|Airports see growth as Sarajevo prepares for busy weekend ahead|
Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport and Sarajevo Airport have extended their passenger growth run to 25 and thirteen months respectively. Belgrade Airport welcomed 406.121 passengers in May, an increase of 5.8% compared to the same month last year. The growth came despite only a marginal increase in the number of operated flights, from 4.987 to 5.016 operations, up 0.6%. Although there was a significant decrease in the number of services operated by foreign carriers and a decline in the number of charter operations, a general increase in travel and a solid performance by Air Serbia secured Belgrade yet another month of growth. Overall, so far this year Belgrade Airport welcomed 1.675.999 travellers through its doors, up 9% on the same period in 2014. It is expected to break the two million passenger mark by the end of June, the earliest it has done so. Furthermore, the airport estimates its annual growth will amount to 5% in 2015.
Sarajevo Airport has continued to perform well, with strong growth recorded during May. It welcomed 80.143 passengers last month, marking its busiest May on record. The numbers represent a 12.1% increase compared to the same month last year. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s busiest airport processed 345.113 kilograms of commercial cargo, which was also up 12%. During the month, Turkish Airlines Cargo launched scheduled two weekly services from Istanbul to Sarajevo. Flights operate each Tuesday and Saturday with an Airbus A330-200F freighter jet. Some 3.600 tonnes of meat products are being exported from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Turkey on board the cargo flights. Sarajevo is expected to maintain its passenger growth trends in the months to come with Flydubai to double its operations to the city to four weekly flights during the peak summer season, from July 24 to early September. Furthermore, there has been a sharp increase in the number of charter services.
During the first five months of the year, Sarajevo Airport handled 277.088 passengers, an increase of 12.9% compared to the same period last year. The airport is preparing for an exceptionally busy Saturday this week with the arrival of Pope Francis, on his one-day visit to the city. The Pope’s aircraft is scheduled for arrival at 09.00 CEST in Sarajevo, while his return flight is expected to depart at 21.20. Thousands of people will travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina in hope of seeing the Pope. Since the Vatican doesn't have a papal plane, it has to rely on a chartered jet provided by Alitalia. When the Pope leaves a country, the protocol is that he should fly on board a plane from that country's flagship airline. If a country the Pope visits doesn't have an airline that would meet the Vatican's standards in terms of security, size, and other concerns, he will fly back with Alitalia instead.