|EX-YU airports start 2015 with passenger growth|
The airports in Belgrade, Zagreb and Sarajevo have all recorded double digit passenger growth during the first month of the year, signalling a strong start to 2015. Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport recorded its busiest January on record, handling 308.381 passengers, an increase of 13.8% compared to the same month last year. The number of operated flights also increased, from 4.150 last year to 4.506 this January, up 8.8%. Growth was again fuelled by the national carrier Air Serbia, which, unlike last January, operated flights from Belgrade to Beirut, Budapest, Tirana, Sofia, Warsaw and Zagreb last month. During this January, TAP Portugal suspended its flights from Lisbon to the Serbian capital due to poor loads, hinting that the route could turn into a seasonal summer service. In January, Belgrade handled 608.243 kilograms of commercial cargo, an increase of 13.9% compared to 2014. During next week, the airport is set to name a new Supervisory Board, which will be able to approve development projects, such as the announced 20 million euro upgrade of its terminal facilities, announced late last year.
Croatia’s busiest airport, Zagreb, welcomed 150.667 travellers through its doors, an increase of 11% on the same month last year. The number of operated flights grew by 9.4%, from 2.684 in 2014 to 2.936 this January. Foreign carriers attributed to the growth with airlines such as KLM, Flydubai, Air Serbia and EuroLOT all maintaining flights to the Croatian capital unlike last January. Yesterday, the Polish regional carrier EuroLOT announced it would be suspending all operations, including its daily service between Warsaw and Zagreb, from the beginning of April. The airline, affiliated to flag carrier LOT, has not indicated the reason for the decision but its management board says it is committed to keeping its schedule intact until March 31. On the other hand, in a statement to EX-YU Aviation News, Air Croatia, said, “We are starting flights from Zagreb on March 30 with three weekly services to Milan, Rome, Prague and Budapest. On Saturdays, we are planning a Stockholm - Zagreb and Oslo - Zagreb service starting June 1”. Other airlines which have confirmed new services to the Croatian capital this summer include Swiss International Air Lines, Montenegro Airlines, Brussels Airlines and SkyGreece Airlines, which will operate seasonal flights from Toronto.
Finally, several days of bad weather did not dampen Sarajevo Airport’s January performance as it handled 43.700 passengers, a notable increase of 21%. The result is made even more impressive by the fact that it saw only 384 flight operations, up by just one flight on January last year. Unlike last January, the airport is now served by Flydubai as well as Germanwings from Berlin, with the latter to suspend the service due to poor loads at the end of the 2014/15 winter season in late March. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s busiest airport processed 104.850 kilograms of commercial cargo, up by 4%. In a statement, the airport said, “We expect to see passenger growth in the coming period as well, which will be aided by the introduction of Swiss flights from Geneva and Zurich”. The new services will launch in April and May respectively.