|Belgrade Airport surpasses four million passenger mark|
Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport handled its four-millionth passenger for a second consecutive year and for only the second time since opening its doors in 1962. The milestone was achieved yesterday, more than two weeks ahead of last year when the four-millionth traveller was welcomed on November 4. As a result, the airport saw over 231.572 passengers pass through its doors so far this month. Overall, the former Yugoslavia's busiest airport registered an average of 13.699 travellers each day. Passenger numbers have risen some 5% this year, while the number of aircraft movements inched up 1.7%. Last year, the airport estimated it would record growth of up to 10% in 2015, although this now seems unlikely as foreign carriers have reduced their operations to the Serbian capital and Air Serbia plans to scale back its network this winter. Nevertheless, the airport is on course to achieve its busiest year on record after it added an additional one million passengers in 2014, making it one of the fastest growing capital city airports in Europe.
The airport’s Director for Development and Investment, Ana Luković, said recently, "We have seen a real boom [in traffic] since the national flag carrier was transformed. We expect to see another boom once long haul flights start”. This year, the airport embarked on a forty million euro expansion and overhaul project with the aim to increase capacity by 35%. It has already refurbished its departure lounges and parts of Terminal 1. The airport is expected to add a further 11.000 square metres to its Terminal 2 building, which will include four jet bridges, as well as four gates from which passengers will be bussed to remote stands. Construction of the 15.2 million euro project is expected to start in December, with a tender to select a contractor for the work closing on November 1. In addition, the Serbia and Montenegro Air Traffic Services Agency is set to start construction on a new control tower next year. EX-YU Aviation News will bring you further details on planned construction and expansion work at Nikola Tesla Airport in the weeks to come.
Over the next two years, Belgrade Airport also plans to add an additional 20.500 square metres of jetways and platforms to cater for a new de-icing area, build a new staff building, as well as a fire and rescue base and commence work on the overhaul of its runway in 2017. All of the construction work is currently being financed from the airport’s own funds. However, in the coming months, the state will also have to decide whether it will put the airport up for concession. A consultant for the matter is expected to be selected within a month.
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