The national carriers from the former Yugoslavia handled over 2.7 million passengers during the first half of the year. Air Serbia, Croatia Airlines, Adria Airways and Montenegro Airlines have all recorded passenger growth during the January - June period, while the grounded B&H Airlines saw its figures plunge.
Air Serbia positioned itself as the busiest in the former Yugoslavia, handling 1.114.396 travellers during the first half of the year, an increase of 15.5% compared to the same period in 2014. The carrier’s passenger share at its hub airport in Belgrade grew from 48.5% last year to 53.5% during the first six months in 2015. Paris proved to be Air Serbia’s most popular route, followed by Zurich, Podgorica, Moscow and Amsterdam. Among its top five busiest destinations, Amsterdam saw the biggest jump in numbers, as the airline handled 48.936 passengers, an improvement of 49.2% compared to last year.
Croatia Airlines handled 802.559 travellers during the six-month period, an increase of 0.2% on 2014. Of those, 205.824 travelled on domestic flights, representing a decrease of 3%, while 574.729 passengers boarded scheduled international services, up 1% on 2014. The remaining 22.000 passenger flew on charter flights, an increase of 1%. The average cabin load factor stood at 64.3%, down 0.4% on the same period last year. Overall, Croatia Airlines saw its passenger numbers improve on flights to and from France (+21.8%), the Netherlands (+19.3%), the United Kingdom (+4%), Italy (+2.1%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (+2%) and Switzerland (+0.5%). On the other hand, the carrier recorded weaker results on services to and from Austria (-7.8%), Germany (-4.8%), Macedonia (-2.2%) and Belgium (-0.8%). Passenger numbers on other markets remained unchanged.
Adria Airways also recorded strong passenger growth during the first half of the year. The Slovenian carrier handled 549.272 passengers during the six-month period, an increase of 15% on last year. Adria welcomed 470.397 passengers on scheduled services, up 13%, and a further 78.875 travellers on charter flights, an increase of 27%. The encouraging figures continued into July as well, as the airline handled another 32.350 travellers. This year, Adria’s sales improved the most in the United Kingdom and Italy, while figures plunged in Russia, which has been hit by economic sanctions and a volatile Rouble.
Montenegro Airlines handled 231.164 passengers over the first six months, an increase of 5%. Of those 113.166 travelled on its flights to and from Belgrade, up 6%. Other markets also improved. Passenger numbers on services to Paris, with one additional weekly service compared to last year, and Dusseldorf, with the same amount of flights, grew 50%. Copenhagen, which is served three times per week (an extra two flights compared to 2014) recorded a 40% increase in passenger numbers. Services to Frankfurt improved 15%, London Gatwick was up 14% and Zurich saw a 5% increase in passenger numbers. On the other hand, flights to Russia have been hit by a passenger decline.
B&H Airlines, which has been grounded since June and has its Air Operator’s Certificate temporarily suspended, handled 3.604 travellers during the first three months of the year, down 41.8% compared to the same period in 2014. Of those, 3.152 passengers were carried on scheduled services, while the other 452 on charter flights. Full data for the first half of the year is still unavailable. Financial problems, network cuts and bad publicity took their toll on the carrier. Furthermore, B&H suspended its flights to Belgrade and Copenhagen during the first quarter and was grounded for several weeks due to financial issues and blocked bank accounts.