|Niš Airport eyes Air Serbia flights as foreign interest grows|
Niš Constantine the Great Airport has appealed to national carrier Air Serbia to introduce services to the city, noting that it is in talks with several other airlines to commence operations. The call came after Wizz Air launched flights from Malmo to the south-east Serbian city earlier this morning, marking the first commercial service to the airport in over a year and half. “We have suggested for Air Serbia to begin operations from Niš because it is irrational that foreign airlines fly from our airport, while the national carrier does not”, the airport’s Managing Director, Vladica Djurdjanović, said. He added, “There are destinations Air Serbia could fly to, which are commercially viable, such as Vienna and Zurich. These are the two most profitable routes from Niš”.
In late April, Air Serbia said it was not interested in flying to the city. “We are currently focused on our flights to and from Belgrade. At this point, we don’t have plans to launch operations to Niš Airport”, Air Serbia’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Maja Gedošev, said. Air Serbia’s predecessor, Jat Airways, had claimed that flights from Niš were unprofitable, though the airline maintained services between the city and Zurich for several years. Since then, Constantine the Great Airport has lowered its fees, charging all airlines (both full fare and low cost) only three euros for handling, landing and passenger services.
According to the airport, several other airlines have expressed interest to launch flights to the city. While it refused to reveal their names, it noted one was eying flights to Tivat and the other to Osijek, offering onward connections to Stuttgart and Frankfurt. Montenegro Airlines operated subsidised flights from Podgorica to Niš for several years. On the other hand, Croatian start-up Sea Air, is set to launch operations from Osijek to Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich next Monday with a Boeing 737-500 aircraft. Last week, the head of Niš Airport said Wizz Air is looking into setting up a base in the city. The Serbian government estimates that Niš will handle some 40.000 passengers this year and a further 100.000 in 2016.