|Niš Airport to expand and modernise its facilities|
Niš Constantine the Great Airport plans to expand its facilities following the resumption of commercial flights last month after almost two years. The airport has been allocated 665.000 euros from the city budget this year, part of which will be used to expand the cargo handling area, as well as for improvements inside the terminal. The departure gate has already been expanded, with a duty free shop to open soon, and there are plans to improve access roads leading to the airport. Wizz Air currently operates five weekly flights to Niš, with three services from Malmo and two from Basel. Flights were introduced a month ago with solid loads reported so far. Local authorities have said that the low cost carrier is considering opening a base in the city in the coming year.
The Serbia and Montenegro Air Traffic Services Agency (SMATSA), which manages the airspace of both countries, has announced it will install equipment for measuring the runway visual range (RVR) at Niš Airport, which aids the pilot during limited visibility. The installation of the new equipment is set to begin soon and will be ready for use by the start of the 2015/16 winter season in late October. Furthermore, SMATSA will invest a million euros in an instrument landing system (ILS), which provides guidance to aircraft approaching and landing on a runway during low ceilings or reduced visibility due to fog, rain or snow. Long-term plans include the construction of a control tower and the lengthening of the runway. “Once all of this equipment is in place, Niš Airport will improve its status and become more competitive in the region”, the city’s Mayor, Zoran Perišić, noted.
Niš Airport was opened for commercial traffic in the late 1980s and served by JAT Yugoslav Airlines. It was hit on several occasions and damaged during the 1999 NATO bombing campaign of Yugoslavia. In 2003 it was reopened following extensive reconstruction and development. The Niš region has a catchment area of over one million people with a sizable number of locals originating from the area now living abroad. Until Wizz Air's arrival, the airport struggled to attract customers. It is now in talks with several airlines, including Wizz Air, Air Serbia and Pegasus Airlines, over the introduction of new services.