|Belgrade Airport to reconstruct Terminal 1 and expand Terminal 2|
The Acting Managing Director of Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, Saša Vlaisavljević, has announced the reconstruction of the airport’s Terminal 1 building in 2015, as work on the modernisation and expansion of its facilities at Terminal 2 are set to resume later this year. Terminal 1, used exclusively by low cost and charter airlines for check-in purposes, will be fully reconstructed. While check-in at Terminal 1 is carried out independently, passengers continue to use Terminal 2 for security and boarding. “We are expanding our annual capacity to 7/7.5 million passengers”, Mr. Vlaisavljević says, adding that the airport is entering an investment cycle which will last three years. The comments are the latest sign yet that the airport will not be given up for concession, rather, the government itself will invest in its modernisation and expansion.
Terminal 1 opened on April 28, 1962. In early 2013, Jat Airways requested for the facility to be handed over to them in order for it to become a dedicated terminal used exclusively by the national carrier. The request was denied at the time. However, according to the Transaction Framework Agreement between Etihad Airways and the Government of Serbia (GoS) in mid-2013, in which Air Serbia is still referred to as Jat, “The GoS shall ensure that either Terminal 1 or Terminal 2 of Belgrade Airport, as the Parties may agree, is allocated to Jat for its exclusive use by no later than 1 January 2014. The GoS shall fund a portion of the costs of the refurbishment of Terminal 1 or Terminal 2, as the case may be, to a standard acceptable to Jat within 2 years of the date hereof, that is proportionate to the size of its shareholding in Jat after the completion of Etihad's acquisition of Jat shares”. The Framework Agreement also states, “The GoS shall ensure that space for a Jat lounge is allocated to Jat in Terminal 1 or Terminal 2 as the case may be, with sufficient capacity to meet its actual and projected business passenger requirements”. While the parties did not stick to the January 1, 2014 deadline, an area has since been allocated for the carrier’s lounge which is set to open in the second quarter of this year.
|Terminal 1 following opening|
The airport’s Managing Director also announced the expansion of Terminal 2 with the addition of four new gates. “We will add another four air bridges and reconstruct the area connecting Terminals 1 and 2”, Mr. Vlasiavljević says. He estimates the airport will handle its fifth-millionth passenger in December this year. “In 2014 our passenger numbers grew 31% and aircraft operations by 26% while our net profit increased to 27 million euros, the best result in the airport’s 52-year history”, Mr. Vlaisavljević adds. Only last week, Serbia’s Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, said that existing facilities must be reconstructed and additional capacity added in order for the airport to become more functional. “Whether we will accomplish this with a foreign partner through a concession or some other form of public-private partnership, or whether we will do the job ourselves, will be decided in the next two months”, the Prime Minister said.