Pristina Airport launches incentive scheme to return to growth
Pristina Airport has been faced with a strong decline in passenger numbers following the bankruptcy of its busiest airline Belle Air Europe late last year. The airport has now developed alternative methods at attracting new customers which include incentives and subsidies for airlines launching new routes and additional frequencies, as well as special measures for carriers struggling with poor load factors on their flights in and out of Pristina. Further assistance will be provided to airlines operating a large number of flights from the city. Yesterday, the Kosovo Civil Aviation Authority approved the airport’s new measures to increase traffic movement. The incentive scheme will come into effect on March 30.
The new route development incentive has been created to spur interest among airlines to launch destinations which have not been served out of Pristina for at least twelve months. Those airlines willing to operate flights to new routes will be exempt from landing fees for the first year and will enjoy a 50% discount in their second year of operations. The additional frequency incentive hopes to encourage airlines to add additional frequencies to their existing schedules. Airlines operating at least one additional frequency will be freed of landing fees for one year. Carriers which have handled over 50.000 passengers from Pristina last year will be eligible for financial support. Pristina Airport will provide 25.000 euros to airlines which handled between 50.001 - 100.000 passengers last year (Austrian and Pegasus Airlines) and 200.000 euros to airlines carrying between 100.001 - 200.000 travellers (Germanwings, Adria Airways, Turkish Airlines, Darwin Airline, Germania, easyJet and Endelweiss). Airlines that handle over 200.000 passengers will be provided with financial assistance ranging from 300.000 euros onwards. Last year, Belle Air Europe, which ceased operations on November 27, handled 275.814 passengers from Pristina. Finally, airlines which have an average load factor of less than 50% on their flights to and from Pristina will be cleared of landing fees for a year. In addition, Pristina Airport will provide support for marketing and promotion.
Pristina Airport hopes the abovementioned measures will see it return to growth and maintain its position as the third busiest airport in the former Yugoslavia. This summer, no new airline has announced plans to launch flights to Pristina. On the other hand, Darwin Airline, which operated some flights on behalf of Belle Air Europe last year, and has since rebranded to Etihad Regional, will not operate services to Pristina in 2014. However, Alitalia has announced plans to launch flights to the city later this year.