|Wizz Air temporarily rules out Niš flights|
Low cost airline Wizz Air has said it will continue monitoring developments at its base in Belgrade before making any decisions on its future operations in Serbia. The comments came after the Serbian government said this week it would help revive Niš Constantine the Great Airport in the country’s south-east which is currently not served by scheduled airlines and has few passengers. It has been suggested Wizz Air could potentially relocate its operations from Belgrade to Niš after the budget carrier suspended two routes and cut down on its flights from the Serbian capital in early May in a dispute over fees and protectionism.
In a press release issued yesterday, Wizz Air spokesman, Daniel de Carvalho, said, “Wizz Air is continuously assessing twenty to thirty airports for development at any one time, but cannot comment on ongoing discussions. However, development in Niš would be subject to the airline’s continued presence in Belgrade which was put into doubt earlier this year when it had to halve capacity following a significant increase in charges. This not only undermined our growth plans for the country, but also in the trust that Serbia is committed to fomenting low cost air travel”. Wizz Air has previously said its reduction in operations from its Belgrade base will see a cut in capacity of 130.000 seats in 2014 with 700 fewer flights operated this year as a result of the airport’s decision to increase fees.
During the week, the Serbian Minister for Transport, Construction and Infrastructure, as well as Deputy Prime Minister, Zorana Mihajlović, said the government was seeking out ways in which to develop Niš Airport into a low cost hub as early as 2015, with some 40.000 passengers to be handled next year and a further 100.000 in 2016. She added the government will invest 1.5 million euros in the installation of necessary equipment at the airport this September, such as the Instrument Landing System (ILS), in a bid to lure no frills airlines, primarily focused on Belgrade and Skopje, according to the minister.