|Croatia tops 2015 airport connectivity report among EX-YU countries|
The countries of the former Yugoslavia offer fewer connections to passengers travelling by air, both direct and indirect, compared to their European rivals, according to Airport Council International's (ACI) latest connectivity report. Connectivity is the metric by which airports live - the more connected an airport is to the wider world, the more attractive it becomes to its users and the greater the value it provides to the community and local, regional or national economy it serves. The 2015 report looks at Europe's total airport connectivity (direct and indirect), onward connectivity from Europe and hub connectivity. In essence, the report defines the connectivity of an airport as the weighted number of weekly flights available from that airport to non-stop destinations and to one-stop destinations involving flights of the same airline or of two airlines in an alliance or codeshare.
According to the report, Macedonia has the lowest national connectivity level of all former Yugoslav countries and one of the lowest in Europe, ahead of only Slovakia and Monaco. Although Macedonia has seen significant growth in passenger numbers over the past decade, as well as strong government support for air travel, the dominance of low cost carriers has impacted its report figures. Within the EX-YU region, Macedonia is followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and then Slovenia. Serbia ranked second best on the connectivity scale with Croatia following closely on top with several active international airports. Kosovo was not included in the study. Germany has the highest level of airport connectivity, followed by the United Kingdom and France. The top five, which also includes Spain and Italy, provide 65% of EU connectivity and 51% for Europe as a whole. The leading non-EU countries are Turkey, Switzerland and Russia.
|European rank (out of 44)||Country|
|41||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
On the other hand, individual capital city airports from across the region have seen robust connectivity growth over the past decade. Between 2005 and 2015, Podgorica was the fastest-growing capital city airport within the former Yugoslavia in terms of connectivity, averaging growth of 341%. It is followed by Belgrade at 118%, Sarajevo at 61%, Zagreb at 46% and Ljubljana at 21%, while ACI reports that Skopje's overall connectivity declined 5%. ACI uses the report as an opportunity to stress the importance of public policy and regulation in facilitating and enhancing connectivity, which is closely linked to the economic wealth of countries. ACI has called for progress on issues such as airport capacity, the liberalisation of market access, the lowering of navigation charges and aviation taxes and lighter economic regulation for airports.