Two years after a 22 million euro passenger terminal was built in Kraljevo and the then national carrier Jat Airways operated a promotional service from Belgrade, Morava Airport hasn’t seen a single customer, and is unlikely to do so in the near future. According to the Serbian government, Morava Airport, located in central Serbia, will not cater for any flights until its runway, which can currently accommodate only small turboprop aircraft, is extended by 300 metres. The Turkish government, which invested ten million euros in the terminal’s construction, was to donate a further ten million euros for the lengthening of the runway, with all the necessary donation documentation filed. However, in October 2013, as relations between Serbia and Turkey soured, the then Serbian Minister for Construction and Urbanism, Velimir Ilić, refused the donation, adding that Serbia would find the means to finance the completion of the airport project itself.
Construction of Morava Airport began in 2011 with work on a new control tower and access roads. Later on in the year the first promotional flight was operated from Belgrade with Jat Airways’ ATR 72 aircraft. In 2012 a new passenger terminal was opened featuring a duty free shop, exchange office, commercial office space, a detention centre, clinic, car park and a cargo depot. Jat Airways soon after announced it would launch a two weekly service from Kraljevo to Istanbul. In 2013, the terminal building was granted all necessary operating licenses, allowing it to be used for commercial purposes. At the time, the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister, who is today the country’s Premier, Aleksandar Vučić, said, “The airport will be opened soon. There is interest from a local airline and a Turkish airline to operate flights from Kraljevo to Istanbul and other airports in Turkey. We will soon complete the job in the interest of Kraljevo’s citizens and we won’t open the airport seven or fifteen times so we can smile for the cameras”.
Since those promises were made, almost nothing has been done to resolve Morava Airport’s fate. The only work seen near the airport building came last year when a security fence and gate were built around the permitter of the terminal. Late last year, the Minister for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, presented plans to set up a state-run company to manage up to 25 of Serbia’s airports, including the one in Kraljevo. Morava Airport lies between three larger cities, Kraljevo, Čačak and Kragujevac, and has a catchment area of some two million people. Its runway is shared with the Ladjevci military air base. EX-YU Aviation News has contacted the ministry on several occasions regarding the matter but to no avail. Since refusing the Turkish donation, Mr. Ilić has taken up a post in the newly formed administration as the Minister Without a Portfolio in charge of Emergency Situations.