|Belgrade Airport records second biggest growth rate among Europe's capitals|
The European airport trade body, ACI Europe, has named Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport the continent’s second fastest growing main capital city airport in the first half of 2014. The report, compiled by ACI, is the only air transport report which includes the full range of civil aviation passenger flights: network, low cost, charter and others. According to the body, the Serbian airport recorded passenger growth of 32% during the first six months, behind only Moldova's Chisinau. Other European capitals following in its tracks were Athens and Skopje. Belgrade Airport’s former CEO, who was replaced last week, said in January that Belgrade would end 2014 as the fastest growing capital city airport in Europe.
ACI Europe reports that the peak of the summer season, which began in June, saw Belgrade Airport record the second highest growth rate among the capitals on the continent, again outperformed by Chisinau Airport, which saw its figures soar 33%. In addition, June 2014 was Belgrade’s busiest month on record. These numbers are to be eclipsed by July’s performance. With figures to be published shortly, Belgrade Airport is tipped to have handled over 500.000 passengers and recorded growth of over 20% last month. The results are primarily attributed to Air Serbia’s significant increase in operations and passenger numbers. On the other hand, the airport continues to grow despite a decrease in the number of flights operated by its second busiest airline, Wizz Air.
Last week, the airport’s Executive Board named former Jat Airways CEO Saša Vlaisavljević as its acting CEO, replacing Velimir Radosavljevič who has been charged for signing a, reportedly, damaging agreement with Wizz Air. This summer, the airport’s numbers have also been aided by the arrival of new airlines such as TAP Portugal, Vueling and Etihad Regional, as well as a significant number of charter flights and the launch of new routes by easyJet. Olivier Jankovec, ACI Europe Director General says, “Looking at the second half of 2014, there are significant uncertainties not just for the European economy but also at a global level. Geopolitical risks in Europe and nearby are probably at their highest in years. All this requires a great deal of caution, and keeping the same kind of traffic performance will definitely not be a given”. However, growth during the upcoming winter months in Belgrade will again be bolstered by Air Serbia, which will see a significant increase in frequencies across its network when compared to last winter season. On the other hand, the airport will also see Germanwings suspend its flights, while Turkish Airlines will reduce its operations to the Serbian capital in line with the bilateral air agreement signed between the two countries.
This morning, the airport’s new CEO, Mr. Valisavljević, said he will significantly cut costs and all investments will be directed towards improving airport infrastructure. “I will form my own team in the next week. I will terminate all tender procedures which are not related to airport traffic”, Mr. Vlaisavljević said. He added there would be significant managerial changes and emphasised the need to expand departure lounges and purchase equipment for winter season operations.