|Belgrade Airport sees passenger decline after 27 months of growth|
Following 27 months of consecutive passenger growth, Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport has seen its numbers decline in August 2015. It welcomed 574.654 travellers during the month, a decrease of 0.3% compared to last year. The result comes as foreign carriers continue to decrease their operations to the Serbian capital. Despite the decline, which is expected to continue in the coming months, the airport saw its busiest day on record on August 1, when it handled 20.973 travellers. As a result, the airport broke the three-million passenger mark. During the month, it also saw an increase in the amount of handled cargo, which more than doubled compared to August 2014, while the number of operated flights fell from 6.003 to 5.981, down 0.4%.
So far this year, Belgrade Airport welcomed 3.276.772 passengers through its doors, an increase of 5.5% compared to the same period last year. A total of 85.6% of all flights departed the Serbian capital on time in 2015, while 2.4% of all flights experienced delays in excess of over an hour. The airport's management still expects for Belgrade to handle five million passengers by year's end. However, if current trends continue, these numbers will be difficult to achieve. The amount of operated flights for the first eight months stood at 40.195, which is still up from 39.362 last year, fuelled almost entirely by Air Serbia.
The busiest foreign carriers operating flights to Belgrade Airport have recorded mixed results during the first half of the year as they face increased competition, which has been accompanied by a reduction in the number of operated flights. Airlines decreasing their operations to the Serbian capital this year include Wizz Air, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Aeroflot, Swiss International Air Lines, Alitalia, Pegasus Airlines, Flydubai and easyJet. The trend is expected to continue this winter as Swiss turns its Geneva service into seasonal summer flights only, effectively cancelling the route during the winter months. In addition, LOT recently cancelled its Warsaw service on a temporary basis until January 2016. Furthermore, this winter will see Air Serbia cut frequencies on several destinations and terminate flights to Budapest and Larnaca, while a handful of other carriers, including Lufthansa and easyJet will further reduce their operations to the Serbian capital.