|Belgrade terminal expansion delayed as airport prepares for US flights|
The multi million euro expansion of Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport's Terminal 2 (T2) building has been delayed, while work on other related projects are on track as the airport prepares to handle its first transatlantic flights in over a decade during 2016. Touted as the airport’s first greenfield investment in years, the T2 expansion (pictured), valued at fifteen million euros, was to begin this December and scheduled for completion in August 2016. While necessary tender procedures have been completed and a contractor selected, the Serbian Ministry for Transport is yet to issue its final approval. Initially, the airport anticipated to get the all-clear by November in order for construction to begin a month later. The new wing of the two-level terminal will feature passenger boarding bridges, primarily intended for larger, wide-body aircraft. Two common waiting lounges will be built, with the departure lounge on the upper floor equipped with four jet bridges (four parking positions for single-aisle aircraft or two for wide-body jets), while the second, ground floor lounge, will have four gates from which passengers will be bussed to remote stands. The new part of the terminal will also feature large areas for commercial space, such as a duty free, shops and restaurants. It is unknown when the ministry is expected to give its final approval in order for construction work to begin.
On the other hand, the airport has concluded several projects with the aim of improving its facilities ahead of transatlantic services in June 2016. A new staff building, valued at 500.000 euros, has been completed, while the construction of a de-icing platform, which will be located next to the taxiway near the Terminal 2 gate area, will be finished by June 2016. "Consequently, we will improve de-icing procedures during the winter months which will speed up aircraft movement at the airport", Managing Director, Saša Vlaisavljević, says. The project is valued at four million euros. Furthermore, the airport has refurbished part of its Terminal 1 building. The United States Transport Security Administration will evaluate Belgrade Airport and its security oversight in February next year. As a result, the airport is investing five million euros in new technology, including body scanners, bomb detectors, additional fire trucks and screening equipment.
Belgrade Airport plans to finance all of its investments from its own funds. During the first three quarters, it recorded a net profit of just over seventeen million euros, up from 10.3 million during the same period last year. It expects to log a record twenty million euros in profit by the end of the year. So far in 2015, the airport has seen its passengers numbers improve 3%. Over the weekend, the airport broke its all-time passenger record. It handled 4.65 million travellers by Monday, thus registering its busiest year in history. The airport expects to register passenger growth of 4% - 6% next year.