|Belgrade Airport adds a million passengers in 2014|
Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport has recorded its best year on record in 2014 in terms of passenger numbers and profitability and has cemented its position as the busiest airport in the former Yugoslavia. It is also expected to have ranked within the 100 busiest airports on the continent last year. Belgrade welcomed 4.638.194 passengers in 2014, over one million more than the year before. Its numbers represent growth of 30.9% on 2013. It also saw the number of operated flights grow significantly, despite its second busiest airline, Wizz Air, reducing its network from the city. There were a total of 58.695 commercial departures and arrivals, up 25.3%.
The record figures were fuelled by Air Serbia throughout the year, which now holds a 50% passenger share at the airport. As a result, its future passenger growth will be closely linked to Air Serbia’s performance. On the other hand, foreign carriers had a more challenging year as competition grew, while Wizz Air suspended two routes, decreased frequencies and relocated one of its two aircraft based in the city. At the same time it introduced flights to Larnaca which have been maintained throughout the winter as well. The amount of commercial cargo also increased last year by 33.1%. During the last week of 2014 it saw almost daily flights by Emirates SkyCargo’s Boeing 747Fs.
Belgrade Airport’s acting CEO, Saša Vlaisavljević, says a total of twenty million euros will be invested in the airport in 2015. A further four gates will be added to the existing terminal two building and another four parking positions will be created. However, this is believed to be only a temporary measure to ease issues with capacity. Late last year, the Serbian government said it would decide on the airport’s expansion model by June 2015. At the time, the Minister for Transport and Communication, Zorana Mihajlović, said, “During next year  we will definitely decide how we are going to expand Belgrade Airport, because it will be unable to handle all passengers if this growth rate continues. We could never have anticipated such large growth”. Meanwhile, the CEO says the airport is prepared to handle transatlantic flights, which Air Serbia has hinted could begin in late 2015. “We have a long tradition of handling long haul flights. In 1989, five aircraft were regularly handled during the rush hour, heading to the United States and Australia. This is not a problem for Belgrade Airport or our logistics”, Mr. Vlaisavljević says. The management estimates the airport will handle between 5 and 5.5 million passengers in 2015.
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