|Belgrade and Zagreb airport’s double digit growth rate comes to an end|
Passenger growth at the former Yugoslavia’s two busiest airports - Belgrade and Zagreb - slowed considerably during the month of April, with both recording modest figures. Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport welcomed 381.401 passengers through its doors, an increase of 3.6% compared to the same month last year. The growth was generated almost exclusively by Air Serbia with foreign carriers significantly reducing operations to the Serbian capital this summer. The number of flight operations increased by 1.3%, from 4.663 last year to 4.724 this April. The amount of processed commercial cargo fell slightly, by 0.2% to 897.289 kilograms. So far this year, Belgrade Airport has handled 1.269.878 travellers, a solid increase of 10.1% compared to the same period in 2014. The number of operated flights also increased, from 16.723 to 17.632, or by 5.4%. The figures represent the airport’s best performing April on record.
Despite the strong start to the year, Belgrade estimates its annual growth will amount to 5%. A worrying development for the airport is the number of foreign carriers reducing their operations to the city. The trend began in 2014 but has intensified this year. Unlike last summer, Wizz Air, Lufthansa, Alitalia, Swiss International Air Lines, Vueling and easyJet have all reduced operations while the likes of TAP Portugal and Etihad Regional have suspended services all together. Germanwings will maintain flights from Stuttgart to the Serbian capital for just over a month, between late July and early September. Problems with charter flights also threaten to impact the airport’s passenger growth rate.
Top performing airlines in 2014:
|Air Serbia||2.347.923||▲ 67.9|
|Wizz Air||415.590||▼ 9.9|
|Montenegro Airlines||258.841||▲ 1.9|
Zagreb Airport has also had a slower than expected month. Croatia’s busiest airport handled 197.726 travellers, an increase of 2.7% compared to April last year. This is despite the number of operated flights increasing by a significant 14.3%, from 3.110 to 3.556 this year. The modest passenger growth came despite the arrival of Air Serbia, Flydubai and Swiss International Air Lines, which did not operate flights to the Croatian capital this time last year. Air Croatia, which launched and suspended services during the month, also provided a few hundred travellers. One of the contributing factors to the slow growth was Easter, which fell in early April, unlike mid-way through the month last year. As a result, a number of incoming travellers for the Easter break, particularly those from the diaspora, arrived in late March. Overall, Zagreb Airport has welcomed 675.919 passengers during the first four months of 2015, up 8.7% on last year. The number of operated flights stood at 12.400, an increase of 9.5% compared to 2014.