|Niš not on the agenda for Air Serbia|
Air Serbia has ruled out the possibility of launching flights from Niš following renewed calls for the carrier to introduce services from the southeast Serbian city. Instead, it will assist in bringing other partner airlines to the airport. The Managing Director of Niš Constantine the Great Airport, Vladica Djurdjanović, says, "Niš is not a part of the airline's development plans. Air Serbia has a different business model which includes turning Belgrade into a hub, meaning all flights are launched from there. As a result, Niš does not fit into their plans, but could be suitable to airlines which cooperate with Air Serbia". The only scheduled commercial airline maintaining flights to Niš is Wizz Air, which runs two weekly services from Malmo and Basel.
Last week, the Serbian Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, called on the national carrier to consider adding Niš to its route network. "As the Prime Minister I will point out this option to them but the decisions depends solely on whether they deem the route profitable. Our aim is not only to develop Belgrade", Mr Vučić noted. Earlier this year, the Serbian carrier said in a statement, "We are currently focused on our flights to and from Belgrade. At this point, we don’t have plans to launch operations to Niš Airport". Air Serbia’s predecessor, Jat Airways, had claimed that flights from Niš were unprofitable, though the airline maintained services between the city and Zurich for several years. Since then, Constantine the Great Airport has lowered its fees, charging all airlines (both full fare and low cost) only three euros for handling, landing and passenger services.
Over the past ten months, Constantine the Great Airport handled 26.081 passengers, an increase of over 1.000% compared to last year. Wizz Air, which launched flights to the city in mid-summer, recorded an average cabin load factor of over 80% on its two routes. The airport hopes to attract carriers other than Wizz and is primarily targeting airlines serving cities such as Frankfurt, London, Milan, Munich, Moscow, Paris, Vienna, Verona and Venice, which it has identified as viable destinations. Furthermore, it is believed flights from Istanbul could launch as early as next spring, since a Turkish carrier has expressed strong interest to operate the route.