|Morava Airport expected to open by year’s end with flights to Germany and Turkey|
Three years after its completion, Morava Airport, located in the central Serbian town of Kraljevo, is expected to open its doors for commercial traffic by the end of 2015. Following talks with the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate, the head of the Raška region, Nebojša Simović, says necessary procedures for obtaining an operating license will begin this week. Furthermore, the Serbian government, as well as Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, are willing to enter into a public private partnership agreement with a German company which would operate flights from Kraljevo to both Frankfurt and Istanbul. The name of the company has not been specified. “I’m certain that all preparations for the first flight will be completed in 2015. Morava Airport is vital for the entire region”, Serbia’s Minister for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, said recently. Morava Airport lies between three larger cities, Kraljevo, Čačak and Kragujevac, and has a catchment area of some two million people.
Work on the construction of Morava Airport’s 22 million euro terminal was completed in 2012. The airport’s 2.200 metre-long runway, which is 30 metres wide, can accommodate smaller turboprop aircraft. The Turkish government, which invested ten million euros in the terminal’s construction, was to donate a further ten million euros for the widening and lengthening of the runway, with all 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 fund the completion of the airport project itself. However, no work at the airport has been undertaken since.
The Deputy Chairman of the Kraljevo Assembly believes the airport will be opened soon. “Air Serbia has significantly boosted traffic at Belgrade Airport. Due to congestion, Morava Airport is being eyed as an alternative. The airport could begin operations by the end of summer”. 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, however, these never materialised. The Minister for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, has previously said Morava Airport will be managed by a new state-run operator which is expected to be set up by the end of the month. Since the airport lies between several industrial cities, the government is hopeful the likes of the Italian run Fiat-Zastava car manufacturer would make use of the airport and that further business and investment in the area would be stimulated. In addition, part of the Raška region has close historical ties with Turkey and a portion of the local population is expected to use the airport for future flights to Istanbul.