|Foreign airlines register 5% passenger decline in Belgrade|
The busiest foreign carriers operating flights to Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport have recorded mixed results during the first three quarters of the year as they face increased competition, which has been accompanied by a reduction in the number of operated flights. Wizz Air, which once boasted a notable presence in the Serbian capital, has seen its passenger numbers weaken. However, Montenegro Airlines, Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines all registered passenger growth on their services to Belgrade. Overall, foreign carriers handled 1.692.871 travellers on flights to and from the Serbian capital during the January - September period, down 5.2% compared to 2014. They now account for 44.9% of all passengers passing through the airport, a decrease of 5%, having been surpassed by Air Serbia which now handles 55.1% of all travellers using the airport.
Wizz Air, which has a base in Belgrade, remains the busiest foreign carrier in the city. However, its passenger numbers have been declining for over a year now, ever since the airline decided to rationalise its operations, blaming airport favouritism and hidden subsidies granted to Air Serbia. The low cost carrier welcomed 309.976 passengers on board its aircraft bound to and from Belgrade during the Q1 - Q3 period, a decrease of 5.6% compared to last year. The airline’s passenger share has now slumped to just 8.2% and has been accompanied by a further decline in the number of operated flights. However, this winter, Wizz Air has added frequencies to a select number of destinations compared to last year and will introduce its first new route from Belgrade in two years at the start of the 2016 summer season next March.
Despite reducing its operations to Belgrade, Lufthansa has continued to record growth on its services to the Serbian capital, offering passengers a more competitive fare structure. The airline handled 225.814 travellers, up 6%. In a statement earlier this August, the German airline said it expects further positive developments on the Serbian market and for passenger growth to continue despite reduced capacities. The carrier now boasts a 6% passenger share at the airport. Montenegro Airlines remains the most frequent airline in Belgrade out of all the foreign carriers and has positioned itself as the fourth busiest in the country, handling 207.625 passengers on 2.515 flights during the first six months, an increase of 2.2%. Turkish Airlines also saw its numbers improve markedly on last year, overtaking Swiss International as the fifth busiest carrier in the city.
Busiest foreign carriers at Belgrade Airport Q1 - Q3
|Wizz Air||309.976||▼ 5.6|
|Montenegro Airlines||207.625||▲ 2.2|
|Turkish Airlines||155.427||▲ 14.3|
Common to almost all foreign airlines is the sharp decline in the number of operated flights, with the trend expected to continue this winter as well. Scheduled year-round operators running fewer services to Belgrade during the first three quarters include Lufthansa, Wizz Air, Austrian, Turkish Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines, Alitalia, easyJet, Flydubai and Tunis Air (caused by flight cancellations as a result of the Sousse terrorist attacks). LOT Polish Airlines temporarily suspended its flights to Belgrade this summer due to restructuring, but will resume its service to Warsaw on January 2. On the other hand, foreign airlines which have boosted flights to the Serbian capital include Montenegro Airlines, Etihad Airways, Aegean Airlines, TAROM, Qatar Airways and Norwegian Air Shuttle. Meanwhile, Belavia, Aeroflot and Pegasus Airlines have operated roughly the same amount of flights as last year. Belgrade Airport handled 4.169.970 passengers over the past ten months, an increase of 4.6%.
Most frequent foreign carriers at Belgrade Airport Q1 - Q3
|Airline||Flight ops.||Change (%)|
|Montenegro Airlines||2.515||▲ 7.7|
|Wizz Air||1.983||▼ 10.1|
|Austrian Airlines||1.406||▼ 16.1|
|Turkish Airlines||1.332||▼ 3.1|
|Swiss Int. Air Lines||1.125||▼ 9.1|
|Etihad Airways||558||▲ 2.2|