and even short living Austrojet's service to Salzburg with an excellent service but disastrous LF, and Air Serbia's LF for the first month is more than good. If they continue with a business sense like this and marketing as they are doing I can see only a bright future.

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    7. The service is working better than Adria's because they're targeting transfer pax, not O&D. O&D is huge between Belgrade and Banja Luka, it's just that jost people use cars or bus service. Transfering them to other cities in Europe or Asia is a much better strategy though.

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    8. Actually, JU gets a fair share of transit passengers from Moscow who connect in Belgrade. I guess they used to use Zagreb in the past.

      By the way, how convenient is it to use Zagreb from Banja Luka? How long is the drive?

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    9. About 1h40min.

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    10. Oh wow... so not that convenient. I thought it was about one hour.

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    11. Travel times between BNX and cities in Europe are now between 4 and 6 hours, which is quite good. There'll probably be more transit passengers, especially corporate ones who traditionally do not travel around Christmas and New Year.
      BNX-ROM 4:00 hrs
      BNX-PRG 5:00 hrs
      BNX-ZRH 5:05 hrs
      BNX-VIE 4:40 hrs
      BNX-PAR 4:50 hrs
      BNX-BER 5:30 hrs
      BNX-DUS 5:10hrs
      BNX-STR 4:45 hrs
      BNX-MOW 4:30 hrs
      BNX-STO 5:00 hrs
      BNX-AMS 5:15 hrs
      BNX-CPH 4:55 hrs
      BNX-BRU 4:55 hrs

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    12. Air Serbia could take away some of the B & H pax going to Zurich. JU has flights every day with decent times, and it is 40 euros cheaper than B & H. It has flights twice a day (only the second daily can be utilized in this case).

      Still, it is more likely that Air Serbia would steal those passengers who fly on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays because those are the days when B & H does not fly to Zurich.

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    13. The lowest JU fare is EUR 40 cheaper only for travel before 14JAN and from 15JAN the lowest fares on JA and JU are practically the same (there is a EUR 0.56 difference). However JU provides a daily connection and better availability and considering how people from Republic of Srpska feel about JA, it will be interesting to see how that reflects on passenger numbers on JA flights.

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    14. I checked the travel dates 1st march and 12th march. JU was 40€ cheaper.

      I actually meant that JU can take away those pax who used to reschedule their duties and visits and leisure time because they did not have an alternative, so they rescheduled it so that it can fit into JA flying schedule. Now, they have options on mondays, tuesdays and thursdays. Not quite a travelling days, but we ll see.

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    15. Well, I am sure that another reason for flying with Air Serbia is the mileage programme. Since the price is more or less the same, maybe people will opt to fly with JU simply because of the points?

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    16. I agree with everything above, although this political note about how people from RS feel about JA is unnecessary. Not that it matters at all, I am Serb from Banja Luka ( I live in London) and people (I am talking about normal people, not brainwashed and not bothered with that political nonsense) couldn't care less who they fly with. Very true, JU delivers better product in the terms of connecting further and it is cheaper, but JA's route has its own ( I dare say regular) passengers on this route and I am pretty sure that nothing will be changed on this route for JA. I flew with JA (on ZRH-BNX-ZRH) and with JU BEG-BNX-BEG), no complaints at all. JA is a small company and their crew was pretty good. Can't complain about their service at all. I would take this opportunity to congratulate to BEG (because that is today's topic) but also to other ex YU airport on brilliant achievements in 2013. I am hoping and wishing that we shall se more routes, airlines and passengers in EX YU. Fingers crossed for other small airports OSI, INI, POW, BWK, OMO, MBX and I hope we are going to see what has happened to the similar airports in Europe which they were underused before but breaking all records for the last few years.

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    17. @Anonymous at 5:20 PM

      I am a bit confused right now. First you say that normal people could not care less who are they flying with, then you say that JA has its own passengers and JA wont be affected by JU. Those two are a bit contradictory if you ask me. Either they don't care about politics and fly with whoever brings better service, or JA has a stronghold of loyal passengers who are loyal to them.

      Can you explain a bit more please?

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    18. My comment was not political and I apologise for any misunderstanding. Personally I was appalled with comments made by travel agents in BNX and I hope the general sentiment has changed since my last visit. From what I saw in BNX, there is a market potential, so political issues should be eliminated as soon as possible so that both airlines and passengers could benefit from the BNX market.

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    19. I don't think anyone in Banja Luka would care if it's JA as until now it was their only option to fly from the city. One thing is certain, Air Serbia has opened Banja Luka not only to Europe but to more or less all of Africa and Asia thanks to its links with Etihad. This route will work this time around as Air Serbia has a really good network now and it can actually offer convenient connecting flights which was not the case with Jat Airways.

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  9. http://www.blic.rs/Vesti/Drustvo/432185/Novi-erbas-na-letu-od-Abu-Dabija-do-Beograda-vracen-na-aerodrom-zbog-manjeg-kvara

    At least the flight was full :)

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    Replies
    1. Yeah but I can already imagine the internet trolls attacking the airline by saying nothing has changed. lol

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    2. the amount of trolls is amazing. every comment there is a hater comment. but, then again, it's Blic. they usually attract haters on their web site. and paid trolls

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    3. You should not pay attention to that. You can see how much they know about aviation when they compared JU prices with Wizz prices hahah, and when they demanded Belgrade - Banja Luka flights to cost 30-40 € :D . Just leave it ;)

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  10. Congratulations to BEG!
    Let's hope 2014 brings success to all airports and airlines across Ex-Yu.

    I hope BEG will end 2014 between 3.85 and 4.05 mio pax

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  11. Does anyone have Banja Luka December numbers? Would be interesting to see how they did.

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  12. A bit of humour. :)

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/1518206_569529303141791_1475399285_n.jpg

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  13. Congratulations Belgrade, nice to see its not all doom and gloom around the world

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  14. Yeah, but SOF Dec 2013 figures are still not published. But congrats on BEG for the impressive figures.

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    Replies
    1. Well, in the period January-November 2013 Sofia airport handled 3,226,888 passengers. So unless they can handle over 300.000 in December I think it's safe to assume they will not beat Belgrade.

      Sofia's numbers have been varying between 3.2 and 3.4 million since they entered the European Union. I think that's their optimal number without having a strong carrier based there offering connections.

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  15. During the 2014 summer season, Aeroflot's morning departure to Belgrade will be operate with the B737-800. I do not know if it will be the case with all flights or just a few but the aicraft is already loaded into the system.

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  16. On 5th of January AirSerbia transported more than 5.000 passengers in single day. Yesterday problem was with checkin and baggage sorting... civil aviation in Serbia will change forever. Others participant in chain must change they way of working as well (handling, catering...)

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    Replies
    1. Baggage processing and sorting can not cover even now AS morning peak. BEG must employ more workers, finally

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