|Split Airport expected to become third busiest in EX-YU|
Split Airport anticipates it will become the third busiest in the former Yugoslavia this year, behind only Belgrade and Zagreb. The airport, which handled 1.581.734 passengers in 2013, estimates it will see growth of 4-5% this year, which could be enough to offset Pristina Airport which is dealing with the collapse of its busiest carrier that declared bankruptcy in December last year. After a slow start to 2014, Split Airport has seen its numbers increase almost 20% in April and overall growth of 4% in the first four months of the year. On the other hand, Pristina Airport recorded a decline in passenger numbers by over 20% in the first quarter. Attaining the position of third busiest airport in the EX-YU region, for a primarily seasonal airport, would be a big achievement for Split.
As a result, late last week the airport announced that it has secured a permit to expand its terminal building which will have the capacity to cater for two million passengers per year or 2.400 passengers per hour. Commenting on the future investment, Split Airport CEO, Lukša Novak, said, “With the planned reconstruction and expansion of the terminal building the airport will expand its facilities by 34.500 square metres, which will increase capacity”. Construction is expected to begin after the summer season and is valued at sixty million euros. Within Croatia, besides Split, Dubrovnik Airport recently announced the resumption of its major expansion project while work is progressing on Zagreb Airport’s new terminal.
Split Airport expects a busy summer ahead with a total of 2.139.706 seats being offered to eighty destinations in 22 countries, both inside and outside the European Union. The airport has also secured flights to new markets such as Greece and Scotland this year. Only last week, ČSA Czech Airlines announced the launch of seasonal flights from Prague after a three year break while newcomer Air Croatia will inaugurate services in a few weeks time. “At this moment, we can confirm that a total of 46 carriers have announced flights to and from Split. We can also anticipate additional charter flights”, the airport says. It adds, “A significant number of private aircraft will arrive as well, as noticed over the past few years”. Split Airport still holds the title for handling the most passengers in a single day, trumping both Belgrade and Zagreb.