|Serbia to set up single company to manage all of its airports|
The Serbian government has announced plans to set up a state-run company to manage up to 25 of its airports, including the country’s busiest - Belgrade. The public company running Belgrade Airport will be renamed to “Airports of Serbia” with more than twenty smaller airports to be added to its managing portfolio. The move is believed to be in relation to the upcoming concession or sale of Serbia’s busiest airport, through which the future operator will also gain control to the rest of the country’s airport infrastructure. The Serbian Minister for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, says the company will be set up within days. “Six airports are currently confirmed to be part of the company including those in Niš, Kraljevo and Užice. We are not setting up a stand-alone enterprise, rather, these airports will be added to the “Aerodrom Beograd” company which manages Belgrade Airport”, Ms. Mihajlović said.
With exception to Belgrade, other airports in Serbia have no scheduled flights. Niš Constantine the Great Airport, in the country’s south-east, is expected to see low cost services from next summer season with an agreement to be signed with a budget carrier next month. Meanwhile, Kraljevo’s Morava Airport, in central Serbia, which has a brand new passenger terminal, is yet to be utilised for commercial use with further work needed on lengthening the runway and taxiways. The potential new operator of Belgrade Airport, which the government hope to offload from state funding in the coming future, will also have access to a majority of the country’s airports, which could add to its value.
The Serbian government yesterday confirmed that more than ten companies have expressed interest to take part in the concession of Belgrade Airport, including Germany’s Fraport, which is in the final stages of acquiring a 75.5% stake in Ljubljana Airport. However, the government admits it still hasn’t decided which model it will use for the airport’s privatisation and future expansion. Earlier this week the Serbian Prime Minister said, “Soon we will see how and in which way we will expand Belgrade Airport and build a new runway, whether it will be through concessions or whether a different approach will be used”.