The Serbian government has confirmed that Wizz Air is is the mystery airline likely to launch flights to the south-east Serbian city of Niš, in a comment made to "Flightglobal". Local authorities have been negotiating with the airline for several weeks but refused to reveal further details so as not to jeopardise the negotiating process. “We are talking to Niš and other airports in the country as we are interested in growing in Serbia, but this does not mean we are growing without Belgrade - we are not interested in moving”, a Wizz Air spokesperson says. The airport’s CEO, Dragan Bugarinović, says flights from France, Germany and Scandinavia would be most profitable. In August, Wizz Air issued a statement regarding potential services to Niš, saying, “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”. Local authorities have ruled out any subsidies for airlines willing to launch services to the city, a practice previously used to lure the likes of WindJet and Montenegro Airlines to the airport.
Niš is pressing ahead with plans to secure low cost flights from Constantine the Great Airport next summer season, which has been deserted since commercial flights were suspended last October. The city assembly is set to adopt an air development framework this week, which will outline airline service fees and charges at the airport. It coincides with earlier plans to sign a contract with a budget carrier this month to launch flights to the city in March next year. The framework includes a thorough analysis of over twenty regional airports, among which are Tuzla, Pula, Timisoara and Arad in neighbouring Romania, in order to better position Niš Airport amongst the competition. According to Bojan Avramović, the head of the government’s Regional Development Agency, the passenger tax at Niš Airport will be set at three euros.
The installation of an Instrument Landing System (ILS), requested by several airlines as a precondition for launching flights to the city, will begin next March and will be in use by the start of the 2015/16 winter season, according to the head of the Regional Development Agency. ILS is a radio beam transmitter that provides a direction for approaching aircraft at the airport. The investment is valued at 1.5 million euros. Earlier last month, the Serbian government designated Niš as a future low cost hub. According to previous statements, a signing ceremony between the city and a budget airline will take place in September. Online ticket sales are expected to begin by November with flights to be launched in late March 2015.